The inside of your home is your escape from the outside world. And as the pandemic has forced us to stay home for the last couple of years, the outdoors has become more and more appealing to many homeowners. Whether you are looking for a silent retreat, a family staycation, or a safer place to entertain guests, a professional landscape design may be the best way to achieve your escape from indoors. Naturally, you may be wondering, “is it worth hiring a landscape architect or designer?” This post will answer that question by discussing what landscape architects and designers do and how to choose one to best fit your needs.

First, it’s important to recognize that landscape designers aren’t gardening contractors. They literally design outdoor spaces to accommodate how people experience and use them. They have studied and are well versed in landscape design principles. Furthermore, landscape design companies with landscape architects have made the extra effort to be licensed experts.

How to find a landscape designer or architect

To find the right landscape design company for your outdoor space, you should prepare to invest some time. Here are some tips for how to find a landscape designer.

  • Ask the Joneses. Recommendations from friends and neighbors who have had good experiences with their landscaping projects are sources that you can trust.
  • Check the listings. Check professional association sites such as The American Society of Landscape Architects Firm Finder and homeowner listservs such as Angi as well as your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Google it. Type in “landscaping design near me” in a search engine and start checking out company websites, reading online reviews and testimonials, and browsing their portfolios. You can tell a lot from a company website. 

How to choose a landscape designer or architect

Once you have a list of companies you want to talk to, there are steps you can take to choose the right landscape designer for your outdoor space.

Do some upfront legwork.

  • Set some goals for what you want out of the new outdoor space. Think about how you will use the space and whether you need it to be low maintenance.
  • Discover what you like. Explore and save images from Pinterest or Houzz that inspire you, and consider visiting local home and garden shows.
  • Set a budget. Once you have some ideas, we recommend making a realistic budget. According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, “one rule of thumb is to start with 5 to 10 percent of your home’s worth.”  Research from Virginia Tech shows that landscapes grow in value over time, so keep in mind that the investment is worth it.

Prepare some questions.

  • Ask the landscape companies to see an in-progress site, so you can see how they care for the property during a project. If you have a lot of work being done, you want to make sure the landscaping company is committed to keeping the site safe and clean.
  • Ask about the timeline and reach out early. Project timelines depend on several factors, including the size and scope of the project, the weather, the supply chain, and unexpected setbacks that may pop up along the way. Keep in mind that demand is high right now (during this pandemic), and many of the best landscape designers are booked up several months out.
  • Ask about permits or if my project will need a professional stamp to get through permitting.

Ask them about their professional credentials.

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • Do they have memberships to professional organizations?    
  • Do they provide any satisfaction guarantees?

That’s everything you need to know about how to choose a landscape designer or architect. The best landscape professionals will take the time to collaborate with you and make sure you understand every step of the process. At Aspen Outdoor Designs, we’ll set you up with an experienced landscape designer who will discuss your needs and wants, interpret them, and work with you to formulate a plan for a living space that suits your personality and lifestyle. With design plans in place, we will schedule our team of highly skilled, specialized crews to turn that vision into your new outdoor space.