Landscape architecture will enhance any property, and choosing the right landscaping to give your property the perfect look takes a bit of creativity and savvy. But finding the right professional to get that perfect landscape architecture for your big project can often be challenging. Aspects such as budgetary restraints, experience and the type of project can all have an impact on finding the landscape architect that’s right for you.
Here are eight things to consider when choosing a landscape architect.
When to Hire a Landscape Architecture specialist
A landscape architect is necessary when the project must comply with municipal or state rules, regulations and ordinances. Typically, a landscape architect will be necessary when a drawing endorsed by a licensed landscape architect is a requirement. If retaining walls are part of the landscape architecture, the walls will need to be designed and approved by an architect or civil or structural engineer, depending on the type and height of the wall.
A site that has sensitive issues such as working in a floodplain or protected wetlands or perhaps altering a public right of way may require a plan with a landscape architect’s endorsement. Regulations that go along with such design intricacies will often be more stringent.
It is important to choose a landscape architect that has local experience, especially if municipal zoning, planning and construction regulations are involved. Quite often, the architect must work with municipal officials in the permitting process and the process will be more efficient if the architect has a working knowledge of the regulations. It is important their landscape architecture experience includes working on projects like yours. An architect will always have a portfolio of their work to show prospective clients, and they will be willing to provide references upon request. Review the portfolio with them and ask about design features that may be eye-catching or similar in goals to yours.
Always choose a landscape architect that holds a valid and professional license in landscape architecture. That assures clients they have the necessary education and experience to do the job. They have demonstrated their know-how and expertise about landscape architecture including selection, installation and management of landscape materials.
A sign of a good landscape architecture specialist is they listen to your desires for the project. Their input will prove invaluable when it comes to the final design, as they will be able to translate your ideas into a project that is manageable, within budget and construction-worthy. The nicest landscape design in the world is useless if construction proves to be difficult.
Meeting the landscape architect in person is essential in the choice process. Ask them to describe their work and philosophy behind their design methods, as well as their background. That will give you an idea of their approach to landscape architecture. This type of conversation will help establish trust between the client and landscape architect.
Site Meeting: It is important the landscape architect visit the site for an initial site inspection and discussion about the goals for the project. It is at this meeting where they will be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. It is important both sides be flexible to some degree to help establish a positive working relationship.
Be realistic about the landscape architecture budget and put that number on the table during the initial discussion. Most reliable landscape architects will be candid about your budget and the design features they can include for the cost. A reliable landscape architecture specialist will never try to upsell the project for a bigger slice of the pie.
Your own values can have a major impact on the type of landscape architecture you choose as well as how you would like to see it implemented. Hiring a landscape architect who has similar values often leads to the finished product aligning closely to what you had originally envisioned. According to houzz, “What do you value? Get clarity on your values so you can find a landscape architect who shares them and has an aligned design philosophy. Do you value high-end design and upscale materials? Native plants and drought-tolerant gardens? Edible landscapes? A funky, playful garden space for your family? There is a landscape architect out there who specializes in what you value, and your best bet is to find that person or company.”
Put together a shortlist of potential candidates and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your project in person on-site. In this meeting discuss the scope of the project and aspects which may qualify them for the project. Qualifications may include experience with a similar type of project in the past, references from previous clients and their overall portfolio. Another method of narrowing down candidates is to ask for a reference from a friend, family member or co-worker who has hired a landscape architecture specialist in the past.
Why go through the arduous selection process? Because good landscape architecture will save you money in the long run.
The Perfect Landscape Architecture Will Save you Money
The United States Department of Energy projects that energy costs will increase slightly by 2019. You have probably already installed low-wattage light bulbs inside and have taken steps to use less energy inside. So, what else can you do? You can call us, your local landscape designer who understands how to reduce energy costs by strategic landscaping.
Will planting the right trees for shade actually change your energy costs? Yes, in fact, here is what the Energy Department tells us.
Savings Pays Off
The Energy Department estimates that strategically planned landscape architecture can reduce energy costs and pay for itself in eight years. When our team meets with you, we will talk about your goals and will talk options that could reduce that eight years so you realize savings even sooner.
When our team comes to your property, we will be evaluating where and when the sun hits your building. We will then give you several options of trees that provide shade during the summer months. Strategically planting trees can reduce the temperature of your building by 6 degrees. The Energy Department estimates that air conditioning use is reduced up to 50 percent when trees are used to shade a building. In order for you to have these savings, we will talk about trees that have crowns closer to the ground to protect from afternoon sun or trees that have higher crowns to protect from the mid-morning sun.
As part of our recommendations, we will discuss other plants that can be planted where the hotter winds blow. Having plants in the path of the wind is an easy way to cool the hot wind before it reaches your building. This does not mean you need to cover your building in plants. It means having some strategically placed ground cover to cool the hot winds and some trees to provide shade and breeze.
While trees can reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer, having the right tree can also help your heating bill. We will discuss the various types of trees that lose their leaves in the fall so you can take advantage of the sun during the fall and winter months. As part of this discussion, we will also talk about how fast trees grow and how high each tree will grow. You do not want to block your business, and you want the right tree to enhance the look of your business landscaping.
If your building is frequently hit by the cold winter winds, we will give you a plan for a windbreak. According to the Energy Department, a strategically placed windbreak can reduce your winter energy consumption by up to 40 percent. The key is planting evergreen trees and shrubs so they block the wind, provide a buffer zone near the building, and block snow from forming drifts around the building.
As you can see, the right landscape architecture can reduce your energy costs. But, you need the right mixture of trees and evergreen and you need these placed so they enhance your landscaping instead of making your building feel closed in and cluttered.
How can you take advantage of trees and reduce your energy costs? Just contact us. What will we do? We will come to look at your landscaping and discuss several options that will enhance your landscaping and at the same time help you reduce energy costs. We will also give you a free estimate of the initial cost and will give you an estimate of helping you maintain your landscaping for years to come. Our team will also discuss the timing of planting new trees, flowers, and shrubs so your new landscape thrives. So why wait, call us and let’s get started today.