How do I know if I’m ready to
be a COG designer for a community project?
If you have completed a level
II class in landscape design (one level beyond introductory), you are prepared
to work with many of COG’s design projects. If you’ve completed a level III
class or an Independent or Thesis Project, if you’ve graduated or are already
in practice, you are prepared to work with any of our community projects.
COGdesign welcomes graduates and students of any recognized landscape
design/architecture/history program. If a project interests you or you would
like the transitional experience of working with COG, the best thing to do is
contact the COG coordinator and talk about it.
How much time will the project
Every project is different. In
most cases, you can expect to have a site visit and initial meeting with the
client, one or two review meetings, the final presentation, and your analysis
and design time. Some projects may ask you for more, e.g. making a model, help
with installation. We help you assess, at the beginning of the project, what the
time demands are likely to be.
What help will I get from COG?
We encourage you to take part
in COG’s monthly design Reviews. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with
other designers and landscape architects for feedback and problem solving. The
COG Reviews are a place to share your work and your ideas with other designers.
In addition, you’re invited to call the COG coordinator to talk about your
project at any time. She can help you develop your contract and will take part in
meetings and presentations when helpful.
Will I get paid for my
You should expect to work pro
bono on a COG project. Your out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
Does the community client pay
for COG services?
The community client pays a
small application fee for COG services and covers your out-of-pocket expenses.
In addition, the client is expected to be actively involved in the project,
meeting with you whenever necessary and participating as requested.
What can I expect to get out of
You will contribute your
considerable skills to improving the community landscape and, because of the
partnership you build with your community client, you will have empowered and
educated them about design. In return, you will gain valuable field experience
from managing a project and developing a responsive landscape design. You’ll
complete your COG project with portfolio material, community and professional
contacts, self confidence, and honed problem solving skills. You’ll also be
one of the community of designers taking part in the COG Review
Does every project get
No, but even projects which
aren’t installed have served you and your client well. Your site analysis and
design will have unlocked imaginations and alerted people to the possibilities
of their site. And you will have gained valuable experience working with clients
and managing the project.
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What kind of assistance does COGdesign provide for groups and organizations? For selected projects, COGdesign provides professional landscape design by landscape design practitioners and advanced students which usually includes a site analysis, site plan, plant list, maintenance recommendations, and cost estimate. COGdesign does not install the design; rather, it provides concept plans for fundraising and, in some cases, plans from which landscapers (paid and/or volunteer) can work.
Which organizations qualify for COGdesign assistance? Any community-based group or organization that owns, or is responsible for, an outdoor space in need of design services (community gardens, schools, churches, affordable-housing complexes, museums, parklands) and lacks the resources to acquire more traditional landscape design services, is eligible to be a COGdesign client. For private residential projects or organizations with secured funds, COGdesign can make appropriate referrals.
How can my organization obtain services from COGdesign? Contact COGdesign's director via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 781-642-6662 and explain your group's need for assistance. If your project sounds like one which COGdesign can help, you'll be asked to complete an application form. COGdesign responds to applications as promptly as possible but cannot guarantee a timeframe.
What do COGdesign's clients have to pay? Clients pay a one-time, non-refundable $150 application fee. In addition, COGdesign clients reimburse the designer's out-of-pocket expenses such as printing, film, and photocopying. The designer's time and expertise, however, are free of charge.
Are there any hidden costs to COGdesign’s services? COGdesign requests in-kind support from the community client like publicity through newsletters and local newspapers or the use of meeting space. If fund-raising is underway, COGdesign encourages the client to include a fee-for-services in the budget, payable to
What else does the client group have to do? COGdesign clients are expected to fulfill certain responsibilities to produce a successful landscape design development process. These are likely to include:
- providing the designer as much information as possible about the site, its history and surroundings, and helping the designer make contact with local officials and decision makers;
- negotiating a Letter of Agreement with the designer;
- establishing a meeting schedule with the designer and keeping to it;
- identifying a person or small committee within your group who will work regularly with the designer throughout the process;
- setting up a mechanism within the group for making decisions, especially for giving preliminary and final approval of the design;
- completing a brief evaluation for COGdesign once the design project is completed;
- fulfilling your in-kind commitment to COGdesign.
How long does the design process take? The time can range from 6 weeks to 6 months or longer. How long it takes depends partly on how big or complex the design problem is and partly on how well the client group assists the designer by carrying out its responsibilities, as described above.
What happens after the design is done? Can COGdesign help us get the landscape built? We encourage community groups, before starting a design project, to put in place a fundraising mechanism like grant applications or members’ appeals. The designer can help by providing a cost estimate for installing the design and making suggestions for sources of materials and funds but rarely takes part in actual fund-raising. The designer may be willing to contract with the client to help oversee the installation and make sure all goes smoothly and according to plan.
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