Outside Collective
We specialize in a simple, modern, and ecologically sensitive approach to the landscape. Our custom designs are deeply informed by your needs, the site, the environment, and your maintenance goals. Lets build your dreams together.

About Christel
Christel Leung is the owner and principal designer of Outside Collective. She has a BS in Design from UC Davis and a Landscape Architecture Certification from UC Berkeley Extension. She has a former career in web design, and has been designing the outdoors since 2010.

Our Process
Our process is our product. From our initial conversation, the exploration of ideas, selecting plants and materials, and finally, the documenting of all our intensions for the purpose of construction – you are involved in every decision, both great and small. And, you can confidently put your budget towards a design that you know you will use and love.
We'll start with a Site Consultation ($75/hr), have a look at the property and hear the ideas you have in mind. From there, we'll send you a Design Estimate for the scope of work. With a 50% Deposit, we can start work, beginning with a Site Analysis, then a Base Plan, 2-3 design options and ultimately, the Schematic Design. This rough, sketchy plan drawing is developed through several rounds of communication, and documents all the design intentions for the space. Circulation is worked out, spaces are designated for specific use, trees are located, and paving materials are generally specified (e.g. concrete, gravel, steel edging, etc). Note that this type of drawing is ideal for an initial conversation with landscape contractors and ballpark estimating, but does not have enough detail for construction. However, it could be sufficient for do-it-yourself homeowners that plan to take on the installation themselves.
With the Schematic Plan in hand, we meet with several local landscape contractors on-site, walk them through the design, and field bid-related questions. This competitive bidding process allows you to compare a number of different contractors before making a decision and gives us the best chance of getting apples-to-apples bids. Together, we choose the contractor, based on cost, experience, availability, communication, organization skills, etc. Once the bid is formally signed, our project gets placed on the contractor's construction calendar, which is typically a few weeks/months into the future. While awaiting construction, we identify aspects of the design that need additional detail and specification. Together, we make these design decisions, with a close eye on the budget. This can include plant selection, material selection, light fixture selection, and the design of custom features (e.g. paving design, bench design, fence design, etc.). Note that there can be an adjustment in the contractor's initial bid, based on these Contractor-Ready Drawings. Typically, this is handled by the contractor through a Change Order. However, this cost differential shouldn't be too great, if we've made budget-conscious decisions. Note that all means and methods of construction (e.g. footings, retaining walls, deck framing, drainage, irrigation, etc.) would be determined by the licensed landscape contractor.
Prior to the construction start date, all materials need to be ordered, custom features need to be fabricated, lead times need to be coordinated, unavailable items need to be substituted, etc. Then, once construction has started, it is typical for issues to arise on-site, requiring adjustments in design. We see the project through all the hiccups and last minute decisions, to ensure that the details come together beautifully, in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Plant This Now Berkeley
This blog is dedicated to our love of plants, and a desire to study them and their appropriate use in the garden. 

Email: christel@outsidecollective.com
Phone: 323.610.9254
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