Are you thinking about hiring a landscape designer? Good on you – as for me, and my better half, we are DIYers who have put a lot of time and energy into beautifying our front and back yards with garden beds, container and potted plants and a few ornamentals to boot. It’s still a work in progress, but we do get good yields, most of the time. And of course we put some thought and effort into the structure and layout too.
Perhaps your situation is different – you may have a clear vision of what you want you surroundings to look like and contain, but have a busy life pressed for time. If you have the right kind of discretionary income, you have some good options to look into.
The company you choose should be familiar with your budget and regularly work on projects of a similar size to yours. You can request to view a portfolio of their previous work and check out local reviews, testimonials and complaints online. This will help you narrow down your options.
Know What You Want
A successful landscape project requires a clear vision of your goals. List goals and priorities, and decide what is most important to you.
Also, consider the topography and soil and how you will use your yard. For example, plants that need full sun will grow stunted or die if placed in shady areas.
Next, establish a budget. A professional landscape designer recommends allocating 10-15% of your home’s value. Remember to include costs for less aesthetically pleasing items that will improve your quality of life, such as water savings, equipment storage, and privacy. A good designer will help you understand what is possible within your budget. Many designers also serve as builders and can provide installation estimates.
Know Your Budget
Many people are intimidated by the cost of hiring a landscape designer. However, you can save time and money by putting in the effort to do your research ahead of time.
Check out their past work portfolio and ensure their style matches your vision for your garden. Also, look for a company that specializes in landscaping and not just design, as they will be better equipped to handle the entire process from start to finish.
They should also be experienced in working in your particular climate and familiar with plants that thrive there. Lastly, get the contact information of their foreman so you can reach out to them if there are any issues during installation. This is essential to ensuring the project is completed promptly without major delays.
Do Your Research
Choosing the right landscape designer is important in achieving your dream garden. The good news is that there are a lot of options out there. Begin your search by reviewing online reviews. I remember something like Angie’s List which was a good resource to vet potential prospects. Not sure if that site is still around… You can also learn much about their experience and expertise by looking at their portfolio of past projects.
Taking a copy of your property’s aerial photo or plat to the initial meeting is also helpful. It will help you define the areas of your property where you want to focus the project and give the landscape architect a rough sense of scope. Also, ask to see their portfolio and note what projects speak to you. Then, review their pricing process; some designers charge hourly with a not-to-exceed amount, while others use lump sums for the entire project.
Communicate Your Expectations
In the initial meeting, be direct with your thoughts. You want to ensure your ideas are understood so the designer can offer their input to improve and align choices, aesthetics, decisions and resources.
Ask about the project timeline and how cost changes are handled. Various unknown factors can affect the design process, including contractor availability, weather and plant/material delivery times.
Many landscape design companies also specialize in installation and maintenance work. Find out if they do both and how that process works to ensure you have a smooth handoff once the design process is complete. Also, ask if they will be on-site during the installation process. This will help ensure the project is completed on time and to your satisfaction.
When choosing a landscape designer, it’s important to ask questions. This can help you determine their qualifications and experience and ensure you understand the process from start to finish.
Ask about their process for designing outdoor spaces, including how long it takes for plants to grow and how long it typically takes to install projects like retaining walls, custom fire pits, and patios. This can help you avoid surprises and ensure you’re happy with the final results.
It would help if you also inquired whether the landscape company offers maintenance services after completing the project. This can help you stay on budget and maintain the beauty of your property for years to come.
Good luck, and may you be successful in choosing a great designer, and having an enjoyable surrounding!