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How Walk Your Plans forms a new vision for design/build projects

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One Ohio landscaper explains how Walk Your Plans has helped save him time and money.

For Chris Zbin, owner of Zbin Landscaping in Rocky River, Ohio, Walk Your Plans is an invaluable tool. Walk Your Plans is a projection facility that allows design professionals and builders to present their blueprints to clients on a real-world scale.

Zbin Landscaping, which provides design/build and maintenance services to a mix of high-end residential and commercial properties, has utilized the service for several months. It’s helped him save both money and precious time needed to nail design/build projects on schedule.

“I think it’s a very valuable tool in your belt when it comes to the landscape design process in today’s world where you’re no longer just throwing a table and chair on a 12 by 12 patio,” he says.

Seeing is believing

At Walk Your Plans’ Lakewood, Ohio, location, Zbin walks his customers through a full-size projection of the design blueprint. The space includes a floor projection, complete with color, and a display wall, which can show additional views of the project.

“It’s a big, clean, neat and climate-controlled space, which is not something we’re used to working in,” he says. “You take (the customer) for a walkthrough of their future patio and landscape, and they get an exact understanding of the space.”

Zbin says his customers are usually left in awe after seeing their design laid out in front of them.

“From there, the questions start coming out, and then that’s where you get to the point where they start thinking about it in reality a little bit and they will bring up any ideas for changes,” he says. “The good thing about having it on the floor is you can potentially stop them from making a mistake they might regret down the road.”

Time is money

Besides the wow factor, Zbin says that Walk Your Plans helps provide useful context for customers when it comes to pricing.

“A lot of times, when you get down to pricing, the customer starts going, wow, that’s expensive when you’re looking at a blueprint,” he says. “In reality, the numbers are big nowadays, and when you throw it out on the floor, it makes it a lot easier for them to get a grasp on the project as a whole.”

Zbin estimates his company has saved upwards of $10,000 to $15,000 on projects utilizing the service.

“The client will often say ‘Hey, I want this a little bigger,’ ‘Hey, I want this a little smaller,’ or ‘Hey, the table and chair aren’t going to fit here,’” he says. “(By walking the design) you’re heading off a lot of potential add-ons or changes down the road. You can get in, bang it out, and get onto your next one.”

Timing is another crucial part of the equation that Zbin believes Walk Your Plans aids in.

“You’re not going to have a one-week add-on where your next project is late and it affects you down the road where,” he says. “If you take everybody through this process, you’ll have a tighter schedule, which might open time up at the end of the year, so you might be able to do another job or two.”

Design fatigue cure

Zbin adds that the intangible benefits of services like Walk Your Plans are invaluable. The ability to show up-to-date blueprints on a real-world scale, he says, generates extra enthusiasm towards the project.

“We’re going through this on a $800,000 patio right now,” he says. “You sometimes see the customer get design fatigue, just like construction fatigue. Getting them to see the plan coming together can really be a big rah-rah moment for them.”

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Rob DiFranco

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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