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Hints About Hiring a Landscape Architect

Judy Tiger

    General Comments:
  • always ask a potential landscape architect or garden designer:
    • if they charge for an initial visit
    • to bring along a portfolio of before/after so you can see if you like their aesthetic approaches
  • an LA/designer (difference has to do with their training) can usually provide a variety of services, from a walk-thru with suggestions with or without an informal scribble sketch, up to a finished design with suggested plant list, on up to include installation (soil prep, purchasing, installation), and annual maintenance.
  • it can help the LA/designer get to know you a bit if you do ‘homework’ before they arrive; for example -
    • cut pictures out of garden magazines that include gardens you find beautiful, plants you love, etc even if you aren't sure the plant will do in this area and/or the space in the photo isn't shaped like your yard. just seeing what is attractive to you can help the person get to know a bit about your aesthetic
    • make a list of plants that you really love and those you really hate, again so the designer gets to know you
    • be prepared to describe some ideas you have, for example
      • how you use the yard (sitting, walking, staring at from inside)
      • whether or not you have dogs to consider
      • whether you like a lot of sun or are trying to create shady space (don't laugh, you takoma-ers)
      • colors you particularly like or hate
    • it can also help a designer:
      • to know where you prefer open spaces or where you are looking for screening
      • to come inside your home and look out the windows with you to see what views might be the most important to you; remember that planning for Fall and winter is IMPORTANT!
  and bottom line - cost aside - you should enjoy the designer and like what you hear; if you do not, move on to someone else.

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