How do you decide which professional is best for your project?
The best way is to check them out. Ask for references, and contact them. Ask to see some of their work; if you cannot see it in person, then at least ask to see their portfolios. Keep an eye open for successful projects and find out who is responsible. Of course, a reference from a friend is helpful. You can arrange a site visit with a professional and find out if they provide consulting services. Whether or not a professional will charge for a visit depends on the company. If their time is paid for, they are likely to share all of the ideas they come up with while speaking with you. You can decide for yourself whether or not those ideas are to your way of thinking.
Why should I work with a landscape designer?
Because a professional landscape designer spends their life thinking about the subject, they come to your garden filled with knowledge, creative ideas and imagination to develop a custom design that is uniquely suited to your home, lifestyle and personal preferences.
Landscape design is challenging from an artistic, environmental, architectural, engineering and horticultural viewpoint. Unlike other art forms, a garden is not a static creation, but a dynamic, evolving ecosystem that requires continued inputs and energy over time. Its creation requires careful thought on different levels: botanically (which plants to choose), spatially (where to put what), seasonally (how will it look year-round?) and temporally (what will it look like in ten years?). A landscape designer factors all these things in and then adds an element of style that provides the spirit of the garden.
By spending time with a landscape designer to work through the design details during the planning phase, you will save money and time as it is less costly to consider the alternatives and change your mind on paper than it is during installation or after completion. Landscape design consists of a process that culminates in the creation of a set of documents that become your blueprint and information source for the project. These documents will assist you in obtaining comparable bids from landscape contractors to fully develop your site either in a single project or in phases over time.
A landscape designer will work with you to create this master plan, selecting the most appropriate materials & plants for your site and budget, developing solutions for specific problems on your property (i.e. privacy, noise, etc.), and finding the best people in the landscape industry to help bring the vision for your garden to reality.
Additional benefits of working with a landscape designer include assistance with quality control/site observation during installation, the opportunity to purchase plants at considerable savings from retail prices, and formation of a relationship with someone who can provide ongoing consultation as the garden changes and matures.
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