How To Choose Your Landscaper

Knowing how to choose your landscaper can be daunting for many people. Having been a landscape designer for many years I have written this article to give you a behind the scenes look at the landscaping profession and suggest five good questions to ask before you hire a landscaper.

 

Designing landscapes, gardens and outdoor spaces is a multi disciplinary profession that may be a mystery to anyone about to embark on a landscaping project for the first time. Professional landscape designers and builders are in a privileged position of being able to create not just one or two gardens, but hundreds and of a variety and scale that no one outside the profession would have the opportunity to be involved in.

 

Beautiful landscape spaces rarely just happen. The complexities of what goes on behind the scenes are not often discussed. If you are about to embark on a project then the more you know about what happens behind the scenes the more you will be able to ask questions of your landscaper to feel confident you have the right people for the job. When you have the right people you will be able to relax and enjoy seeing the landscape come to life.

 

Here are five great questions to ask to help take some of the mystery out of how to choose your landscaper:

 

What sort of site information do you take into account?

 

What plants grow well in this area?

 

Are there any building regulations that govern what we might want to create?

 

How do you work out what design might best suit us?

 

How do you make sure the landscape gets built as intended?

 

Knowing the questions to ask is only half the battle, you also need to have an idea of what a great answer to your question might sound like. Following are some suggestions as to the ‘right’ answer to your questions and these will certainly make you feel more confident that you do know how to choose your landscaper. If you adored this write-up and you would such as to get even more facts concerning landscaping ottawa kindly check out our website.

 

What sort of site information do you take into account?

 

The truth is that a good landscaper or landscape designer will want as much information as they can get.

 

Good landscape designers love site information: heights, levels, soil types, views, prevailing winds, rainfall, temperatures, details of surrounding buildings, window sizes, you name it they want to know.

 

A really good landscape design firm will have a preference to take all their own site measurements and levels and gather all their own information. Walking around the site with tapes, laser levels, tripods, and recording salinity readings and pressure versus flow readings of available water supply, assessing infiltration rates in soils and drainage is all part of getting to know what is there and what it feels like to just be there.

 

If there is existing plant material it should be identified easily and be assessed for its health and value. Information is so important not just about the site but also about you as the client and what will best suit your lifestyle and sense of style both now and into the future.

 

What plants grow well in this area?

 

Your landscaper will confidently name twenty possible plants immediately off the top of their heads and should be talking about the range of plants that are grown in the area. Expect to hear botanical names, soil types and microclimates.

 

Take a moment to ask what plant pests are common in the area. A good designer will not just mention the pests but what plants they are commonly found on and whether they are a problem to control.

 

Are there any building regulations that govern what we might want to create?

 

The answer to this one will depend a lot on the project you have but expect to hear about building permits, planning permission, council zones and overlays.

 

Expect the conversation to broaden out to items that may include regulations regarding septic systems, grades of timber suitable for in ground or above ground use, standards for outdoor lighting, concrete, rigid paving and expansion joints, retaining wall heights, termite protection, drainage, minimum site permeability and storm water management to name a few.

 

How do you work out what design might best suit us?

 

The key element here is that the designer should be creating ideas and getting your feedback. This may take the form of simply presenting ideas on site and asking what you think. This is a good way for designers to get a feel for what we should be designing for you before committing pen to paper.

 

Alternatively it may involve creating a basic concept on paper to be modified and adjusted until everything is just right. Imaginative ideas that are practical, artistic and beautiful and that take into account all the requirements and opportunities of the area are the culmination of all the information gathered combined with knowledge, experience and ideas from creative people.

 

How do you make sure the landscape gets built as intended?

 

The key things to listen for in the answer are detailed accurate scale drawings and a good working relationship with whoever is building the project. It is quite possible there will be a whole stack of drawings you don’t get to see unless you ask.

 

Drawings include plans of drainage, irrigation pipe work and cabling, hard surfaces, turf, garden beds, planting plans and lots more.

 

Expect the designer to be using Professional Computer Aided Design software, as this provides a level of speed, flexibility and accuracy with drawings that is difficult to achieve with manual drafting. Along with scale drawings there are bound to be another stack of calculations and specifications relating to irrigation design and material selection and quantification.

 

Even the most modest garden project is likely to involve consideration of most of the items above to one degree or another. Make sure your landscape professional knows what they are doing and the easiest way to know is to arm yourself with some professional landscape questions and find out what response you get. These questions and their answers will help you feel confident that you know how to choose your landscaper.