The Dos and Don'ts of Choosing A New Landscape Designer

The Dos and Don'ts of Choosing A New Landscape Designer

Landscaping
Outdoor Additions
How To
By Mateos Glen Hayes September 17, 2022

What's the first thing that people see when they pass by your home? No, it is not your brand-new washroom or freshly painted bedroom. Rather, your front yard is the first thing that passersby see. Your lawn, your trees, your bushes, your flowers - whatever you have on your front lawn is what they see and this can make a significant first impression. A well-manicured lawn is one of the most reliable ways to boost your home’s curb appeal.

How many times have you shaken your head at a lawn that is unkempt? It can be pretty unsightly to see a neglected yard. When the grass is not mowed, there are dandelions cropping up everywhere, and there is junk and trash scattered all over the place this can make your property look quite unappealing. 

A well-kept lawn can make a powerful first impression and even affects your curb appeal.

A well-kept lawn can make a powerful first impression and even affects your curb appeal.

To make matters worse, an unkempt lawn can attract pests such as rats or mice. Most people do not allow their landscaping to become so poor, but sometimes every homeowner needs to update their landscaping designs to give their home that extra "boost".

Of all home designers, landscaping designers are some of the most popular. This is both a good and bad thing; it is good since you have many different options to choose from, with many different qualities of work and at least one landscaping designer will meet your budget. The only downside of this variety of choices is that it can be kinda hard to find the perfect landscape designer for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of guidelines for helping you make the best choice.

What Does a Landscape Designer Do? 

A landscape designer’s main focus is on improving your lawn by creating beautiful vegetation layouts.

A landscape designer’s main focus is on improving your lawn by creating beautiful vegetation layouts.

Landscape designers are specialists who can help you totally reimagine your garden into something new and amazing. They are unlicensed and as such are limited in all the tasks they can do. For example, a landscape designer usually cannot help you with technical landscaping involving hardscaping due to regulations. They are also somewhat limited in what kind of designs they can draw up for you. However, landscape designers can do quite a lot besides this. 

Their job is to liaise with a landscape contractor to make your landscaping project seamless. Whereas a registered specialist knows the technical side of things, a landscape designer’s specialty is understanding your vision and working with the landscape contractor to make it a reality. Having said that, it is possible to find landscape designers who are licensed, which can be quite convenient since you will then have the design and build specialist without having to hire two people.  

When Do You Need a Landscape Designer? 

Any project that requires a lot of hardscaping is better suited to a landscaping architect.

Any project that requires a lot of hardscaping is better suited to a landscaping architect.

To fully answer this question we need to first talk about the difference between landscape designers and landscape architects. These may seem quite similar, but they are in fact different in some key ways. For one, landscape architects are regulated by your local government. 

This means they are subject to a set of local legal regulations and must be licensed. By contrast, there is not a universal requirement that a landscape designer is regulated. Furthermore, landscape architects actually do different things from landscape designers, and often you are legally required to hire a landscape architect for certain jobs.

For instance, if you plan on building a drainage system for your lawn, building a garden pathway network, erecting a retaining wall, or want to do landscaping on a sensitive site you will most likely need to hire a landscape architect. In other words, they are the best people when you need to do something technical and complex involving landscaping. 

Landscape designers are also useful to have especially if your project is more centered on your lawn’s greenery and vegetation. So if you just want to build a flower bed, a raised garden bed, or plant a new tree; a landscape designer can certainly help with that. 

What To Look For in a Landscape Designer 

An experienced landscape designer has a good eye for color and knows how to make your lawn pop with beautiful hues.

An experienced landscape designer has a good eye for color and knows how to make your lawn pop with beautiful hues.

Even if a landscape designer is fully licensed and up to date with all the latest garden trends, it is still important to do a bit of extra vetting. One of the most important things is to establish a good dialogue with your landscape designer. The perfect landscape designer is the one who can understand your vision and can make it their own.

Understanding Your Vision

Work with your landscape designer to make your landscape ideas a reality.

Work with your landscape designer to make your landscape ideas a reality.

Their job is to take your landscaping designs and translate them into a viable project. This means accepting what the customer wants while also making some suggestions to work out any potential kinks. The tips that they offer up are doable with your budget; no landscaper is going to suggest that you include a waterfall and pond when you are on the market looking for just new shrubs for under $500. In other words, the landscape designer will do their best to keep your project within regulations and under budget.

Understanding The Land 

Additionally, a good landscape designer needs to have an adequate understanding of the ground they are working on and its particularities. That means checking PH levels, inspecting any potential drainage issues, and looking out for pests. Experienced landscape designers will also have a good idea of the region they are working in and will therefore know what potential challenges can arise. 

Green Landscaping

Effective eco-conscious landscaping makes use of native plants and emphasizes responsible water use.

Effective eco-conscious landscaping makes use of native plants and emphasizes responsible water use.

Eco-conscious landscaping is a growing priority for homeowners today. In the past, landscaping could be quite destructive, resulting in soil erosion, the introduction of invasive species, drought, the spread of plant fungus, the decline of bee populations, and other major problems. As such, a particularly important thing to look for in your landscape designer is that they value green landscaping best practices. That means working with native plants, using compost and other natural products for soil preparation, and emphasizing water conservation. 

Naturally, this also means avoiding the use of harmful chemicals such as weed killers and other things that can pollute water tables. There are of course plenty of other cool ways to make your garden more eco-friendly including solar lighting options, planting trees that hold soil to help reduce erosion, and grasscycling. A ‘green’ lawn is better for the environment but also better for your garden’s long-term health and development.

Design pointers

Perennial plants add more color and texture to your landscape as time goes on.

Perennial plants add more color and texture to your landscape as time goes on.

Some homeowners prefer more simple designs and hire a designer to simply choose the shrubs and trees to line their yard, whereas other homeowners will ask for intricate, winding stone paths with multiple flowers and shrubs with certain color combinations and textures.

Remember, the design that you choose for landscaping designs should match your home's design, your lifestyle needs, and your budget. For instance, if you are in no way interested in gardening and do not want to hire a gardener, go for a simple design. Otherwise, your gorgeous landscape designs will be overtaken by weeds because you haven't a desire to weed on your weekends. As you go about drawing up your new landscaping designs, it’s good to keep a few pointers in mind so that the whole process goes smoothly. 

Plant Perennials 

This is a smart backyard landscape design choice because it can save you money in the long run. Perennials typically require more upkeep, but they do not need to be replanted each year, reducing your workload in that way. Plus, perennials tend to add plenty of color and texture to your yard that gradually builds on itself over time.   

Smart landscape lighting makes your garden fun and inviting even at night.

Smart landscape lighting makes your garden fun and inviting even at night.

Choose Proportionately 

When you’re planning out your landscaping design it is crucial to account for future growth. Plants will get bigger, bushes will grow out, and without proper planning, some plants might look too small and others might end up dominating the yard. A good rule of thumb is to have a variety of different heights for your plants, bushes, and trees. This always looks good and adds some complexity to your landscape. 

Don’t Forget Lighting

You could have one of the best-looking lawns in town but its usefulness will be pretty limited at night without some good landscape lighting. Very often homeowners will skip the lighting when redoing their backyard landscape designs and that’s a pity. There are many lighting solutions to choose from and they are all relatively affordable. Even a few simple lanterns or pathway lights can make a big difference by creating a more welcoming lawn that you can enjoy when it’s dark.

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

comments

Under Construction - Coming Back Soon!

We are currently working on bringing you an improved experience. Please leave your name and email address and we'll let you know as soon as we relaunch.