Do You Need to Hire a Landscape Designer? Read This First

home landscape designers

Landscape design can enhance your property’s appearance and add value to your home. If you want to make your garden a showpiece, you’ll need expert help.

Include strong references that can vouch for your ability to create captivating outdoor spaces and manage projects effectively. These could be clients or bosses from past jobs.

Site Analysis

When designing a home landscape, it is important to do an extensive site analysis. This step is the foundation for the design process. It considers the climatic, geographical, historical, legal, and infrastructural context of the project. It includes a collection of information and a graphical summary that will form the basis for environment-related strategies to be developed during the design process. A thorough site analysis can save time, money and headaches later in the design process.

The goal of the site analysis is to look at the existing site and determine what works, what doesn’t, and how best to improve the landscape. During this stage, the designer will consider the site’s natural features (topography, soil type, water sources), topography, vegetation, and existing structures. It is also important to note any restrictions on the site, such as zoning requirements or building constraints.

The final product of the site analysis should include a map and a diagram. The map will be a base plan that includes the property lines, house footprint and outline, existing paving, and plants. The diagram will be a guide that shows how the existing spaces work together or conflict with each other. For example, a dog pen and garden area may be incompatible spaces when located next to each other. Having this visual reference can help the designer come up with new ideas to solve these conflicts.

Other elements to consider during the site analysis are climatic factors such as sun paths and prevailing winds, water quality, and activities in the neighborhood that could influence wind patterns and traffic flow. The designer will also need to determine the architectural style and state of repair of surrounding buildings.

It is also a good idea to observe the site through several seasons so that the designer can see how the plantings change over time. This will also provide an opportunity to assess the condition of trees and shrubs, as well as ponds, patios and decks. This is especially important in areas that experience extreme weather conditions. It is also a good time to note the soil conditions as they change throughout the year, as this can have an effect on the selection of appropriate plants for the site.

Design Concepts

The designer creates a design that works with the house and site conditions, taking into account factors such as slope, soil condition, rainfall and sunlight. A guiding idea for the overall landscape concept is also developed. The idea can be in the form of an approach, style or theme. An example would be a garden journey that guides guests to the front door in a way that is pleasant and welcoming.

The resulting landscape plan is usually drawn to scale and includes features such as existing plants, buildings, water faucets, utility meters, fences and other structures. The location of aboveground and belowground utility lines is recorded as well. A map of the property is also drawn to locate any existing features and highlight those that will be removed as part of the new landscape.

Home landscape designers often use standard symbols to represent the kinds of trees, shrubs and other plantings in a landscape design. The symbols may have a geometric (square and rectangle), naturalistic (round or oval) or curvilinear shape. The designer also takes into consideration the mature size of plants, so that they are appropriate for the site.

In addition to aesthetics, a home landscape design should be easy to maintain. This can be achieved by using native plants and grasses that are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. These plants are more resilient and do not require as much maintenance to keep them looking their best from season to season.

A properly designed home landscape can help to save energy and reduce carbon emissions by shading the house and reducing heat gain during hot summer months. The plantings also provide a natural barrier to wind, noise and pollution, and a habitat for wildlife.

The right landscape can also enhance the quality of your indoor air. The presence of lush vegetation can naturally purify the air by absorbing pollutants and chemicals, which can be harmful to people and pets. This is particularly important in areas near roads and industrial sites.

Plant Selection

Landscape plants can create a wide variety of aesthetic effects. They can be used to complement or contrast with architecture, hardscape materials, and existing vegetation in color, form, or texture. They can also be used to define outdoor spaces and create a sense of organization. In addition, landscape plants can reduce noise and pollution from nearby businesses, add value to property, and help control the climate around a home.

When it comes to plant selection, the first step is determining a guiding idea or approach for the landscape. This should be based on the style of your home and the environment surrounding it. For example, a rustic home with wooded surroundings may be enhanced by using naturalistic plantings such as azaleas, dogwoods, and oaks. A Spanish-style house would be better complemented with ornamental cypress and yucca plants. Or, a colonial-style home could be accentuated with classic shrubs and flowers such as hollyhocks, roses, lilyturf, and crapemyrtles.

Other factors to consider when selecting vegetation are growth rate, flowering pattern, dormancy period, and other unique characteristics of each species. It is also important to keep in mind that the selected plants must be able to withstand the environmental conditions that will be encountered in their location. This is usually determined by locating the home in its USDA hardiness zone and taking note of the sun exposure that each area receives throughout the day.

Finally, it is important to know how long a plant is expected to live so that you can plan for future changes in the landscape. For instance, planting long-lived trees and perennials in most areas of the landscape can provide stability and security, while short-lived plants can be placed in more ephemeral areas where a homeowner is likely to want periodic change in the landscape.

To develop a landscape plan, start by sketching the basic landscape features on a piece of tracing paper. Lay another sheet of paper over the base plan and locate all the plant features you would like to include. Identify each feature by number and description, as well as the name of the species. This will allow you to easily locate the plants when you are ready to install them.


If you’re planning to do some landscape work this year, start by taking a thorough inventory of what needs attention. Take notes of areas where new hardscape materials will be needed, empty spots that need filling, and plants that could be repurposed with some pruning, trimming, or other maintenance. Having an idea of what needs to be done can help you develop a realistic budget for the entire project.

The best landscape designers know how to create the yard of your dreams while staying within your price range. However, they won’t be able to do that unless you share your budget with them from the beginning. It’s not fair to them to surprise you with a bill that’s too large. Having an idea of what you’re willing to spend can also save you time and money. For example, if your landscape designer knows that you want a pool, but don’t necessarily have the budget for one, they won’t eliminate it from the design and move on to other less expensive features.

When it comes to landscaping, the most expensive element is labor. The longer a project takes and the harder the labor is, the more it will cost. Then, you have the materials themselves, which can add up quickly.

To keep costs down, you can choose simple projects that require minimal materials and can be completed in a short amount of time. You can also find ways to reduce labor expenses by hiring during the off season or splitting larger projects into phases that you’ll complete as you have funds. Finally, you can reduce ongoing maintenance costs by choosing durable materials and addressing soil issues early on. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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