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  • Writer's pictureWELD

Q: Is Water and Earth Landscape Design a design/build company or just design?

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

A: Just design- And so much more.

How do the design/build companies do it?

When it comes time to select a group to work with on your new landscape or outdoor living space, San Jose and the surrounding areas have no shortage of landscape/build companies to choose from. Engaging one of these design/build companies typically goes something like this:

Let’s say you, after doing your homework and trying your best to compare the available options, you decide to reach out to design/build companies A, B, and C. Each of them are equally qualified, have a strong internet presence, and have impressed you with a nice portfolio of completed work. You meet with them, and they each give you a quote- somewhere between zero, and a few thousand dollars to create a design for your space based on your wants and needs.

What they won’t tell you is that this quote directly correlates to what they perceive or believe that you can afford, or are willing to pay. They are only trying to figure out if you can afford their construction and installation services, which, at the end of the day, is what enables them to bring home the bread. Each company may have a design process that could vary slightly depending on your needs and the scope of the project, but they all have one thing in common- Company A, B, and C are all services that are solely designed to take you off the market.

They’re aware that the lack of a financial investment is equal to the lack of an emotional investment. They know you are unlikely to consider paying multiple companies to create your vision, and they want your exclusivity. This may sound logical, or sounds like the way business has to be, but it isn’t. Unlike Water and Earth, design/build companies provide an ultimately impersonal experience, and many aren’t ready to take risks, advocate for you, or go the extra mile to make sure your vision really takes shape.

Design/Build Companies are Resigned to Playing it Safe

The majority of local San Jose design/build companies do have some great ideas. However, there’s one basic truth that follows each one of them: a design/build company is only ever going to design what they think they can sell you. The driving force is speed and a bottom line. Design fast, and get you to approve that design fast. Move as quickly as possible to secure your payment and get you into their schedule. Sure, this is a quick technique, but it results in stale, impersonal ideas.

When the time isn’t taken to be truly thoughtful, when a bottom line is more important than ingenuity, companies are plagued by stale and recycled ideas. They’ve calculated what is most profitable, and where it will sell. Pushing new and interesting ideas is never considered because of the time it would take to engineer, and uncertainty around building something that differs from their typical mold. Ultimately, ingenuity becomes a threat to their time and money, and you end up with an impersonal, rather thoughtless design that’s been done hundreds of times before.

Working with Water and Earth Landscape Design is a different experience. As a design only company, we have the ability and freedom to take risks, collaborate with other designers, and deliver designs that are fresh, interesting, and tailored exactly to your dream space.

Water and Earth Landscape Design Values Collaboration

The majority of design/build companies will never reach out to competitors. They have their set staff, and all of their work is generated within the company. Water and Earth Landscape Design is different. As a design only company, we love collaborating. We want the best ideas, and most innovative designs. Simply put, Water and Earth loves making cool stuff, and doesn’t have to limit resources to just a few people. We’re able to connect with a huge network of designers with the attitude that direct competition isn’t direct competition when it comes to having great ideas.

Instead of focusing on funnelling clients directly through the system and into our books, we take the time to find the best, and make sure what we are offering is new and tailored specifically to you.

Direct Communication with Competition

Unlike those design/build companies, Water and Earth has a direct line of communication with our competition. We aren’t tied to a specific set of builders, and we aren’t held back by the need to please certain companies or people. Even here in the San Jose landscaping community, we aren’t worried about formalities, or potentially stepping on toes. We are only interested in finding the best people to complete the highest quality work, and are able to directly advocate for you, and your ideas without reservations.

Premium Software

While design/build companies do have 3D software, and the ability to show you a rendering of what your final product may look like, they are limited in what software they are willing to invest in. Again, they have no interest in providing the best of the best if just “good enough” will make them more money down the road. That’s not the case with Water and Earth.

Just as we are able to invest and collaborate with other designers for new ideas, we want the best software and programs as well. We hate feeling limited, and as a design only company, we aren’t worried about an investment in premium software affecting our bottom line. Making designs and ideas come to life is what makes our company tick, and that means investing in the nicest design programs, best modeling software, and top of the line rendering in order to provide clients with the best product.

Multi Company Pricing

Unlike D/B companies who do everything through a rigid set of people, resources, and contractors, Water and Earth is able to reach out to whoever we think is best fit for the job. There is no tight, limited budget to inflate our bottom line. We have an incredible network of contractors that is able to bring designs to life. As mentioned, we want to build what’s new, inspiring, and ultimately great, and we can connect and price between multiple companies to achieve incredible finished products for the best deal possible.

Water and Earth can do what design/build companies can’t.

Ultimately, design/build companies will only offer what they believe they can sell you, in accordance to a limited schedule, and a focus on their bottom line. As a just design company, Water and Earth outperforms other San Jose landscaping and hardscaping companies. Unlike our competition, we have the ability to create the freshest, most innovative designs for competitive prices, and make each and every one of our clients’ unique visions become a reality.

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