Before You Hire a Landscape Designer – Ask These Questions

March 19th, 2018      Posted By: Ashwin Iyer

Humans are always driven by designs. This is also true for landscapes also. No matter if it is a residential or a commercial complex, it can be given a nice uplift by landscaping. But, landscaping demands considering wide varieties of elements and that is not possible for the common man to do successfully. This calls […]

Humans are always driven by designs. This is also true for landscapes also. No matter if it is a residential or a commercial complex, it can be given a nice uplift by landscaping. But, landscaping demands considering wide varieties of elements and that is not possible for the common man to do successfully. This calls for engaging the professional landscaping designers.

Up to this, it is okay. You know that you have to do landscaping and hire professionals for that. But, choosing the right professional designer is essential, necessary and vital to avoid surprises while the job is halfway through.

Landscaping is a tricky job. No single solution fits all requirements. As such, you must have discussions with the potential landscaper before you entrust the job to him. This requires putting the ducks in a row first. That is to say; you must list your every requirement on paper, and also note down the preferences.

Once this is done, you have a bright idea of the requirements and the time is ripe for engaging a landscaping professional. But, before you do so, you should ask the following questions while interviewing them

1. What is their scope of work?

Knowing the scope of work is essential to check if they would fit the requirements of a particular project. Some of them only design the landscape by analyzing the site and getting feedback from the clients and their job is limited to handing over the final plan. There are others who go one step further and oversees purchasing and implementation. The full-service landscape designers do everything from planning to installation and maintenance. Be sure that their job nature fits your requirement.

2. If there is a valid license?

Ask if they are holding a valid license with the state for every job they propose to do. Also, ask if they have contractors with valid licenses in their team.

3. Do they have insurance coverage?

Landscapers are required to handle heavy trees, plants and operating machinery for completing the landscaping project. Check if they are fully insured to do such jobs, before entrusting the project. This will relieve you from unwanted hassles afterward.

4. What is their tenure in the business?

You should make sure that they have the right exposure in the field. Look for their credentials and check their portfolio if that includes the particular type of landscaping project you want to do. You should be sure that they do not promise more than what they can deliver in reality. Checking for degrees from accredited colleges and membership of professional organizations is a good indicator of credibility.

5. What is their idea of the proposed project?

Once you have discussed the project and handed over the list of requirements made, the landscape designer should be taken around the property for an overall view. At this stage, they should be able to visualize the project and submit their ideas. Modern landscape designers do this with the help of CAD design. You should also point out the changes to be made and ask for a revised plan.

6. Who selects the landscaping Material?

Decorative plants and trees are mostly straightforward. But there are other hardscape requirements such as pebbles and color stones. The landscape designer has to ensure that they pick the right types and colors so that the desired impact is obtained.

7. What would be the exact process?

The process followed by the designers much influence the success of the landscape designs. As a user, you have every right to know if they would be responsible for each step of the project from origin to finish.

8. What would the project cost?

Ask about the estimated cost of the project. Also, ensure what the chance of sticking to the budget and what would be the additional cost in case some changes become necessary when the project is underway is. There should be clear communication on these points before the project is undertaken.

9. What guarantee would they offer?

Established landscape designers provide a guarantee of at least two years for the jobs done. Enquire specifically what guarantee the landscape designer will offer. Also, ask for separate warranties for the trees and plants.

10. What will be the completion time?

As many factors affect completion of a landscaping project including the availability of the trees and plants, weather conditions, installation of the hardware, etc. A time frame and not a fixed date must be obtained from the landscape designers.

11. Who looks after the maintenance?

Different landscape designs require different maintenance procedures. You should ask the landscape designer, whether they would take care of the maintenance. Alternatively, also enquire if they can recommend professional gardener for doing the job and what would be the cost involved in keeping it shining.

12. If they would include faux greens instead?

Including artificial plants and trees in residential and commercial landscapes is the best alternative to using live plants. If you are not a green thumb, using faux plants gives total relief from the trouble of watering, fertilizing, and spraying of pesticide to keep the live plants flourishing. Thus, there would be a huge saving of time, cost, and effort. The fake greens have passed through many evolutions in the past decades. They are now made so lifelike that it is impossible to distinguish the fake palm trees from the live ones.

These are better than the live plants on many counts. Available in customized varieties they can fit any landscaping project. They never grow out of shape and also do not outgrow the space resulting any pruning and trimming cost. Moreover, as these do not die, no replacement is required. Unlike the live plants, these do not need any growing time and continue to adorn the garden from the day one. Since these do not attract insects, they deliver safe environment. You must ask the landscape designer about the modified cost of landscaping with fake greens.