choosing the right landscape designer

Guide To Working With The Right Landscape Designer: Part 3

Top 4 Questions To Ask About Your New Landscape

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Designs

 

Congratulations on your newly installed landscape! You asked the right questions before hiring your landscape designer and you asked the right questions during the project but now that the project has been completed, what’s next? Every landscape design client has questions regarding their new plant material and hardscapes. We believe that there is no such thing as a silly question, so ask away! As landscape designers, we want to see your new design flourish for years to come.  Here are the top questions we recommend you ask regarding your new outdoor space:

Top: Initial Installation, Bottom: 1 year later

Top: Initial Installation, Bottom: 1 year later

1. How long will it take for the garden to fill in? When a new garden is installed, the plant material used seems to look small but there is a reason for that. Designers take into account the mature size of the plant and plan for the space it needs to grow. Each plant has a different growth rate, some ornamental grasses and perennials can grow in within a single season but larger woody material such as trees and shrubs can take some time to fill in. We can say that the year following your landscape installation will absolutely look more incredible than it did when it was first installed. Be sure to ask your designer how long they believe it will take for the areas in your landscape to grow in, that way you will have an estimated timeline.

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2. How much maintenance do my new plants require? Different plants require different levels of maintenance and maintenance depends on how much time you are willing to commit to your garden. Some companies offer maintenance services which are at your disposal and if they do not offer those services, you can ask for recommendations. For “the do it yourselfers” make sure to ask about the maintenance requirements for the plant materials used on your property. Proper maintenance and care results in happy, healthy and well-established plants.

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3. When and how often should I water my new plants? Similar to maintenance practices, watering routines vary from plant to plant. Some like wet feet, others prefer dry soil and some are in between. Request the watering requirements for your plant materials from your designer – this will help to ensure their success going forward. If you do not have an irrigation system, ask if they would recommend having one installed or for suggestions on alternative watering methods. Make sure to ask how often you should water – typically the best time to water your garden and turf is early in the morning and around dusk. New plants do require more water as opposed to plants that are already established.

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4. How do I handle weeds in my new garden? Weeds are an incredibly common problem in every garden and they can take away from the beauty of the design. You can ask your designer for recommendations on how to control them. From our standpoint, preventative measures work the best – there are pre-emergent weed control applications that you can apply in your garden (organic as well). Although it seems like a lot of work, pulling weeds out as they appear will help to keep your garden in top shape.

 

Working through a landscape design and installation process can be difficult…but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes down to it, asking the right questions at the right times will make all the difference! Using our simple to follow 3 part guide will absolutely make your project go smoothly and your experience much more relaxing and enjoyable. Being on the same page as your designer, not holding in any questions you might have and gaining knowledge about your landscape will help you to keep your garden in tip top shape for many years to come! 

 

http://www.foxnews.com/real-estate/2017/04/07/10-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-landscape-designer.html

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. 

Guide To Working With The Right Landscape Designer: Part 1

Top 4 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Landscape Designer

By: Lauren M. Liff for Dabah Landscape Design

 

         Transforming your property into a beautiful work of art can be an incredibly exciting endeavor and even more so if the entire process goes smoothly. When making the decision to hire a landscape designer you want to make sure you avoid any surprises that may pop up mid-project as much as possible. To avoid such instances, you want to raise the right questions prior to beginning and throughout the duration of your project. Before you even begin your search for a landscape designer, you want to make sure you know what you are looking to have done. It helps to walk around your property and write down a “wish list” so to speak, of projects you would like to have completed. Make a list of projects you yourself would like to complete and which projects you would prefer to have a professional do. Writing out your thoughts and ideas will help give you a clear sense of what you want to have done before speaking to a professional. Once you’ve found landscape designers that you would like to contact, asking the following 4 questions will make sure that you end up hiring the right person for the job.

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1. What services do you offer? You want to make sure that the landscape designer you are thinking of hiring can provide you with the services you are looking for. Landscape designers fall into one of three categories: design only, design-build and full service design-build-maintain. Knowing what services a company offers will help you chose the one that is best suited for your project.

2. Can I see examples of your past work? If you are looking for your property to have a certain style, you want to make sure that the landscape designer has worked on other projects with that same style. You want to hire someone who can bring your dream landscape to life and have it be everything you envisioned and more.

3. Is work done in house or is it subcontracted out? It’s always good to find out who is actually going to be completing the project. Some landscape designers use subcontractors for certain aspects of the job such as hardscape installation or carpentry features. It’s best to work with a company who will be in control of every phase of the job – if the landscape designer uses a subcontractor, if that person has a problem it could throw off the entire job.

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4. What is your process? A landscape designer’s process will depend on what services the company offers. Understanding the process of completing your project will allow you to know what to expect throughout the duration of your job. You also want to be honest with the designer about your budget – setting a budget up front is incredibly important because it will tell the designer not that they need to spend the entire budget, but what they can accomplish within the set budget.

 

         You want to find a landscape designer who can help you to bring your landscape vision to life – someone who can complete the job within your budget without skimping on the creativity. Asking these questions first will give you that leg up on your project and better prepare you for the entire process. A well-designed and maintained landscape can increase your property value by at least 20%. With an investment like that, you absolutely want to be sure you are getting your dream landscape from a design professional who will provide you with exceptional service from start to finish.

 

Guide to working with the right landscape designer: Part 2

 

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