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7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Landscape Designer

Landscaping is hard work, and because your yard plays such a large part in your home's curb appeal, there is not much room for error.


Is the resale value in your mind? No prospective buyer wants to wander through the jungle to enter the front door—or to ponder the amount of work involved in taming a mess of overgrown plants.


Are you going to sit in your house for a while? How much work are you willing and able) to do in your yard? If you're a professional landscape maintenance might not be high on your list of enjoyable things to do in your precious spare time.


If you're moving or staying, your best choice is to look at a reputable landscape firm. The pros have the skills, the facilities, and the experience to develop your dream yard. Keep reading to learn more about it!


What services are you offering?

First and foremost, determine what services a landscape designer offers to see if he or she is the right person for your project. The best question a potential client can ask is Are you experienced in the scope of work that we want and can you design and manage it?


In general, landscape designers fall into one of three groups, depending on the services they offer:

  • Design only -  Some designers only specialize in the design process. This normally involves an overview of the site and a review of the client's requirements, a preliminary design, revisions based on your input, and a final comprehensive master plan for your garden. This thorough planting plan and building document is then handed over to you or the land contractor of your choice) to take it from there.

  • Design-build -  Others provide the design service mentioned above, as well as the management of the purchase of the plant and all installations. Contractors are required to allow and install hardscape—often the landscape designer is also a registered contractor, and sometimes they have landscape contractors on their team or others to recommend and supervise.

  • Full service  design and maintenance - For the highest-touch service, some landscaping designers can provide all of the above, including the ongoing maintenance of the garden.


Do you understand my vision?

Your landscape contractor should take the time to speak to you about what your dream yard looks like as well as your budget and how much maintenance you're prepared to do.


Share photos of yards and landscape projects that you especially admire, as these images will help you to explain what you have in mind. After collecting this important information, your contractor will prepare a rendering—a scale drawing of your house, any outdoor living structures, and all current and new plantings—of what your new yard will look like. Your landscape contractor can describe this to you in depth to make sure you are both on the same page.


May I see any examples of your past work?

Consider the designer's style in relation to the garden you like. If you're looking for a new, clean-lined city garden, have they planned one before? Or if you're looking for a cottage-style greenhouse, do they have the plant knowledge to deliver? ”


Alternatively, if a designer's portfolio doesn't contain the exact style you're looking for, check out his or her proof of training to make the vision of your garden a reality. Degrees from approved landscape design colleges and membership of technical organizations are also strong measures.


How long do you expect the length of the whole project?

Much like any other home improvement project, unexpected issues and bad weather are always a possibility, so completion dates for landscaping projects can be difficult to pin down. Be sure to let your contractor know if you have any deadlines at your end—a party that you're having in your backyard, for example—but be aware of schedule-altering activities that no one can monitor.


What are the projected costs?

Clear communication on the approximate cost of the project and on your budget is important. Ask your designer for a range of costs for both design and installation. Most of the construction estimates are drawn up by the contractor on the basis of the cost per square foot of the hardscape installation areas outlined in the yard plan.


Scott shares another key question for your designer: "How are the scope changes treated during the design and implementation process? "Because unanticipated design changes frequently arise in the mid-project, it is important to know if the contractor may charge extra fees for the time it takes to change the design plan or implementation.


When is the garden going to grow in?

The time it takes for a garden to grow depends on the scale of the design, what types of plants are proposed and how mature the plants are when they are planted. A smaller area with ornamental grasses and perennials may grow in a single season, but larger and more complex patterns with trees and large shrubs may take years to reach maturity. Ask your designer which plants make sense for semi-mature specimens (like focal-point trees or shrubs required for screening) and which plants can be bought small and easily filled in (like most ground covers, vegetables and ornamental grasses).


Who am I supposed to contact if I find a problem?

Make sure you know the name of the foreman of your crew and his contact details. If something seems out of place throughout the installation of the landscape, don't hesitate to speak up.

Are You Considering Hardscape for your Front Yard or Backyard? 

At DPG Pavers and Design, we’ve been providing our customers with specialized Landscape and Hardscape Design and Build services for over 30 years. DPG Pavers and Design, headquartered in Walnut Creek, California is the best curb-appeal and outdoor living space designer and installer in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Appearing on HGTV’s Curb Appeal and featured on Discovery Channel’s program Renovation Nation, our team of skilled designers and landscape engineers provides top-quality service and professionalism our customers love.  DPG Pavers and Design offers 2-D and 3-D conceptual home and landscape design plans that allow you to visualize your dream space and make that dream-concept a reality. If you are considering hard landscaping projects (like interlocking concrete pavers) that cover the entirety of your yard contact DPG Pavers and Design to schedule your free consultation today!

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