Think Outside- 10 Basics to starting your business (Vol. 3 preview)

Designing Your Business

Venturing out on your own, or starting from scratch can be extremely intimidating. Nevermind that you’re an amazing designer… where do you even begin? If you are contemplating starting your own landscape design business the basics in Volume 3 will help lay the groundwork for success.

As designers we are consumed with making places and spaces pretty for others. We agonize over the details, we pour over the plans, and that often results in neglecting the design of our business.

The design of your business is everything from your Business Entity status to your presence online. It is your logo, your company culture, your office and your business systems. In Volume 3 of the playbook we will outline and dive into detail on 10 basics of starting your business.

10 basics for starting your design business

Oxford Ave. project from  FWL

Oxford Ave. project from FWL

- Type of Business Entity

- Business Name

- Brand

- Purchase and hold your name across all platforms

- Create a purpose statement

- Create Consistency

- Identify your Network

- Identify your ideal client

- Obtain proper licensing

- Set realistic goals

The 10 steps I outlined above don’t have to be completed before you start working. In fact, the very best thing you can do right now is START!

Is this list overwhelming? Perhaps. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t stress. This is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. You are here reading this information. That means you are trying to educate yourself and better your business.

Volume 3 goes into detail on each of the 10 steps

I share business tips and tricks for all things related to the business of Landscape Design in my monthly playbook “Think Outside.” This 15-20 page PDF is full of things I’ve learned during my time in the Business. Click the link below to subscribe and learn how to get your business started.

Thanks for reading! - Ryan

Think Outside- What if I'm Brand New

How to Market Yourself if You’re New

Using photography for your business is important, but as a new professional this can be a bit of a challenge. What if you haven’t done many projects… or what if you’ve NEVER done a project, or perhaps you have sold a few designs but nothing has been built yet. Here are some creative ways to get good photos to use on your website or social media.

  1. Create a relationship with a local nursery, garden center, or botanical garden. Offer an exchange of services (your design service for discount or free) for the chance to use the space. Move around plants and other items to create a vignette that you can then photograph.

  2. Offer your services to a local contractor for a discount/free in exchange for the right to photograph the project after.

  3. Landscape your own home or a friend/family member’s home and photograph it at different times of the year to get several shots that you can use.

If you don’t have any projects completed yet, start with a blog. Identify your style and projects you love using social media like Pinterest or Google image searches.

Create a blog post using these images to let your clients know your style and vibe. Write about things for which you have an opinion, and remember… never portray someone else’s work as your own. Give proper credit to the authors/creators of the photos.

I share business tips and tricks for all things landscape in my monthly playbook “Think Outside.” This 15-20 page PDF is full of things I’ve learned during my time in the Landscape and Design Business. Click the link below to subscribe and learn how to get your business started.

Thanks for reading! - Ryan

Think Outside- Is Hiring a Professional Photographer Necessary?

DIY or Hire a Photographer?

A picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then in the landscape world, that picture could also be worth $1,000, or how about $100,000? Yep, that's right… one amazing photograph seen by the right person can easily help sell you that 6-figure project. In our experience, quality photography is worth EVERY penny!


I can’t tell you how many designers and contractors I know - or have worked with- that do gorgeous work and yet have the most abysmal (read: ugly) photos on their website or social media feed. How is this possible? Is photography too expensive? Are their projects not “photo-worthy”? Did the homeowner let the project go? What other barriers are there to getting good photos?

But remember, good photography is an investment. I’ll repeat that… photography is an investment. Your photos live forever. So why would you want to put out into the universe anything but your very best? I ‘be said it before, but 1 good (edited) photo is worth 100 mediocre unedited shots. So, if I could give you one word of advice for your photography it would be HIRE A PROFESSIONAL. I promise it’s worth it.

Want to learn more about the landscape business and tips I’ve learned in my 15 years in the business? Subscribe to my monthly playbook, a 15-20 page PDF where I share insider tips and tricks of the landscaping business. Click the link below to learn more!

Was this helpful? I hope so! I look forward to sharing more help for your landscaping business both here and in my Playbooks!

Happy designing! - Ryan