Guide To Working With The Right Landscape Designer: Part 2

Top 4 Questions To Ask About Your Landscape Design Project

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

         You’ve hired a landscape designer and you're bursting with excitement as images of picturesque gardens float through your mind. The anticipation of the beauty of your completed project builds, but then your mind starts to wander. What if something goes wrong? You asked the right questions before hiring your landscape designer, but what’s next? If you’ve never worked with a landscape designer before, you want to make sure the right questions are raised during your project. Here are the top questions to ask once you’ve hired your landscape designer, before the first shovel hits the ground:

1. What are your ideas for our design? Once you have discussed your “wish list” with your designer, and they have had a chance to take a look at the property, you want to find out what their ideas are for your garden. Designers can present their designs to you in a number of ways: a collage-style mood board with pictures of plants and other features, a two-dimensional/to-scale drawing created with a CAD program, a 3D rendering or a hand drawn to-scale blueprint of the design. When the design is presented to you, make sure everything on your wish list is depicted and voice your opinion throughout the design project.

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2. What is the estimated cost of our project? Finding out the estimated cost of your project is key when it comes to your budget. Since you’ve set a budget before beginning this phase of the project, you know how much you are willing to spend. Be sure to ask for the estimated cost of the design as well as the installation. You also want to ask how changes to the project during the installation will be handled – these are called “add ons”. It is important to know how add-ons will effect the total cost of the project as designed changes do often arise during the installation.

3. What can we do to reduce the cost? Hardscape installations such as pathways, patios, decks and retaining walls are typically more expensive than softscape installations (plant material). So sufficed to say, the more hardscapes in the design the more costly the project will be. Materials used for hardscape installations vary greatly for the product as well as the installation – be sure to discuss with your designer ways to reduce the cost of the project to stay within your budget. Designers will be able to provide you with options that can save you money without losing any of the creativity of the design.

4. How long will it take for the project to be completed? The time it takes for a project to go from the design phase to the installation phase and then to completion varies on a number of factors. The size and scope of the job, acquiring the necessary materials and plants, weather and other set backs all play a part in how long the project will take to be completed. There is no way to guarantee an exact completion date due to these factors, but you can ask the designer for an estimated date range for when the installation will be finished. Remember, quality designs and installations take careful planning and time. Patience is key in this process.

         Keeping these questions in mind throughout the design process will allow you to be sure-footed in your decision. You always want to be on the same page as your landscape designer to avoid miscommunications that could lead to errors in the installation process. When it comes to making sure that the professional design is what you had envisioned for your property, you want to keep an open line of communication between yourself and the designer. Asking these questions will allow you to do just that, as well as allow for a smooth design phase and an easy transition into the installation phase.