How We Work

Our firm works with in our clients in the following sequence:

Initial consultation & contract
Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects meets with a potential client either on site or in our office to review project objectives, aesthetic preferences and budget parameters.   We develop an initial outline of the sequence of tasks necessary to implement the project and review that against the client’s expectations, including schedule for completion.

If the client wishes to proceed following the Initial Consultation, we prepare a contract defining the terms of the working relationship.   Once a signed contract and retainer is received we will begin work on a project.

Site inventory & analysis
Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects prepares a base map illustrating existing conditions, topography, drainage, pavements, bodies of water, vegetation, architectural elements, etc.

Site Analysis includes wind, sun, noise, drainage patterns, and attractive and unattractive views.

The base plan is derived from a plot plan or survey, walking and measuring the property, site and Google Earth photographs and local regulations (setbacks, general wetlands and buffers, etc).

Concept development
Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects develops a range of alternative design solutions addressing the client’s project objectives, which integrates relevant information from the report on existing conditions, and indicates advantages and disadvantages of each alternative.   What emerges from discussion with the client is the concept design/ conceptual plan, which we feel best addresses the client’s ultimate vision, accompanied by sketches illustrating details and a preliminary cost projection.
Master Planning
Master Planning allows the owner to look at the “big picture” when developing a vision for their landscape and helps them make important site decisions. A Master Plan is a drawing that is developed through meetings with the client, site visits, and careful analysis of the property. Typically, it is a long term plan, and it is never too late to begin.

Organizing long term and short term goals for a property ensures a well thought out landscape instead of haphazard elements and outdoor spaces that are disconnected to the land, architecture and each other. Since our founding in 1990 we have completed over 400 master plans for various residential, public/urban parklands and commercial clients. Many of our clients continue to update their master plans through the years.

With all of the information we gather from our client, their Team and their land we create a master plan that is functional for day-to-day life.

Residential elements are shown on the plan such as vehicular approaches, parking, display gardens, terraces and walls, patios and decks, aquatic features (swimming pool, hot tub, pond, water feature, etc) play areas, landscape beds, woodlands work, underground utilities, etc among others.

Commercial and public master plans illustrate vehicular versus pedestrian improvements such as roads or streets, public parking, streetscape, park spaces, sidewalks, lighting, signage, landscape, infrastructure, etc.

Once an agreed upon Master Plan is created, a cost estimate for its implementation.

As Landscape Architects, we also want it to be inspiring for the owner or visitor, a place where they can relax in a woodland outdoor room or sun by their new pool or walk along a new park along a river.

Creating a master plan is not a linear process. Every meeting we learn something new about the client, every site visit we learn more about the land; the work is not finished until the plan is constructed. Master Planning helps turn dreams into reality.

We look forward to hearing from you about any projects concerning design, permitting, master planning or construction management.

Final design & cost estimate
Following client approval of the concept design and accompanying budget a final master plan is developed. It indicates overall planning for the property and has general grade changes, dimensions and recommendations on materials.

Final design is typically on a to-scale plan showing the overall property or project. Other plans may show enlarged areas of the property such as the main house, a particular garden or project area, etc.

Final design can also include construction plans such as grading, layout, planting can also be completed for more exacting detail. Construction details, plant lists and specifications, as required, would also be completed.

A cost estimate is developed using the approved final design, which outlines the materials and labor costs associated with implementing the final design. The cost estimate can be broken down into logical phases for construction scheduling and budgeting purposes.

We look forward to hearing from you about any projects concerning design, permitting, master planning or construction management.

Permitting
The Wetland Protect Act and the Scenic Mountain Act (SMAct) help keep our Berkshire ecology vibrant and our views attractive. But these and other town-enacted planning provisions offer challenges for residential and commercial landscaping projects. We’ve had a lot of success representing our clients before local governmental boards and commissions in public hearings.

Many projects require permits prior to any construction taking place. We work closely with the client and their “Team” on projects that need permitting. We represent our clients before local governmental boards and commissions in public hearings.

Permits that we specialize in include Wetland Protection Act, Scenic Mountains Act and Planning. We approach each permit carefully knowing that each town or city has their own nuances for reviewing and determining application requirements.

At Okerstrom-Lang, we approach every permit carefully, knowing that each town or city has its own nuances for reviewing and determining application requirements. Often these projects require working with a team including lawyers, architects and engineers. Since the permitting process can be tedious and technical, we’re happy to provide this service to our clients.

We look forward to hearing from you about any projects concerning design, permitting, master planning or construction management.

Working Drawings & Bidding
Working drawings are a very important part of communicating with the owner, contractor and subcontractors. Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects can produce detailed specifications for all project components such as grading, planting, lighting and construction details.

We assist the client in making the decisions regarding material selection and finishes, plant selection, project schedules and establishing the project budget.

Bids are obtained from appropriate contractors based on the plans.

Another method is to produce drawings that show the “design intent” of a project with less detail. When construction proceeds OL Ltd works closely with the contractors on the construction details on site.

All projects have a detailed scope of work issued with any drawings. The scope includes a bid form for contractors to submit their bid or prices. When bidding occurs a bid sheet is issued to our client for review and approval. The lowest qualified bidder is always recommended.

We look forward to hearing from you about any projects concerning design, permitting, master planning or construction management.

Implementation
Implementation can occur all at once or in logical phases so that the projects fit into the master plan. Okerstrom Lang Landscape Architects plays an active role in the construction management of each project ensuring that the design is built properly as designed and permitted.

We work with a diverse group of skilled contractors that are qualified to handle any project regardless of size or complexity.

Our experienced Principal, Craig Okerstrom-Lang, RLA, ASLA has the seasoned ability to address variables in site conditions and new opportunities or restrictions.

OL Ltd staff works closely with contractors and consultants on the project to insure that the plan is implemented as approved by the client, on time and on budget, including punchlist and final inspections.

We look forward to hearing from you about any projects concerning design, permitting, master planning or construction management.