Even homeowners with carefully curated and decorated homes probably do not think their home’s outdoor space requires a decorating plan. However, that’s exactly what a landscape designer does, and there are good reasons why landscape design is becoming more popular. An investment in a detailed plan for your garden, using input from a professional, can make all the difference in whether or not your landscaping project is successful and on-budget.
What Does a Landscape Designer Do?
To come up with a beautiful and practical decorating plan for a home or business, an interior designer draws on their expertise in design principles and current landscaping trends, their understanding of their clients’ needs and wishes for the space, and their knowledge of available brands, styles, and materials. Landscape designers do much the same thing, except with outdoor spaces.
Like an interior decorator, a good landscape designer will have a thorough understanding of design principles that allows them to plan an arrangement of plants, open spaces, hard surfaces, paths, water features, and other elements that is visually pleasing.
Landscape designers are also familiar with the plants that will thrive in a given climate and microclimate, and can design an outdoor space so that each plant is located in the ideal spot for its sun, water, soil, and drainage requirements.
In short, a landscape designer is a professional who has the expertise needed to take the clients’ needs and ideas for an outdoor space and turn them into a workable, thoughtful plan that takes into account design principles like unity and harmony as well as what each plant will need to thrive in the landscape.
What’s the Difference Between a Landscaper and a Landscape Designer?
As we mentioned above, a landscape designer draws up a design, or plan, for an outdoor space, in conjunction with the client. A landscape designer will create a plan that describes the planned location of flowers, shrubs, trees, and groundcovers and specifies the location of pathways, path materials, deck and patio areas, pergolas, gazebos, fencing, walls, raised areas, and other landscape features.
A landscaper, on the other hand, is the person or company that will actually implement the landscape plan. A landscaper will be experienced in moving earth, creating drainage, installing pavers, building water features, and anything else necessary to bring the landscape design to life. A full-service landscape designer will stay involved in the actual construction process. This is important as it ensures your landscape design plan is being followed and helps solve any issues that might come up during the implementation of the plan.
How a Landscape Designer Can Save You Money
A landscape design plan created by a professional landscape designer allows the client to visualise the project before a shovel goes into the ground. This means clients are more likely to be happy with the finished product and not require a do-over. It’s a lot less expensive to make changes before, instead of after, something is installed.
Once the design is finalised and approved, everyone involved in the project is on the same page and has the same working drawings. Any deviation from the plan or tough conversations that may derive from those deviations can be settled by referring back to the plan. This keeps the relationship between the landscape contractor and the homeowner intact and helps avoid small claims court, which can be costly and a hassle for all involved. For example, if the landscape plan indicates 1200mm wide walkway and the contractor builds one that is only one metre wide, the contractor must make good on what he agreed to provide.
A design also allows landscape contractors to provide a quote for the project. Without a plan, you will be getting several different prices based on each contractor’s interpretation of your vision for your landscaping. This makes comparing quotes like comparing apples to oranges. A detailed plan, on the other hand, allows for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Landscape designs can also be tailored to your budget. A professional designer knows the price of various landscaping elements and will be able to provide a project budget range based on experience. They may also be able to guide you through the process so that you can determine whether to build the project all at once or phase it in over a few years. A designer also knows how to plan for the installation of elements in phases, which can allow you to spread the investment over time.
The Advantages of Using a Landscape Designer
Besides saving you money (and hassle), there are plenty of other reasons why it’s a wise idea to seek out the services of a landscape designer for your outdoor space. Consider working with a landscape designer if:
- 1. You’re looking to increase your home value. A professionally designed outdoor space is one of the best investments for your home, adding as much as 15 percent to its value over comparable houses. A landscape designer is well equipped to design an outdoor living space that will not only add value but also extend your living space while allowing you to enjoy all that nature has to offer.
- 2. You want to create a cohesive design. A big advantage of hiring a landscape designer is that they are trained to think about landscapes as systems. They will assess your property's problem areas as well as possibilities and create a solid plan that addresses both the big picture and exact details of how your landscape will look.
- 3. You want a low-maintenance garden that uses native plants. One of the most common landscaping requests we get is for a low-maintenance garden. If you want low maintenance, native plants are the way to go and a landscape designer will incorporate them into your landscape design. Native plants reduce water costs and often reduce the need for chemical applications. Insects like bees and butterflies often flourish among them, adding to the natural beauty and creating a feeling of peace and connection with the environment.
- 4. You want an outdoor space that is unique and reflects your style and needs. landscape designer will deliver a finished project that you will not only love but that also complies with regulations and codes. It will be a special place that you and your family and friends will enjoy for years to come and that will be as unique as you are.
- 5. You have ideas but need help turning them into a practical plan. As the client, you know best how you use your outdoor space and how you hope to use it. You may also have ideas about what plants you enjoy and what lighting and other design details would best complement your garden and home. A landscape designer can take those ideas and interpret them using their years of experience into a workable, detailed plan that can be implemented by a landscaper.
- 6. You love plants but don’t know where to start. It’s certainly possible to go to a plant nursery and buy whatever trees, bushes, and flowers you think are attractive for your garden. However, not only will this most likely leave your outdoor space looking haphazard, but it’s also likely that at least some of these plants won’t make it in the long term. A professional landscape designer has horticultural knowledge that can help them make educated suggestions for plants that will thrive in your garden..
- 7. You want to save time. A truly beautiful and thoughtful landscape design takes time and experience to put together. If you don’t want to spend months researching plants, types of pavers, gravel options, and whether you need a permit for your project, turn to the professionals. They will have up-to-date industry knowledge of the most durable, beautiful, and cost-effective materials and processes.
- 8. You want new ideas from a professional. It’s great when clients know what they want, but a landscape designer is a great resource for ideas as well. As a professional in the industry, a landscape designer can show you options during the design process that you may not have considered–or even known were available.
What Makes a Good Landscape Designer?
A great landscape designer will have years of experience designing outdoor spaces, a love of style and design, and a deep knowledge of plants that grow well locally.
Even if a landscape designer meets all these qualifications, however, they may still not be the right choice for you if they aren’t easy to work with and willing to listen to your ideas and desires for your space.
- ● Are they open to incorporating and working with your ideas?
- ● Are they a good listener?
- ● Do they understand the design aesthetic you’re looking for?
- ● Are they willing to work with your budget?
- ● Can they offer expertise to help you refine your ideas?
- ● If you’re interested in native or low-maintenance plants, do they have the knowledge to offer suggestions?
- ● Do they have a portfolio of previous projects?
The right landscape designer will listen and take the time to understand what you’re hoping to get out of your new outdoor space, but will be able to offer their own ideas, too. It’s a good idea to stay open to ideas that you may not have considered before; some of the best landscape designers will push you–just a little–out of your comfort zone to create something truly amazing.
Creating Your Dream Landscape Design
Your dream garden on the Mornington Peninsula can be a reality–but it helps to start with a landscape plan, ideally one designed by a professional. If you’re ready to make your ideal outdoor space a reality, we can help.
Our landscape designers will work with you to discuss your ideas and preferences as well as budget goals, site conditions, and other parameters. Then we’ll create a design brief that will be refined into your master plan, and we’ll provide a detailed quote that ensures there are no surprises during construction.
To speak with a expert about your project, contact us today.