CM+LA Charles McClure, Landscape Architect & Associates provides Design Work and Specifications and Representation for exterior projects.

At the beginning of a project a base plan, drawn to scale is necessary. A surveyor usually supplies this drawing. Topographic date (contours and spot elevations) tell the architect the specifics of the existing conditions. At times my office can provide for this base plan. On larger, oddly shaped parcels a survey is a necessary prerequisite.

The descriptions below describe a typical process leading to a full set of plans. All projects require Conceptual and Preliminary Design, not all projects require all of the plans listed in Final Plans (see below).
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Conceptual and Preliminary Design


Project owners usually have a ideas for their property (adding a patio, site renovation associated with building remodeling, etc.) We visit the site with the survey and do site analysis, take photographs and come to understand the site. The city or county is contacted for zoning and setback information. The survey is covered with tracing paper and conceptual site and landscape planning is performed. This is followed by meetings with the Owners and perhaps the governing land use officials (city, county, or community association). Revisions and new ideas are discussed during the conceptual stage. Further refinement transforms the conceptual phase into the preliminary phase. Cost estimates are often performed at the preliminary level of drawing development. If the government needs to be involved, approvals are obtained at the concept and preliminary level.
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Final Plans



Grading and Drainage
Water must be managed—directed away from structures or guided off hardscape elements. Where possible, good practice keeps water on site to either re-charge the groundwater supply or be used for irrigation.

Layout & Dimension
A dimension plan locates proposed built elements. This allows the contractor to transfer the drawing date to the ground. Detail callouts usually occur on the layout and dimension plan.

Construction Details for Built Elements
A detail callout refers the viewer to enlarged drawings of built elements shown on accompanying sheets. Construction details are necessary where more clarity is necessary. For example, clarifying things like the construction of retaining walls, garden walls, overhead structures, fences, steps, handrails, fountains, outdoor kitchens, etc.

Planting Plan
The planting plan specifies all plantings proposed for a project. Often clients hire us for our skill at planting design. Sometimes, other clients wish to participate in plant selection. Most landscape architects tend to over-plant and most select fast growing species that are short lived. We have studied planting design in depth and nearly full time for almost 25 years so this has become a real speciality of ours.

Irrigation Plan
This plan specifies all irrigation to be used on site. We have designed hundreds of irrigation systems, from the largest: 47 acre SB Cemetery utilizing (2) 3” meters and 8” mainlines to the smallest residential lots. With today's water shortages, intelligent irrigation planning has become essential.

Landscape Lighting Plan
A modest amount of landscape lighting enhances the experience and provides for safety. Restraint is our goal.

Special Plans for Special Situations.
Our office regularly produces plans and specifications that deal with a variety of other issues, such as temporary (during construction) erosion control plans, tree protection plans, demolition plans, etc. We also provide landscape water consumption estimates and max. flow rate calculations as required by the local water agencies. Because we are licensed professional architects, insurance companies, public agencies, etc. often consult us for cost estimates, opinions, etc.

Final Approval – Building Dept. – Bidding
When the plans are complete, final approval is obtained if necessary. Also, if necessary, a permit must be obtained (think swimming pools, outdoor kitchens, extensive grading). That requires that plans be submitted to a building department. These departments always ask for some clarification so we provide that for them. At times other consultants are necessary, such as a structural or civil engineer. When the permit is issued, then the plans can be handed out to qualified contractors for pricing.

Construction Observation
We can meet the contractor on site during construction to answer questions or provide clarity. This should not be confused with supervision. We observe and answer questions and produce a report issued to the owner and contractor. We do not supervise construction; that is the job of the general contractor.

CA Lic. No. 3114 Since 1988