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Landscape Designers

An attractive landscape is a proven way to enhance the appeal and marketability of any property. Most owners can benefit from hiring a professional designer, who has the knowledge and skill to guide the entire landscaping process from plans to installation. Having the right plan from the start can help avoid mistakes that can be costly to correct. A professional designer will have access to a wider variety of plant and hardscape materials at better prices than most property owners. The designer will make sure that all the selected plants are suitable for the climate and can also advise the client on maintenance procedures that will keep the garden looking its best.

A good designer will start by surveying the space and asking the client what garden features, including planting beds, hardscaping (walkways, retaining walls, driveways), and garden structures (arbors, pergolas, trellises, playhouses) are desired. The designer can advise the client if plans to a construct a swimming pool, fountain, or water garden are feasible. When the client and designer have agreed on what will be included, precise plans can be drawn up.

There are three ways of working with the landscape designer.

  • The first is to purchase only a landscape plan. The designer will charge a flat fee or an hourly charge for the time it takes to complete the plan. The property owner can then do the installation work himself or hire a contractor to do it for him. This method works especially well if the owner wants to implement the plan over time rather than all at once. It is usually the least expensive option.
  • The second choice is for the designer to hire the contractors and supervise the work. In this case, the designer may not charge for the landscaping plan. It is the designer’s job to make sure that everything in the plan is properly purchased, constructed, and planted.
  • The third method is to hire a design/build firm which provides all the services needed for the entire project, starting with the landscape plan. Although this is frequently the most expensive, it often results in the fastest and smoothest installation, as one company is coordinating all of the work.

The best way to find a landscape designer is to locate gardens in your area that appeal to you and then ask who planned them. Designers often have distinct styles that they specialize in, although many will do a variety of garden types.

Since you hold the vision of what you want, find pictures in magazines and books of gardens you like that you can show to a designer you are thinking of hiring. These can help convey your ideas and perhaps give you new ones. Of equal importance, be prepared to tell the designer how you plan to use the space.

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