When it comes to landscape design, we know the choices are varied and often confusing.
Here is a short list of what you should look for in a Landscape Designer.
1. Professionalism. The biggest mistake a homeowner can make is prioritizing cost over safety and quality. Ask every landscaper if they pay workers compensation. Are they licensed? Do they have insurance? What training and education do they have?
2. An understanding of what is below (AKA, underground) The most important part of the project management will never be seen. This includes the geogrid and the granular backfill of a retaining wall, the sub-base of a patio or driveway and the soil conditions for the properly selected plant material. Your designer should be able to discuss this "hidden" aspect of your project in detail with you. Lack of experience in this aspect is the biggest reason so many patios and hardscapes fail.
3. The ability to create different spaces in the landscape. Your home consists of many rooms, each designed for a different use. Whether a 1/4 acre, or 50 acres, your landscape should be viewed in a similar fashion.
Think of the multitude of uses when planning your landscape, outdoor cooking, pool, bug free entertaining, shaded area of a pergola or shade tree versus the sun tan area on the patio, area for the pets to run as well as the kids to kick the ball, quiet area by a gurgling stream to read a book.
4. Proper sizing for the needs of the homeowner. Proper size for the Looking at a 2-D design or spray paint on the lawn will not give justification until you see the space with all amenities accounted for. For example, an 8 person table and 2 sun chairs can dwarf a 400 sq. ft. patio, if not properly designed for.
Do you have room for some chairs around the firepit? Because although the seat wall surround looks nice, no one really wants to sit on them for more than a couple of minutes. These are usage tips your landscaper should be sharing with you. Knowledge of how to best meld design and functionality is critical.
5. A strong knowledge of material choices. Can your landscape designer price, design and explain the differences between a stamped concrete, brick paver and hand chiseled bluestone patio? Are they familiar with the characteristics of the 50 new plants brought out by Proven Winners, Ball or Norvalis? At The Barn, we personally test many of these new varieties prior to having you make the investment in a non-proven plant for our area.
6. A proven track record. A talented landscape designer will have a list of customer reviews and recommendations and feel comfortable giving you addresses so that you can see their work in the flesh. Ask about customer longevity too; many landscapes are done in phases and a good landscape designer may have worked with clients for decades.
7. A commitment to the industry. Ask about which industry associations the landscape designer belongs to and what certifications they and their staff have. Involvement and dedication to the professionalism of the landscape industry is an indication of an experienced professional.
8. A one stop shop, from start to finish. At The Barn, you work with your designer from start to finish to ensure a smooth project. At your initial meeting, find out who you could be passed off to and what the communication plan is for the project.
At The Barn Nursery, your happiness and a successful landscape project is our goal. Read about one of our recent landscape installations here to get an idea of how we work.