The Will of the Owner
I am constantly suprised by a client's desire for a "fantastic" design...followed up by the same client getting cold feet and eliminating the most distinctive and creative portion of the design out of fear of expanding their comfort zones. Its the sculpture, the lighting, the water feature, the distinctive construction materials that make a site unique. We often eliminate the design elementst that will make their project unique and magazine worthy. By nature, distinctive architecture is about pushing the design edge in a carefully controlled manner. I am asked in interviews "Can you make this project stand out?". My reply is, "Of course we can, that is what we were trained to do! But do you, as the Owner, have the will to allow us to make the project unique?". This holds true on a municipal plaza, an urban park, or a backyard. Find a design professional you can trust. Give them clear direction, with appropriate budget, and then stand back and allow your dream to happen. The things that make you the most nervous in a good design are likely to be the things that you will love the most about the finished project. Stand back and let it happen.