What to Expect When Working with a Landscape Architect/Design Professional

If you have ever tried tackling your own landscape design you might have been overwhelmed by all the choices that need to be made. From plant selection to boulder placement; scheduling deliveries of bulk materials and of course the many hours required to actually install all of your beautiful new additions. With all the moving pieces that come with home DIY projects, it can be easy to forget some pieces to the puzzle that will ultimately give you the most complete package. 

One simple solution to this problem is to enlist the services of a landscape design professional, either a licensed landscape architect or a landscape designer depending on the type of design work you are looking to include at your property. You might be thinking that a simple backyard makeover is too small for a project to need professional design advice. However, the long term benefits that come with the wide skill set of a professional designer far outweigh the seasons of replanting gardens and pulling up patios that just did not quite work. 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, you have made the smart choice to hire a professional to come alongside and guide you in the planning and design process. Maybe you have had some experience working with architects or interior designers and know what to expect or maybe this is your first time working with anyone in the design professions. The following article will give you a good idea of what to expect so you can best prepare for your first design meeting!

What to expect with a Professional  Landscape Architect or Designer: Start to Finish

1. Idea Generation

Landscape architects, and to some extent landscape designers, have years of formal training in subjects ranging from design theory, horticulture, art history, and psychology to name a few. Because of this extensive training, working with a landscape design professional will help kick-start your idea generation. The ability to be abundant with ideas and to spin one idea into a new and improved theory using past experience and industry expertise is a unique talent of design professionals.

2. Site Inventory & Analysis

Every parcel or lot of land is unique in many ways, not just different shapes, sizes, and geographical locations, but also being part of a larger ecosystem, having challenging topographic qualities or just numerous utility and municipal setbacks that all require consideration. A professional landscape architect will have the skill to understand the macrocosm and microcosms that will dictate the broad-brush strokes of design. They will also have the refined talent to read the site-specific details, which define the unique elements of a single area of focus.

3. Conceptual Design

Once there is a clear analysis of the project site, it is possible to come up with conceptual design ideas to contemplate. Every site has multiple solutions, but when the background research has been done thoroughly, a professional landscape designer will be able to narrow down the options to a concept that answers the needs, wants and wishes of the landowner while addressing the ecosystem characteristics presented in the existing landscape.

4. Construction Planning

As a landscape architect, I know that when I first meet with a client more than likely they have been giving a great deal of consideration to how they want their property to be designed. Time and experience have taught me, however, that just because a home or property owner has an idea about what they want the final design outcomes to be, doesn’t mean that idea is actually buildable or sustainable. We can dream up some pretty wild stuff after all! By working with a seasoned professional, you can be assured that what you develop together will have the ability to not only be built but also to be sustained creating a longterm successful space.

5. Budget Creation

Understanding what things cost is very important. We are all quite familiar with how much any development project cost. The design processes require unhampered imagination and creativity in the beginning, but once the direction and aesthetic are defined it is necessary to bring the project into the reality of money. A professional landscape designer will be able to reasonably provide a project budget range or ballpark budget through experience or be able to guide you through the pricing/bidding process so that you can determine whether to build the project all at once or to phase it in over a few years.

6. Contractor Liaison

It is greatly important to draw the momentum you and your designer created from the design process into the construction phase. Some designers work with in house contracting operations – known as Design/Build while other designers work solo and have developed strong relationships with professional landscape contractors that they are confident in working with or recommending. These relationships are very useful to anyone planning to hire installers for the construction phase.

7. Project Management

One of the real benefits of working with a professional landscape designer in the design development process is in having this person stick with you through the construction phase. Every project will have the potential to be improved upon as it is being built. Additionally, almost every project will have some “unknown” pop up during construction and it will be important to have someone with your best interest in mind on-site to make informed decisions. Having your designer close at hand, or as your project manager, will ensure that you capitalize on opportunity and minimize any unforeseen pitfalls.

Top Photo: carexdesigngroup.com

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Written by Emaley Baxter

Emaley Baxter is an expert landscaper who loves writing in her free time. She enjoys research and exploring the great outdoors.

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

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