It may seem counterintuitive, but the number one reason you should hire a landscaper designer is to save money. Although It may seem costly at the time, the investment in a good landscape design is only a fraction of what will be spent to improve, maintain, and fix(!) a landscape over the typical 10-20 year period that most people own their homes. It is a detailed document that you own and can be used to intelligently plan any project, large or small. It is particularly useful for obtaining comparable bids from landscape contractors. Careful planning helps you avoid unanticipated expenses and budget overruns.
A good landscape designer will provide a cohesive and detailed plan based on your property, your preferences, and your family’s lifestyle and activities.
Upfront, your designer will be able to assess existing conditions to determine if there are any issues that will create maintenance problems or require expensive fixes down the road. It’s always easier and cheaper to move plant material when it’s smaller rather than larger, and it is certainly cheaper than hiring tree trimmers, year after year. A good designer will spot drainage issues, areas where you will struggle to grow grass, which plants are in the wrong spot for their mature size, and more. A little knowledge goes a long way in avoiding expensive corrections down the road.
And to make a good value even better, a landscape designer will not only assess your existing conditions, they will work with you to create a customized, individualized landscape plan that incorporates your lifestyle and your preferences. A good designer will determine how you will use your landscape, what you want it to look like, and how it can be made the most enjoyable for you and your family. Just as no two people are alike, no two landscapes should be alike either. Do you enjoy a big lawn? Do you like to entertain? Do you like dabbling in flower beds and growing some vegetables? Would you rather just look at something pretty from inside the house? Do you have kids or pets that need spaces of their own? Are there certain plants or colors you like? Do others make you shudder? Are you aiming for curb appeal for a future sale? It is much less expensive and you will be much more satisfied with your landscape if you plan for these things at the outset. Planning for the intended use of your property, rather than haphazard, ill-planned installation projects over the years, saves money.
Also consider that quite a few landscape contractors and maintenance companies lack the time and/or skills to provide detailed, scaled, and personalized plans of your vision. Their specialty, their skill set, and their licensing is for installing and maintaining landscapes, and they’re often very good at it. However, if they do not use a designer, it is not at all uncommon for them to rely on plants that are currently popular or get recommendations from a nursery employee who has never seen your property and then make a guesstimate of how many plants will be needed. What about mature size, potentially blocked views or paths, or future maintenance? The only way to consistently and correctly determine the number of plants to install is to measure, research growth, and plan. Sometimes too many plants are used, which makes the landscape look full and complete in the beginning, but will lead you to the expense of either removing some of the plants later down the road or spending a lot of time keeping them pruned. Conversely, using too few plants results in an unattractive, dotty landscape that keeps you busy pulling weeds and spending endless amounts money on mulch every year.
A professional landscape designer is formally educated in both horticulture and design. In addition, since they most likely eat, breathe, and sleep any topic related to plants and design, they bring a vast amount of knowledge, passion, and creativity to the design table. They will work with you to create an integrated master plan and to select plants and materials appropriate for your property and your budget. They combine artistic principles like form, repetition, balance, and color with an encyclopedic plant knowledge and an attention to detail that ensures your landscape is aesthetically appealing, sustainable, and enjoyable for you and your family for years to come.