Ecology + Design

Landscape Design & Construction: Winter Checklist

As temperatures drop and winter returns, it may seem like everything landscape-related lies dormant. In fact, fall and winter are the best times to start your landscape design project! We can conduct site visits, complete the landscape plan, and in many cases, begin site development and hardscape installation during fall and winter months.

Jay and Uziel study the existing conditions and plan a design in Fairfield County, CT.

Landscape Design Process


Our process starts with a professional on-site consultation, where we meet at your property and discuss your goals for your property.  During this consultation, Jay will make site observations and provide initial thoughts and analysis on how to improve your property. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Front entrance renovation in Westchester, NY can suit your styles and accomplish ecological goals.

Here are some elements to consider before your consultation:

  • Do you have a property survey – please have it present or email it to us beforehand
  • What are you most excited about changing in your landscape? What are other priorities?
  • Are you expanding the footprint of your home at any point?
  • Are there any landscape styles that resonate with you?
  • Plants you like or dislike?
  • How adequate is your outdoor entertainment space (patio, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, walkways, water features, etc)
  • Is screening important?
  • Is there any pertinent historical information regarding your property, family taste, style, culture?
  • What have you done with your landscape already?
  • Do you take care of your own garden?
  • What is your budget?

Ecological Landscape Design Agreement

After the consultation, we prepare an Ecological Landscape Design Agreement (ELDA) for anywhere between $3,000 – $6,000, depending on property size and design objectives.

Once the ELDA is signed and we have received the fee, our design team gets to work! Typical turn around for a design plan is 6-8 weeks, but a current time estimate will be communicated.

Site Visits

Next, our designers visit your site for additional analysis and measurements that inform the design. If you have any changes to your design wish list, this is the best time to notify your design team.

 Our design team will incorporate your landscape wish list with our own analysis of how your property could be improved from an ecological perspective as well as from an outdoor lifestyle and aesthetic perspective.

Design Presentation

Next, the design plan is presented along with plant palette and hardscape visuals, plant list organized by bloom time, and a factsheet on the wildlife attracted by your new landscape. The Design Proposal includes suggested phases for installation and zones with cost-to-build. Each zone includes a complete plant list and description of the scope of work. The Proposal also defines a timeline for installation if the Proposal is agreed upon by a certain date.

GJLD plantings are designed to enhance ecosystem services and create habitat.

Landscape Construction Pricing

Revitalization Process

$25,000 – $50,000

Ecological and native planting design for your property. May include renovating existing beds or creating new planting zones. For simpler sites requiring little site development.

Levelling this lawn required a boulder wall construction and grading.

Rehabilitation and Restoration

$50,000 – $100,000

Typically involves more extensive site development — vegetation removal, grading, drainage, and soil remediation — to prepare the landscape for ecological planting.

Ecological Native Landscape


Complete landscape renovation including all necessary site development, native landscaping, and masonry work. We advise you on how to maximize your time in your landscape, whether that’s a new patio for entertaining, stone steps to navigate a previously unusable slope, or a fire pit area for extended outdoor living.

Below is an estimated range for different features that might be part of your landscape plan. Each property is unique and prices will vary.

Grading & Site Development:

  • $15,000 – $40,000

Landscape Drainage:

  • $3,000 – $20,000
Installing drainage pipes to a new rain garden.

Masonry & Hardscape:

  • Stone Staircase: $10,000 – $30,000
  • Stone Walkways:  $8,000 – $15,000
  • Patios: $15,00 -$40,000+
  • Walls: $10,000 – $40,000+
  • Trail Building: $4,000 – $12,000

Fire Pits:

$3,000 – $12,000

Water Features:

$8,000 – $20,000


  • Small: $8,000 – $15,000
  • Medium: $15,000 – $50,000
  • Large: $50,000 – $100,000

Lawn Renovation:

  • $4,000 – $10,000

Installation Queue

Once the Proposal is signed and a deposit is received, we schedule any possible winter work, usually consisting of site development and/or hardscape construction. The advantage here is that come springtime, all that needs to be completed is the planting; then you have a new landscape to enjoy all summer long!

Winter Landscape Site Development


Winter is the perfect time of year to construct the foundation of the landscape and prepare the site for springtime planting. In many GJLD projects, grading is a significant component of the design plan. Grading involves changing the topography of the landscape by bringing in additional topsoil or cutting into an existing slope. Manipulating landscape grades allows us to expand functional space by making areas flatter, expanding planting zones, or enabling new hardscape areas. During this time, any necessary soil amendments and conditioners will also be incorporated into the soil. We may also opt to remove existing vegetation at this time.

Backyard fire pit nook with native plantings and natural stone masonry. Designed and constructed by GJLD.

Hardscape Construction

Other elements of site development that may occur during winter months are hardscape construction. Constructing natural stone patios, stairs, walkways, garden paths, and walls in winter allows for significant progress in a design installation.

Faux stream bioswale directs stormwater to the underground Cultec.


We can often address landscape drainage issues during fall and winter. These drainage solutions may include installing new piping, French drains, bioswales, dry wells, and more. Landscape drainage should be addressed before planting to avoid messiness and inefficiencies.

Preparation for Spring Planting

Clients that initiate their landscape installation during winter will be first in line for planting installation come spring. Having prepared the site through grading, delineating new planting zones, and removing unwanted vegetation, all that’s left to do is plant!

We hand pick and source native plants from Ecoregion 59, and “place” them in the landscape for client approval. Once approved, GJLD teams follow Northeast Organic Farming Association-approved organic horticulture practices when planting. Triple-ground dark chocolate mulch finishes all beds for a clean aesthetic.

Newly renovated pool area features native plants and lounging areas.

Enjoy Your Landscape All Summer Long

The advantage of a spring landscape installation is obvious – you now have a completed new landscape to enjoy all summer long! Whether that means sitting beside the fire pit, next to the water feature, or around friends and family for an al-fresco dinner, your outdoor living landscape is elevated for maximum enjoyment.

As an added plus, your new planting has the optimum growing season, so you can expect more growth and lushness in your gardens throughout season one than if you planted in mid-summer.

Schedule a consultation to start your landscape design project!

Contact Us To Schedule a Free

15 Minute Discovery Call

Let’s discuss your goals and determine if we are a good fit for your project.

15 Minute Discovery Call

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