Activity 1.1: Get it Down

The Client Interview

Activity 1.1

The goal of this activity is assessment: gather information through personal reflection and interviews of people connected with your site (stakeholders.) Below are sample question. Feel free to come up with you own. 

Complete this assignment by summarizing:

1) What is your approach to gathering your information including the setting, choice of stakeholders, technical detail?

2) What are the most significant insight(s) you learned?

3) What elements must be considered in the site plan?

4) How might you evaluate success? Your analysis will be needed for the activity1.2. 

Submit your client interview summary and analysis.


Sample questions related to use:

  • What are the desired uses of this property?
  • What is your daily routine? Weekend? Seasonal?
  • What special events / needs / hobbies do you and your family or community have?
  • What features / areas / elements do you need / want?
  • What utility / service / delivery / storage needs do you have (laundry lines, recycle and trash, firewood processing and storage, composting, lighting, etc.?)
  • Special population uses such as children or youth?
  • What vehicles do you currently use (bike, cars, trucks, tractors, carts, etc.)?
  • What structures do you have and use the most for what purposes?
  • What crop production areas do you have/want? Woodlot, veggies, tree crops, etc?
  • Do you have/want livestock/pets? What kinds and how many of each? How do you want to approach wildlife and varmints?
  • How do you use areas of your site presently?
  • Describe inside to outdoor connections, patterns (views from windows, doors used most often and for what, food processing and storage flows, firewood flows, etc.).
  • Do you like sun, wind, water?
  • Importance of privacy [sight and sound]?
  • Are there any important features re: legal status for the property –boundary disputes, lack of survey, liens on property, rights of way, etc?
  • How might these uses change in the future (family and employment changes)?

Sample questions about the client(s)

  • How many family members now, ages and interests. Future growth of family?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What was your last home like?
  • How long do you plan to live at this site?
  • What occupation(s)?
  • Describe your neighbor relations
  • Do you have allergies?
  • Eating habits? Social or individual? Taste/ethnic cuisine preferences? Vegetarian, vegan, meat, etc.? Favorite foods: fruits, nuts, veggies, herbs, medicinals, etc.?
  • How self-reliant do you want to be? In what ways?
  • Pets livestock, wildlife enhancement?
  • Are plans or drawings available –property, building, septic?
  • What is on your wish list? What have you accomplished so far?
  • Budget (for design and overall)? Other resources –on land, friends, neighbors, barter for?
  • What did you want from me? Why did you call me?
  • How would you describe your lifestyle?

Sample questions about character, feelings, materials

  • Why did you purchase the property? Do you intend to stay? (How long?)
  • Describe the site in a few words
  • What do you like/dislike about front/rear/other yards/neighborhood?
  • What would your dream home/landscape look like?
  • What are your favorite/least favorite models in the area? From magazines?
  • Name some favorite plants  and/or building material.

Sample questions about priorities

  • Worst problems? Why?
  • Where on your site do you like the most? Why?
  • What kind of maintenance are you planning? How much of your own labor involved in implementation and maintenance? How much money and time is available to implement the design? To maintain it?
  • What do you want to do first? Do you have plans or commitments now?
  • What one thing on the site would make the most difference if changed?

Sample questions about constraints

  • Deed or zoning restrictions? Relationship to / flexibility of / cooperation with authorities?
  • Power, sewer, utility locations? Water source?
  • Property boundaries? Acreage?
  • Potential catastrophes –fire, flood, frost, hurricane, etc.?
  • Lighting: paths, buildings