Whether your yard is a blank slate that needs form and color or a hot mess that needs to be re-imagined and refurbished, a landscape designer can help. How do you find the right person for the job?
First, look for someone who has training in the field, is certified and has experience, suggests Gardens of Babylon’s co-owner Matt Kerske. “A designer learns to become a great designer by seeing finished designs and learning from them.” A landscape architect is also schooled in handling drainage issues, hardscape elements and other structural changes.
Consider the scale of your ideas and ask to see projects in the designer’s portfolio to determine the level and type of work they do. Some designers only provide a concept and final plan, and may suggest installers; others offer start-to-finish design and installation. Think about whether you want design only, or if yours is to be a design-and-install project.
You + Landscape Designer = Working Together
It’s important for the designer’s and client’s visions to align from the beginning, and as a client, you can help the designer get a feel for your style by sharing pictures of landscapes you like, or showing photos of your interior spaces.
Then it’s good to establish priorities. “I like to call them the needs and the wants in the beginning,” Matt says. A good designer can help define and adjust priorities, and will discuss what’s most important in considering a finished plan. Once work has begun, any revisions may cause delays and frustrations.
Consider the cost
For many clients, the budget is the really big consideration, Matt says. “It’s really common that people are not aware of what a lot of landscape elements cost.”
When the client has an idea at the beginning of the process of how much they can spend, the designer and client can work together to establish the scope of the work to be done. When the designer knows the budget boundaries, it’s easier to establish a realistic idea of what can be accomplished. This may mean choosing similar materials and finishes in a lower price range, for example, to achieve a client’s goal, so it’s important for the designer to have a sense of what a typical project can usually cost.
“It comes down to money, and value, for the client,” Matt says. “A designer wants to make sure the client is getting a good value for what they are expecting. This helps the customer establish priorities.”
Getting it done
Gardens of Babylon is a design/build company that works with clients from concept plan to final draft on the design end, and a project team that installs the landscape elements and plantings based on the design. The design/project team works with the client in choosing materials and plantings, and discusses any possible adjustments or modifications and their accompanying costs that may arise. “We make sure there are no hidden fees, and see the project from start to finish,” Matt says.
Designers on the staff have worked to develop a creative list of plants that are appropriate for the Middle Tennessee climate, and hardscape items that are time tested and durable. “Our firm has more than 15 years of experience and we’re very practical on our designs. That’s a great asset when it comes to ease and efficiency of the overall project.”
If you’re interested in speaking to designer about a new landscape project, click here to select a time for a free phone consultation.