If you’re planning on a landscape project, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to hire a landscape architect, designer or contractor. They level of knowledge and expertise may be the same, but they usually focus on different areas of landscaping.
Indeed, it can be difficult to differentiate the tasks of these three distinct landscape professionals. To clear the confusion, many design-build firms hire architects and designers internally to handle everything, from design, to installation to maintenance; other architects and designers, on the other hand, hire their own contractors. You can also hire a landscape designer or architect to create a plan for you, and then have them recommend a Good contractor. If you work with landscape contractors, all design work is considered part of the deal.
So the question is, should you hire a landscape architect, designer or contractor? This will mainly boil down to four factors: the size of your project, your timeline, the job’s overall complexity, and, of course, your budget. But believe it or not, there’s one factor involved that is actually considered the ultimate litmus test: personal chemistry.
You’ll need a landscape professional who is receptive to your ideas, suggestions or goals, and will work with a schedule that is comfortable to you. They should spend time inspecting your property and asking you questions, such as what elements you want in the design (for example, bamboo outdoor furniture), how you plan to use the area (for instance, reading a book or dining with the family or with guests), or what overall ambiance you want for this part of your home). Of course, if they feel that you want something that isn’t possible or is hardly wise, they will offer their expert opinion.
As always, whether you’re looking for a landscape professional or any other service provider, a personal referral or recommendation is your best bet. So ask around – relatives, friends, coworkers or neighbors may have hired a good one just recently. Another thing you can do is explore online directories that various industry associations maintain for public use. Ask them whether they have licenses, certifications and professional affiliations; if they say yes, have them show proof. All proposals must be given to you in writing, and make sure all the terms and conditions, including the fees, are clear to you.
Even if you’re thinking of pulling a DIY on your landscape project, the advice of experts is still indispensable. After all, they’re not called that for nothing. And of course, you’re probably going to make a sizable expense, so you’d like to get it right the first time.