Q:  What is your experience?
A:  H.J. Collins & Associates was established in 1978 and has been in business throughout the past 34 years.  We average of 20-25 projects a year.  Residential project values range from $10,000 to well over a million dollars.

Q:  May I obtain references?
A:  Absolutely.  We will be glad to provide names and addresses of completed projects.  We can make arrangements to visit completed or under construction projects.

Q:  Do you have licenses and insurance?
A:  Yes.  Paul Fenner is a licensed Landscape Architect in Massachusetts, and certified by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards.  The firm carries general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.

Q:  What are your professional affiliations?
A:  Please refer to our “About Us” section for a complete list of affiliations.

Q:  What is my role in the design process?
A:  We anticipate that you will be fully involved from the initiation of landscape design development to the preparation of construction drawings and details.  Furthermore, we meet with you regularly during the construction process to insure that the design being installed is what you expected and more.

Q:  What will I get in a proposal / agreement?
A:  We will first discuss and develop a landscape design-build program that is individually tailored to best fit your needs.  A detailed agreement will be presented for your approval and a deposit will be requested along with a signed copy of the agreement.

Q:  What if I want to add or substitute?
A:  If changes become necessary, either because of unforeseen site conditions, or your desire, a written change order will be prepared outlining the nature of the change.  Your approval, in the form of a signature, will be required prior to initiation of changes or add-ons to alter the course of action.

Q:  What will my completed design look like?
A:  Before construction begins, we provide you with a set of drawings that fully illustrate the design.  This includes a colored site plan showing all the features of the design.  Depending on the size and complexity of the project, additional drawings may include a construction plan, a planting plan, lighting plan and construction details.  We will also provide photographs of plants that are being proposed in the design.

Design Documents:

Construction Plan – This drawings shows the location and dimensions of landscape elements such as retaining walls, patios and terraces, driveway and walkways, and structures such as a swimming pool, arbors, fences, etc.

Planting Plan – This drawing shows the location and arrangement of trees, shrubs, ground cover, perennials, views and lawn areas in your landscape plan.

Lighting Plan – This shows the location and type of outdoor lighting fixtures such as post lamps, walkway lights, wall lights, pool and accent lighting.

Construction Details – Landscape elements that need to be detailed include retaining walls, steps, patios, and terraces, swimming pools, arbors and pergolas, fences, etc.

Additional drawings may include a site plan prepared for conservation commission review and approval and a site plan submitted for a swimming pool permit.

Q:  How is the transition from design to build managed?
A:  Since you will be working with a design-build firm, we have the ability to transition quickly and efficiently from design to construction.  In some instances, construction may be initiated during the design process as long as an appropriate concept is approved.  Construction drawings and details, however, will be fully developed prior to construction of the key elements.

Some clients prefer a “phased” approach to construction.  A phased project would include, for example, a client who wishes to install a new front yard landscape, and install the back yard landscape a year or so later.  Another example of a phased project would be a large site with several specific project areas: a swimming pool, an orchard, or formal perennial garden.  Each project area would involve a separate scope of work and a separate contract.

In all cases, H.J. Collins & Associates will design and install a project in accordance to a clients’ schedule and budget.

Q:  What are the benefits of spending money on landscape improvements?
A:  A well-designed landscape arranges outdoor space in a composition that is safe, functional, useful and visually appealing throughout the year.  When the landscape surrounding a residence is well designed and attractive, the value of the property increases.  Creative design of outdoor spaces can add to your physical and emotional well-being by providing areas for rest and relaxation, fresh air and exercise, mental and spiritual refreshment.  “Value” is used here to indicate several attributes:

  • The aesthetic value to the homeowner and neighbors otherwise known as “curb appeal”.
  • The dollar value of the property.
  • The social value derived from convenient visitor parking, a welcoming entry area and comfortable outdoor living areas.
  • The environmental value derived from erosion control landscaping, increased wildlife habitat and open space.
  • The value derived from living in a safe and secure environment.