John Strauss Associates


What is Landscape Architecture?

Many people link planting with landscape architecture and go no further. Though we may relate to what is familiar, the profession encompasses a much wider field. Landscape Architecture does have a horticultural end to it by using ornamental plantings and native flora as a finishing tool. The opposite end of the spectrum leans into civil engineering with roadway design and watershed management or with city planning that causes a site to best acclimate to architecture, existing topography, natural elements and its end-users.

It is a fascinating field of study and practice that basically manages the human user’s end needs, economics, the given space, environment, circulation, micro-climate, and best management principals of stewardship.

What is landscape or “hardscape” construction?

Landscape construction or “hardscape” is as the name implies: any constructed element of a landscape that is non-living. It spans the broad spectrum of a single pot resting on a stone plinth, to a roadway and drainage corridor accessing a public park. Of course, everything in between makes up the bulk–walls, pavings, water features, irrigation, decks, drainage features, etc. It is the “built” environment of a landscape.

What are “design-build” advantages?

Any time that one can deal with a single entity or person for communication and control of any function, it is much easier. Any parent of 3 or more children knows this fact.

Design-Build places the planning and implementation under one roof for the client. It keeps any potential finger-pointing or cost increases contractually as the responsibility of two main parties–not three or more.

The designer represents the client and is the single link between the client and the best built project. He/She remains the point man for all-clients and builders on the site.

How can I complete my project in phases?

Few clients have unlimited budgets. To best meet our clients” needs, we offer job phasing as an alternative. Many functions are logically completed together or within the same window of time. Others should be left for another phase where the impact would better connect with other functions. For example, it is best to complete as much construction in a single area of access at a given time. The planting and finishing touches can be implemented at a later date where one function doesn’t “undo” or destroy an earlier completed function.

We work with our clients to maximize their budgets by directing them to connect the logical dots. The temptation is to have an area completely finished for aesthetic value. If at a later date a major addition is to be made that might damage an earlier completed stage, it is better to perform both functions at the same time. We help our clients to balance these issues with their current budget.

Should price be my main consideration?

No. Nothing can be truer than the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” When price is the only consideration, you will sometimes pay two or more times for a poorly executed job–what you should have been paying for only once (see project phasing above).

How much do you charge for a consultation?

This is very project specific. Each project is different, so an initial meeting is necessary to determine the scope and cost. This initial consultation will vary from $150-300 depending on location, amount of time needed, and follow-up documents. Once the project or any portion thereof is implemented, this fee is credited to the final invoice.

All consultation fees, design services, and trip charges have a discount or rebate with actual job implementation.

What does it mean to “value engineer”?

This is a four letter word to any design professional, but a fact of real life. Because few clients have unlimited budgets, design and aesthetic consolations must always be made. Therefore, the end product is engineered to bring the most value to the individual who”s paying the bill at the end.

This could be something like changing stone paving to interlocking concrete paver or reducing the square footage of a plaza from 2100 square feet to 1500 square feet.

At JSA we anticipate this reality in our initial proposals. We work with all of our clients in advance providing cost alternates for details that don”t diminish the basic integrity of the design.

Does your company help with the permitting process of your jobs?

Yes, for a fee. It is optional, but our experience shows us that most clients would neither have the time nor the experience to bother with this portion of a project. Every function does not require a permit. But for those projects that do, knowledge of the proper drawings, forms, fees, and departments is essential and always changing.

Is there a tangible return on investment from your work?

Yes, and it differs with each project. For a commercial project the tangible return is happy employees and the attraction of buyers of their products. Creative outdoor spaces and environments meet both of these ends.

What is your company’s warranty policy?

Workmanship and materials are guaranteed for a full year after the project”s completion. Planting services have slightly differing warranties that are contingent on other important factors.

What is your service area?

There is no exact definition of service area. Again, it depends on the project itself. Historically, we have worked from Gainesville to Douglasville, from Mid-town Atlanta, to Big Canoe and Dahlonega. The majority of our work is in metro Atlanta and its surrounding counties.

For design services, we are less limited by location.

Serving Metro and North Atlanta including, Buckhead, Brookhaven, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Marietta, Dunwoody, Decatur, and Vinings