When it comes to curb appeal, a well landscaped property is a top factor. In addition to curb appeal, landscaping can increase the value of your home, improve the functionality of your property, create privacy, and most importantly, improve the quality of life of the people who inhabit it.
But, understandably so, embarking on a landscape project can seem overwhelming at first. In my experience, the key to a successful project is finding the right landscape designer who can take that seemingly overwhelming project and bring your ideas to life. And the best way to do that is by asking the right questions up front to ensure that the firm you hire is the right fit.
Our landscape design team compiled a list of 6 questions that we feel are important to ask potential landscape design firms when determining who to select.
Tip: Before you have an initial meeting with any firms, spend a few minutes jotting down some notes about the vision you have for your property. That way, you can go in with an idea of what you want to get out of the project. Does our landscape currently have plants or hardscaping that you want to remove completely and start new? Is there anything that you like that you want to keep? Are there issues with the functionality that you want the firm to find solutions to? Are there styles of landscape that you would like to incorporate or any that you’d like to stay away from? Taking the time to think through what your goals are will make the initial consultation with potential firms much more advantageous. But don’t worry if you don’t have a clear vision ahead of time. A good landscape designer will guide you through the creative process to ensure that the end result is exactly what you want and need.
It’s important to know whether the firm you choose has the ability to design the landscape only or if they can build and install it as well. The scope of work of a landscaping company can range, so make sure to ask what their capabilities are and the types of experts they have to do the work.
Also, you’ll want to see if they’re experts in the type of work that you’ll be asking of them. For example, if you know that you want a retaining wall in your new landscape, ask about their experience in designing and installing them and request to see examples of their work. It’s beneficial to know whether the firm can do big and small projects – whether that’s revitalizing a small flower bed or adding a retaining wall, water feature, patio, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen.
Beyond the design and installation, another important factor in the firm’s expertise that you should consider is whether they have the capability to maintain your landscaping after the project is complete.
An established landscaping company who has proven themselves as reputable and reliable, will be able to show you examples of their work. Seeing these up front can help you get a feel for their style as it relates to what you want out of the project. The more you see of their portfolio, the more you can envision what their capabilities are and whether you’d be satisfied with the end product. Even better is asking specifically what projects that individual designer was involved in so you know exactly the capabilities of the person you will be working with.
This question cannot be avoided. As you may have guessed, landscaping projects can range, depending on the scope of the project. But a good designer can work within any budget. Luckily, a landscaped property immediately adds value to a property and continues to increase in value as time goes on, since trees, shrubs and perennials get larger and more mature.
Landscapes can also be broken down in phases too, which help with controlling costs. Knowing what you would like to spend at each phase will help determine what those phases look like and what can be completed in the first year, second year, and beyond.
Many homeowners don’t have a clear vision for their yard, and also don’t know the potential their property has. If you have a clear vision, that’s great – a good landscape designer can help bring that to life. However, if you don’t and your vision is unclear, you can allow the designer creative freedom to dream up a space custom to your wants and needs.
After they get to know you, your lifestyle and your property, they will be able to provide you with a 2-dimensional or 3-D design and renderings to give you an overhead view as well as perspective views of a preliminary idea. You should also receive a plant reference document for the specific needs of your yard. This larger scale plan extends from your foundation to the edge of your lot line. With a master plan, you’ll see a to-scale, full-color plan of the area, a packet of plant photos, and the proposal that focuses on your top priorities.
You not only want to know how long your project is going to take from start to finish, but also what that process looks like throughout. The timeline will be heavily dependent on the scope of the project, and the process might change from project to project but most firms typically have a standard process they follow that guides them through what your experience will look like from the initial consultation all the way through the completion. But as the client, you can ask for adjustments or modifications to that process to suite your desires.
If the landscape design firm has the capabilities to design and build your project, you’ll want to know whether your designer will be involved beyond the design phase. Will they oversee the project once it’s passed onto the installation supervisor or does their job stop once the design is approved? Will the designer visit your property during installation to check in and ensure that everything is going according to plan? You’ll want to know the answers to these questions ahead of time to make sure that the initial vision your designer had in mind is being met.
From design to installation, Wright Outdoor Solutions can help you turn your outdoor dreams into reality. We believe your outdoor space, like the inside of your home, should be a reflection of your personality and a place where you can relax, entertain, or both! Learn more about our landscape design and installation process, or get started on your next landscaping project by calling our team at 515.987.0800 or requesting a quote online. Because schedules fill up quickly, we’re always eager to get an initial consultation scheduled and begin designing your custom landscape.