Outsourcing The Design of Design-Build


For lawn care and landscape professionals, making the transition to offer design-build services can be intimidating — especially so if no one on your crew is a landscape architect. While employees may have hands-on knowledge of say, pool or hardscape installation, the ability required to sit with a client, address their wish list, and come up with a cohesive design is not in everyone’s wheelhouse. And depending on the client, the time spent on design can drain the project budget.

Recently a new online service, Tilly—launched two years ago as a consumer solution to easy, affordable landscape architecture-—is realizing its potential as an outsourced design service for growing landscaping firms. The company was the brainchild of four friends: one a landscape architect; the others business savvy homeowners who saw a need in the marketplace. But what the founders didn’t initially realize was the service’s appeal to busy contractors, landscapers, and nurseries.

Tilly design-build services
This rendering of a naturalistic patio for a Texas residence is a landscape design from Tilly. Launched at the end of 2020, Tilly for Pros aims to provide landscaping firms with affordable outsourced landscape designs.


After receiving frequent requests by green industry experts to partner, Tilly launched Tilly for Pros at the end of 2020. With designs completed in 44 states thus far, the inexpensive option is now becoming popular with companies that either do not have a design team in-house or are simply too busy to handle all incoming projects.

“For me, it makes more sense that I’m out in the field, boots on the ground—acquiring clients and installing rather than designing,” says Alejandro Frezza, President of TGW Landscaping and Contracting Inc. in Rockland County, NY. “Having Tilly handle my design project load frees up my schedule and helps my bottom line significantly.”

The entire process is online—from answering a questionnaire to uploading a property survey and photos. Each project is completely custom and created by a landscape designer with extensive plant knowledge in the project’s hardiness zone. All plans are designed based on client’s geography, personal style, and functional needs. With Tilly for Pros, designs are delivered in five to seven business days. Plans can also be co-branded with the landscape company’s logo for those who view Tilly as an extension of their own team.

“We’ve been considering a landscape design service for our busy garden center for a number of years,” says Jessica Thomas, Co-Owner of Agway of Cape Cod, a leading lawn and garden center. “Implementing our collaboration with Tilly couldn’t come at a more perfect time, and comes with great value to us and our customers. Our employees can focus on customer interactions and feel confident introducing Tilly for design assistance, saving us time and offering added value to customers.” She adds, “I went through the design process with my personal property and it was a wonderful experience. It’s a valuable extension of our green goods business.”

Tilly’s services are available throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. Prices are $375 for a Front Yard Package; $525 for a Backyard Package and $775 for a Full Yard, with add ons such as 3D renderings and lighting plans. The deliverable includes a one-page PDF for use in the field, a scaled conceptual landscape plan, plant schedule, materials and plant images, and designer notes to help explain the project to the client. One round of revisions is also included.

Blythe Yost, TillyYost, CEO and Co-Founder of Tilly, offers extensive industry knowledge to the company and design team. Yost has been practicing landscape architecture for over 15 years. She is the Principal and Founder of two high-end landscape companies, Yost Design and Hudson House and Garden, which serve the New York tri-state area. Yost graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and a focus on horticulture.

Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or send an e-mail to the Editor at acosgrove@groupc.com.

Want to talk about landscape design and installation with fellow lawn care and landscape professionals? Join the discussions in the Landscape Design & Installation Forum at www.expired-link.com.