Starting a new garden or renovating an old one can both be exciting and a bit intimidating. The exciting part knows that you will be creating a wonderful extension of your living areas to the outside world. The possibilities for creating your own piece of paradise can send your mind reeling with ideas. This can also be the cause of feeling intimidated as you ask yourself, where on earth do I begin, and once begun where do I stop?
One solution is to have a professional help you out. With a well-drawn up design you will have in your hands a blue print for where to start and finish. Even if you want to do much of the work yourself, a landscape professional can help out with some of the complex, specific tasks that might be beyond your skill level.
There are many types of landscape professionals with different titles, all found in the phone book. Just trying to pick out someone from the long list of names can be intimidating. One of the best sources of information is word of mouth from friends or neighbors. They might be able to tell you who did their yard, and the level of satisfaction they felt. When interviewing landscape professionals it would be wise to ask for references from satisfied customers.
There are different types of landscape professionals, starting with landscape architect. Landscape architects have a degree in their field, are licensed and are trained to design both commercial and residential landscapes. They can provide consultations and draw up designs for a fee, which may be hourly or a flat rate sum.
Landscape designers are generally more numerous than architects since they do not have a degree or a license. Many are very skilled and have years of experience. Landscape designers generally limit themselves to residential designs.
Landscape contractors have to be licensed by the state contractor’s license board. Many do design work themselves, while others do the installation of designs that architects or landscape designers have drawn up. Landscape contractors are the only professionals that can bid installation jobs over $500. Get references and check out work they have done for other people. Good contractors are proud of the work that they do and are eager to show past work they have done.
Retail nurseries often have skilled designers and consultants available. They can also recommend contractors, architects, and designers. Since garden centers depend of repeat business, they are usually careful to recommend professionals who do good work that will reflect well on the garden center.
Gardeners require no special training. They may do planting, and highly skilled maintenance, or simply “mow and blow.” When dong installations, regular gardeners are not allowed to bid on a job higher than $500. They can, however, work by the hour and complete a job that eventually costs more than $500.
Often a consultation is the first step to a new landscape. Generally, consultations are charged by the hour. You will then find out if designs will need to be drawn up, or proceed with the installations based on notes from the consultation. If you have a design drawn up, you can do the work yourself or have a landscape contractor or gardener take the design and do the installation themselves.
When you are working in the garden, it’s nice to know that there are various professionals available to guide you if you need the arises. Use your instincts and list of satisfied clients to help you choose the right professional for your needs.