FAQ's Why should I hire a landscape architect versus a landscape designer? A landscape architect is an educated and trained professional who has passed a series of exams to become registered, thereby earning the title Landscape Architect or “RLA”. Landscape architects work on all types of structures and external space - large or small, urban, suburban and rural, and with "hard" (built) and "soft" (planted) materials, while integrating ecological sustainability. The most valuable contribution can be made at the first stage of a project to generate ideas with technical understanding and creative flair for the design, organization, and use of spaces. The landscape architect can conceive the overall concept and prepare the master plan, from which detailed design drawings and technical specifications are prepared. They can also review proposals to authorize and supervise contracts for the construction work. A landscape “designer” often times refers to those who are not officially qualified or licensed as landscape architects. They may, or may not, have training or education, has not passed the state exam, and may have turned a hobby into a career. Other individuals who practice landscape design, but have yet to attain professional licensure refer to themselves as garden artisans, garden or planting designers, environmental designers, or site planners. Why should I hire a landscape architect versus a landscape contractor? Many landscape contractors will tell you they can put in a landscape as well as any landscape architect. This is somewhat true if you want a simple concrete paver walkway/patio and are generally okay with a ‘cookie cutter' approach to your landscape. For some people that is all they want, and need. The value of working with a landscape architect is comparable with working with a building architect versus a building contractor. Landscape architects can produce a design that coherently brings together the various unique features of the site so to create an environment that is pleasing and ultimately adds value to your property. When should I hire a landscape architect? Ideally, for the best final results, if the house, or building is being built, the landscape architect should work with the building architect, or design build firm, in the planning stages. Landscape architects can add valuable insights to the design and integration of the outdoor spaces with the building.
What can I do to prepare for our consultation? The more you have an idea of what you like, and how you would use the spaces, the better. Houzz.com and pinterest.com are useful online resources as well as any clippings from magazines etc.. Having an idea of your budget for the project, if known, is also important as it can often be a determining factor for the overall design.
How long does the design take? This depends on the size and complexity of the project and how many revisions to the plan are made.
How much does a design plan cost? This is based on the number on hours that is needed to do the plan. If you have a budget for the design, this is best discussed on the initial conversation.
Can you recommend a landscape contractor? I can act as your general contractor or, if you prefer, I would be happy to work with you in choosing a landscape qualified contractor.
Can you oversee the construction? Yes. This is crucial to keep the design intention true and ensure sound construction practices are being used.