Creating a new garden is not just a job for in between. Especially when you know how much it costs! That is why it is important to know in advance what your new garden will look like. So that you know exactly what to expect. And, of course, to increase the anticipation!
Suppose you have saved up for several years to finally do something big with your garden. An average landscaping costs easily €180 per m2, so do the math! This needs to be an instant hit, so you can enjoy the summer (and maybe winter) months to the full.
You make all your wishes known to the gardener or landscaper, who then creates a 2D design. This looks just like the construction drawings of your house. In other words: you only understand half of it and can hardly imagine what it will really look like. So how can you make a good decision?
This month in the Spotlight, we talk to Peter van Schaik, owner of the Tuinontwerp Studio. He tackles this very problem. With the Tuinontwerp Studio's 3D designs, you can instantly see what your future garden will look like. And thus: what you can expect.
We also asked Peter for his opinion in this Spotlight article. So read on! ↓
Hey Peter, nice of you to join our Spotlight article! To start with, can you tell us a little about the origins of the Tuinontwerp Studio?
I am a concept creator. That means I develop ideas for businesses, including the Tuinontwerp Studio, into a worthy business. For this, I have also developed several concepts, which I often spend a few years working on before I sell it, for example.
The Tuinontwerp Studio is also a concept of mine. I am now in the process of fully developing this and establishing it in the Netherlands. The idea for this arose from a conversation I had with a good friend, a gardener.
My previous house had quite a large garden. Of course we wanted to renovate it, so my wife and I went to a company specialised in garden design. They drew out a garden design for us, which I laid out with my wife. Under full supervision of the designers.
We ended up befriending one of the designers, who also drops by for a beer once in a while.
He is a very good garden designer, but noticed that it was sometimes difficult for his clients to 'read' his 2D drawings properly. But he also experienced that people find it difficult to understand budgets, which sometimes resulted in an overpriced or underpriced design.
This is a well-known problem in the landscaping industry. Last winter, it came up again and I started thinking of a solution to his problem. How can we make it easier?
I sat down in my 'attic' to further develop the Tuinontwerp Studio idea, which I presented to him. He was immediately livid. Then I visited my network with other gardeners, garden specialists and suppliers. They too responded enthusiastically.
We have now spent 2,000 hours and entered into various collaborations with gardeners and suppliers. The first 10 garden designs have already been delivered!
You've already given it away a little, but what exactly does the Tuinontwerp Studio do?
The Tuinontwerp Studio is also a platform for gardeners, landscapers and suppliers. With our platform, we support these parties in converting a 2D to 3D design including animations and 3D photos.
We listen to our customers' garden wishes, which we convert into a unique 3D garden design, which is created especially for them. The end result is a 3D animation of what the garden will look like.
To make it even easier for consumers, they can order plants and paving directly from an affiliated supplier on our platform. Before designing the garden, we request the technical drawing from the land registry. We do this to be sure about the dimensions and layout, so we always design the right garden.
This technical drawing from the land registry can then be downloaded directly by the gardener or individual, so they can get started right away. And if they have any questions, they can request a telephone consultation with a garden architect, who will then advise them.Creating a 3D design involves a number of steps. For example, for a private individual:
Gardeners we have a partnership with also have their own landing page on our website. So that they have all the information available in a dashboard. They redirect the customer to their landing page on our website, fill in the required information there. The landscaper gets this in on their dashboard and we start working on it.
So the process for gardeners actually runs almost the same as for consumers. Only step 2 & 3 have already been taken by the gardeners.
The main thing about what we do is to create ease of use and unburden. For both consumers, and garden specialists. Consumers know what they are getting and garden specialists can better tailor to their needs. Plus, they themselves also have a better idea of the garden they are going to build.
There is no more miscommunication or wrong expectations!
So you should actually look at it this way: We offer gardeners and other parties the opportunity to make their garden designs come to life in a simple way. All our designs can be viewed and rotated from multiple angles, so you can see everything down to the blade of grass. So to speak, eh. Haha.
Besides, the Tuinontwerp Studio is a one-stop shop. That means we have everything we need. All the materials we use in our 3D animations can also be ordered directly from our suppliers.
We are still fairly much in the early stages of our business now, though. We have just completed a garden in Groningen, for a house that is yet to be built. The builder of the house could not provide a 3D drawing, so we also rebuilt the house according to the available 2D drawings. Around it, we designed the garden.
Tomorrow, we are going to present it, so the owner will see his new house and new garden in 3D for the first time. That's going to be a great moment, of course.
And so we are really going for that wow, in the hope that it will be shared on social media and among friends and families. So that we get word-of-mouth advertising that we as a company can really benefit from.
Do you also design the garden designs all by yourself?
Yes. Or at least, not me myself. I, together with my brother, make sure everything online is correct and keeps working well. We also take care of online and offline visibility.
For designing the gardens, we employ 2 landscapers, who have been doing this for about 30 years. We really have a lot of experience here. Meanwhile, 5 more people are ready to help us once we really start growing, but there are still four of us now.
You are a concept creator. So do you have several businesses besides Tuinontwerp Studio?
Yes, I also had several other businesses before this on and offline. But the Tuinontwerp Studio is now where the focus is.
I work as follows: I come up with a concept and work it out. In other words, I actually go and execute it. I sound out whether there is interest for it in the market and supervise that process.
In other words, I see a gap in the market and then work it out. Nor do I get rid of it straight away afterwards. It may well be that I will be involved in the Tuinontwerp Studio for another 10 years, or for the rest of my life. But it could also be that I sell it after 10 years.
It depends on how it runs and likes it actually. I always stay involved for longer periods of time. It's not like I immediately give up the reins to throw myself into another project. There is still so much to fine-tune!
Can you talk a bit more about the other concepts you have come up with and implemented?
Well, that's kind of interesting. Often I am too early with my concepts. I create them at a time when consumers are not yet ready for them. Whereas now with the Tuinontwerp Studio, I feel like I'm behind the times. By now I know that time-to-market is very important.
Anyway, what I mean by "too early" is that 10 years ago, I created a concept with augmented reality & virtual reality (AR & VR).
This concept allowed children to colour a colouring page and scan it in with a special app I developed. In no time, the app converted that colouring page into a 3D animation that came to life in the colours from the colouring page.
The products were then in 1,200 shops in the Netherlands. Anyway, children and also adults were not yet familiar with AR and VR and the product needed a lot of explanation. That's when I decided to remove the product from the shops again.
I came up with this colour concept 10 years ago, eventually worked on it for 4 years and realised it. All done, but too soon. The market just wasn't ready for it. Now we are much more used to working with a QR code and doing things with our smartphones.
I have now been approached by a toy company to create this concept for them. There it is that you can scan a QR code next to the drawing. The software scans the drawing and converts the colours and drawing into 3D.
At the beginning, before we started the interview, we talked briefly about your collaboration with Australia. Can you elaborate on that?
Yes, I had to quickly wrap up something before my brother went to close in Australia. As I mentioned briefly, my brother and I are working on this concept as concept makers. The nice thing about this is that we can operate almost 24 hours a day. 24/7 in emergencies even.
When I go to bed, he's up. And vice versa. We've been working together in this way for years and it's ideal because it just makes us really fast. Whatever I think of now or want to adjust I send through. Then it is often ready the next morning.
So we go through almost day and night. That makes our switching smooth. Every morning we sit together. Then we sit at the screen and adjust what we think needs to be adjusted. Then it logs off. It works very nicely for us. We've been doing it this way for at least 10 years.
How do you see the future for the Tuinontwerp Studio?
In the future, I would like to extend the Tuinontwerp Studio to construction companies. They too only provide a 2D drawing, which doesn't give as good a picture of the reality of the new house.
Similarly, we have people where the house is being remodelled. We now have 2 assignments in Oostvoorne where the house is also being remodelled. We have been there, which are also fairly large gardens. So we are now also working with the interior designer to make the garden and the house into one beautiful whole.
For these clients in Oostvoorne, we also recreated the entire house. Normally, we turn this into a block box, because otherwise it takes us too much time (and becomes too expensive).
But this is very special. These people have not yet seen their new house or the garden. So they are going to see everything as a whole at once. That involves a lot of emotion, which is what makes my work so incredibly beautiful.
You see the surprise on their faces, the realisation that this 3D rendering is their new garden and their new house! This is exactly why I think construction companies can benefit a lot from our capabilities.
What has the covid period been like for you?
For us, it has had quite little impact. I started in November/December 2020 and finally made the first presentations in February 2021 to see if there was a market for the Tuinontwerp Studio.
For gardeners, of course, the corona period has been a gigantic busy period. People took to the garden en masse and everyone found out that having a cosy garden did make life nicer after all. Especially with the lockdowns.
That also means that a lot of extra money has been pumped into the industry, which also makes it easier for landscaping companies to partner with us. So it has been pretty positive for us in the main.
Do you also notice a lot of competition? You said there is really no other company with the same product or service.
There is competition in every profession, but we embrace competition. We have a platform. Anyone can use our platform. Everyone can meet there. I can also see us eventually turning it into a whole community. Knowledge sharing, speakers: everything.
Do you have a specific part in the garden design studio or in the process that you are most proud of?
That everything goes so harmoniously. Everyone understands what to do and the process is very fluid. There is very little fuss in the whole process from consumer to completion. I actually like that a lot.
In fact, when I see all the things we have now created and share with our clients, I see that they all become happy. You all see that they think: "WOW! We can do that too! This will be our garden, that's great!"
People are really very happy and that's what matters to me. That gives satisfaction and a lot of energy.
Have you also had to deal with setbacks with the Tuinontwerp Studio?
I don't know if I look at it that way, actually. Of course, there are always things that go differently, but that's what you're an entrepreneur for. Your whole life always goes differently than imagined.
You put your shoulders to the wheel and keep going. There are always things that go less well, but then you turn it around to: how to do it?
You can think in solutions and in problems and I see a solution for everything. Of course, things always come up that you hadn't thought of beforehand, but with the SCRUM methodology we adjust improvements quickly and there is no last-minute check to see if everything went as expected.
You can compare this a bit to walking from mountain to mountain. One moment you are on a mountain, then you wonder how you are going to reach the next mountain. You walk left or right, shuffle along a mountain path and sometimes have to go through a small valley. Eventually we get there. It's never quite straight: it's always a bumpy trail.
But because I have had so many types of businesses by now and am patient, I don't need it all to be ready tomorrow. I'd rather take a month longer to get where we need to go.
As experts within green space, how do you think about the dying off of bees, for example?
In every design we make, we take nature into account. Like, for example, indeed the dwindling number of bees, but also water drainage and habitat.
Even if you remove a 30x30 tile, you can turn this into a small garden. They do that in Amsterdam, for instance, where my daughter lives. This way, they make the streets greener little by little. And that has great positive effects on water drainage.
Do you have certain wishes for your garden? Then of course we take them into account. For instance, we have already placed special plants in a wooded area, which deer love, and a bee colony in another garden. We want to do as much as possible to make the world a bit greener with our resources and knowledge.
We also have a charity, a fund, as a 3rd shareholder. This means that when we make money, part of our profits go to this charity.
We want to put this money into projects where it is badly needed. For instance, at a nursery, or a paved schoolyard, to design and implement something unique for this. Or planting a tree somewhere.
We also want precisely that water and the issues of the future, which we will undoubtedly face, to be addressed. We think we can do that with our foundation.
Of course, we always conclude with the same final question: what do you use Rinkel for?
I always try to think ahead. I still work alone now, but don't want to be called via my mobile. Rinkel is a solution in this respect, but also in the scalability I will soon need. After all, it could just be that next month I will be very busy and have more staff and I want to be able to manage that.
So for me it is mainly to maintain control, appear professional and be able to scale up easily.
Besides, as far as I'm concerned, future staff don't necessarily have to be in the office, so in that respect your system is also ideal.