Landscape architects are professionals, trained in both art and science including such things as grading and drainage. Landscape architects strive to achieve the best use for any piece of property. Traditionally landscape architects were known as designers of gardens and parks but today’s landscape architects have expanded their capabilities to include planning, design, reclamation and management of all aspects of the environment.
Many people feel that hiring a landscape architect is beyond their means. With today’s emphasis on low maintenance and water conservation, utilizing the skills of a landscape architect can achieve long-term savings. A landscape architect can offer ideas for advantageous siting of buildings and is trained to evaluate all site considerations including those that might cause problems in the future. Often landscape architects propose alternatives that turn imagined handicaps into assets. Seldom is a job too small. Landscape architects design every size from balconies and town homes to regional parks, land reclamation sites and huge estates. A landscape architect can design an environment that works well, looks good today and retains those qualities in the future, saving the owner future renovation and problem solving expenditures. If you are planning an improvement to the structure of your house, set aside enough extra to plan for improvements to your landscape as well.
The landscape architect offers a variety of services ranging from a single consultation to the complete development of a site and submittals to various agencies. Keep in mind that the style of work you may have admired in an article or in a friend’s yard will not be the same when applied to your property since each site has attributes that must be treated individually.
Once you have decided to hire a landscape architect set up a preliminary consultation. You can expect to be charged for this consultation. During your interview with the landscape architect bring a list of your likes and dislikes, needs, wants and concerns together with any pictures of work that you particularly admire. Following the interview you will receive a letter of proposal from the landscape architect summarizing your discussion, the proposed scope of work, the fee schedule and any outside work that may be required such as a site survey or soils report. Once this letter is signed and returned to the landscape architect it becomes a contract and your project will begin as outlined in the letter.