When your goal is for your outdoor living spaces to be as beautiful as your home's interior, it pays to work with a professional. Landscape architects train for years to learn the art of creating visually interesting and meaningful open-air spaces that enhance the environment and promote well being in people.
"Landscape architects have the unique ability to combine environmental factors, clients needs and material choices to create personal and functional outdoor spaces."
Together, you can turn your property into your own personal oasis that helps you forget about the cares of the world.
Landscape architecture is nothing new – in fact, as a profession it has been common for over 100 years. Central Park in New York was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Earlier still there was landscape architect André Le Nôtre, who created the gorgeous gardens at the palace of Versailles.
Today, a landscape architect must have a state license and will have trained extensively not only in the design, arrangement, and construction of land and water elements but also in the architecture of what is known as hardscape – pools, fountains, arbors, and retaining walls.
If you're wondering what makes these professionals such an important part of developing a cohesive landscape, you aren't alone. Many homeowners who would never consider having a home built without an architect assume they can DIY the simpler elements of yards and gardens and work directly with contractors on more complex things like water features. But there are many reasons to work with a landscape architect on outdoor projects – even smaller ones. Here are just a few:
Landscape Architects Look at the Big Picture
Because landscape architects aren't focused solely on botanicals, they are able to look at your yard as a whole. They assess how different areas of your property are currently used and how you wish they were used, as well as environmental concerns, style preferences, and budget. Unlike contractors who have a direct interest in the cost of the project, landscape architects don't have financial ties to workers and are more likely to recommend plants, materials, and features that are in your best interests.
They Bring Artistry to Your Project
Landscape architects' training includes the history of garden design as well as environmental and materials-based education. Together, these elements can help you work together to develop a unique landscape that unites the historic and the modern, the eye-catching and the eco-friendly. Additionally, landscape architects may have access to materials and methods that are too new or too unusual to find easily as a consumer but perfect for your project.
And a Finished Look or a Plan for the Future
Your landscape architect can help you create a short or long term plan of transformations that turn your visions into reality now or gradually over time. This is particularly important for those of us prone to attempting DIY projects outdoors or anyone with grand outdoor improvement plans and no budget to take them all the way to completion. For instance, without a plan, the patio you install now may make integrating lighting into outdoor living spaces much more difficult down the road. A landscape architect can draw up plans that include a nod to future improvements with optimized construction sequencing. Sara, who is also a landscape designer and contractor, says that a good landscape architect will be able to see your space beyond its current limitations to make the best use of the land.
The Hidden Costs of Going Without
Working with a landscape architect costs money but you may find you save money in the long term because your outdoor improvement plans are more logical and more cohesive, and your architect can help you maximize your budget. They can also save you money throughout the process by bidding the installation and construction with several highly qualified landscape contractors, ultimately driving down the price.
In the end, working with a landscape architect can be the deciding factor – are your outdoor living spaces simply comfortable or are they extraordinary? For the ultra handy, DIY can work and for some projects a designer is sufficient but when what you want is a complete landscape transformation then a landscape architect is a must-have.
As the Director of Technical and Training, Jeff Tew is an invaluable thought leader and resource for trade professionals. With more than 25 years of career experience in Manufactured Stone Veneer (MSV), he works with masons, builders, architects, and others in the construction industry to help design and build beautiful projects. As a firm believer in MSV as one of the industry's most efficient and resilient materials, Jeff knows it can be used to define unique and captivating spaces and buildings through proper planning, detailing and testing. Drawing on his experiences as a contractor during trainings and consultations, Jeff focuses on helping pros build healthy wall systems using MSV while meeting building code requirements and working safely on residential and commercial job sites all across North America.