Questions to ask your landscape designer

Questions to ask your Landscape Designer or Architect

When preparing to engage with a Landscaper Designer or Architect it’s important to do your research. Choosing the right designer will impact your process and your end result. Here are some questions you may like to consider asking to find your perfect landscaping partner.

What are your services? 

If you’re looking for a landscape designer, it’s important to establish up front how much involvement they’re going to have in your project. Some landscape designers will only offer design services, they’ll work with you to design a master plan, and then hand over the plan to you to either execute yourself or to hire a contractor to construct. Some landscapers will offer design and construction services as one, they’ll handle both the design process and the installation. If your job is complex or you want someone else to take the reigns when it comes to constructions, these services can be extra handy. In many cases you’ll also get discounted rates for combining services. Some landscaping firms will offer the whole process, as well as maintenance. The greatest benefit of these is that everything happens under one roof and communication tends to be better. Within one company things often run more smoothly. TDL provides any variation of the above services, taking on design-only, design and construct, and design construction and maintenance contracts.

How soon can you fit my project in?

It’s a good idea when you start talking to your landscaper to get an idea of their availability. Many of the most in-demand designers will be busy, and you may have to wait before they can take you on. This is especially true towards the end of the year, that’s landscaping crunch time, and most everyone will be booked from dawn to dusk. This is why it’s a good idea to start talking to firms well in advance of your deadline, especially if you’re chasing the popular in-before-Christmas goal.

Can you estimate the cost of realising the project?

You’ll want to give your designer a realistic budget in advance so they know how to approach the project. Keep in mind when you’re working on the design, that part of the process costs money too, and it’s worth asking about how variations or changes mid-project are handled. If you’ve gone for a design-only firm, ask them if they can provide you an estimate of how much it will cost to actually bring the project to life.

What are some of your past projects?

Not every landscape designer or architect will specialise in the kind of design you require. It’s worth doing your research, looking at their portfolio, and deciding if they’re the designer for you. Not all designers will offer the same quality of product either, and you do get what you pay for.

Do you do on-site consultations? 

Looking at your site in person has a lot of benefits over looking at plans and photos. Having a prospective designer come out to your property can be valuable even if you don’t go ahead with them, they’ll be able to offer advice and suggestions for tackling your unique space. Many firms will charge a fee for coming out to you, but its usually well worth it. TDL offers on-site consultations for a $195 fee, if you proceed with a design or construction  on towards the payment for design services if clients go ahead.

What would you like to see done with our garden?

For some people this one is a no-brainer, but if you’re the kind of person who has a very clear idea of what you want, we suggest inviting your designer’s independent answer to this question. You might be surprised by their suggestions, and even if you’re not sold on their first idea you’ll get an impression of how their mind works.

How long will it take to design and/or install?

It’s important to be upfront about your hopes for the timeline of your garden design and construction. Many people begin their landscaping design projects with an idea of when they’d like to be finished. These ideas aren’t always realistic, for a number of reasons. Your landscapers may have a backlog of work booked in, or your project may be more complex and time consuming than you realise. Talking to your designer about your timeline expectations will help them to design a project that will fit your timeline if necessary, it will also give them the opportunity to manage your expectations.

How much maintenance will my garden need?

It’s easy to get stuck in new garden mode and forget that you’re going to need to keep it thriving for years to come. If you’re the kind of person that has no interest in getting hands on with maintenance, that should be a part of your brief. Your designer will be need to know your priorities when it comes to garden maintenance, so they can communicate with you and design accordingly.