Evergreen Landscape

Landscape Design: Choosing a Landscape Design Professional

David Berle, Extension Horticulture Specialist
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

The landscape is a very important aspect of a home. Having a beautiful, creative and functional landscape requires some understanding of design principles, plant materials and outdoor structural elements. A landscape installation can be very simple or extremely complicated. Designing irrigation systems, outdoor lighting, stone walls and patios requires skills that go beyond those of the average homeowner. When the job seems too big, it may be time to call in a professional.

Why Hire a Garden Designer?

Some people find it rewarding to design and install a landscape project themselves. Others prefer to have everything done by professionals. Professional people who turn these dreams into reality can be garden designers, horticulturists or landscape architects. Garden designers use plants and other elements to design and construct exterior spaces. The most important reason to hire a garden designer is to ensure certain industry standards and practical guidelines are followed in developing the plan. Established guidelines for sidewalk widths, driveways, seating walls and decks can be confusing to the novice. Just knowing all the different varieties of plants and their maximum growth potential is challenging. A good landscape designer knows both plants and design standards and how to incorporate individual preferences into an overall design.

Each garden designer has an individual style and approach to landscape design. Some garden designers specialize in certain aspects of garden design, such as irrigation design or water gardens. It is important to find a compatible designer for your style and project goals. Allow time for the interview, either at their office or, preferably, at your home. This initial consultation is often free, but not always. Be sure to ask if there is a fee and what will be provided for that fee. Interviewing a garden designer provides a chance to meet and to learn if the chemistry is right. A landscape designer may be working with you an extensive amount of time, so look for someone who is comfortable and easy to work with. Will they listen to ideas and comments? Often a landscape designer is hired to prepare a landscape plan, and when the plan is completed, it is put on a shelf and never implemented. During the interview, discuss the project and your personal goals. It is important to ask questions. Also ask for references and to see a portfolio or photographs of previous work. Inquire about their training, education and experience. Visit nearby projects to view their work and, if possible, ask past clients if they were satisfied.

Feel free to call Mike today at 781-585-6182 to discuss your next landscaping project.