If you have ever had professional landscaping done to your house, then you know that it can be a pricey endeavor. The money to be made in the landscaping business explains the countless number of professional landscaping companies that exist all over the country. But who do you hire? Do you look to a contracting company to do the design and construction, or do you hire a designer and contract the building to the company? Or maybe hire a designer and do the planting yourself? As you can see, just getting the job started can be a confusing issue. As a student currently going for my bachelor’s degree in landscape horticulture, I will do my best to explain the most efficient, cost effective way to go about the process of landscaping your property.
Many people just decide to hire a company that does the entire process; design, construction, and planting. But this is usually not the best way to go. The main reason for this is because most landscape companies are very weak in the design department, if they even have a designer at all. It is true that a company that has access to heavy machinery is necessary to do things like level the ground or move large boulders, but a good designer is trained to work with the landscape, and can often save the client thousands of dollars by avoiding large costly tasks like this and using the landscape to your advantage. A landscape designer or architect knows how to work with the landscape to create larger spaces, shade parts of the house, block wind, and use different shapes, textures, colors, retaining walls and locations of certain plants to create a more soothing environment. This is something that the average landscape contractor does not know, and it almost always shows in the final design.
Trained designers go through an entire design process that includes multiple drawings, each consecutive one becoming more detailed. This allows both the designer and the customer to know what the landscape will look like before planting or construction is even started. This also allows the customer to change different things that they don’t like before it is too late.
I previously worked for a landscaping company and they didn’t have a trained designer, or even make any drawings for that matter. We were working on a patio in a back yard which took 6 days to complete. After we were finally done, the owner explained how he planned to buy a hot tub to put on the patio. The problem was, in order to put something as heavy as a this on a patio, the dirt under the pavers has to be packed down enough to allow for the extra weight, which was not done because we were unaware of his plans. This would not have happened if the company had a trained landscape designer, because he or she would have asked if the customer had planned to put a hot tub on the patio. It is part of the design process which you can see is necessary for situations exactly like this.
The most important thing to know is whether you do the planting yourself or contract that out to a landscaping company, it is best to hire a designer or architect with a degree in the field for the design, because not only will it look much better in the end, but it may even save you money and a headache.