- What Does a Landscape Designer Do?
- Landscape architect: job description
- Choosing A Landscape Designer – Tips For Finding A Landscape Designer
- How to Find a Landscape Designer
- Landscape Designer Facts and Information
- Hiring a Landscape Designer
- Working with Small Yards
- Avoid High Maintenance Landscapes
- Refurbish Rather than Replace Your Yard
- Landscaping Solutions for Busy Streets and Intersections
- Landscape Designers Are Worth Every Penny
- Landscape architects and designers that go beyond the garden variety
- Singapore Landscape Design
- Guz Architects
- DP Green (DPG)
- STX Landscape Architects
- Find a landscape designer near you
- How to Choose a Landscape Designer that is Right for You
- How to Pick a Landscape Designer Who Can Give You the Yard of Your Dreams
- 1. Talk to Friends and Neighbors
- 2. Check Memberships
- 3. Ask About Experience
- 4. Look at Their Work
- 5. Request a Job Site Visit
- 6. Read the Contract
What Does a Landscape Designer Do?
Sometimes referred to as landscape architecture, the role of this individual is to create attractive and functional outdoor spaces for a variety of different clients- homeowners, business owners, schools and even municipal city areas.
For the most part, landscape designers are able to work independently, owning their own businesses and managing projects for their own clients. While landscape design ‘firms’ surely exist throughout the United States, the majority of landscape designers are self-employed, running small operations and possibly hiring assistants and staff of their own to help keep things organized.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a landscape designer or landscape architect who technically owns his or her own business routinely completes all aspects of landscape design projects while simultaneously maintaining the business aspect of their company.
Take a Fully-Accredited Landscape Design Course
Considering this, it’s important to remember that if you’re interested in starting an independent landscape design business of your own, you will need to brush up on your bookkeeping and marketing skills as well (for all landscape design students of NYIAD, this is thoroughly covered step-by-step in your curriculum and you’ll do some projects to help make sure you’re prepared), unless you have the budget to hire secretarial help.
If you’d rather interview for a role under the larger umbrella of a landscape design or landscape architecture firm, the role you’ll likely be looking for will be to assist senior designers or architects with large scale design projects.
Beyond these two most common professional pathways, there are plenty of other landscape designers who find extremely rewarding roles within garden or plant nursery centers. It’s becoming more and more popular for large garden centers to offer consultation services to shoppers who are looking to update their landscapes but aren’t quite sure how. Similar to how some large department stores offer in-house personal shoppers, your role would be to work with clients and guide them in their purchasing decisions and impending design projects.
Landscape architect: job description
Read up on the salaries of landscape architects in our construction salary guide.
Typical employers for landscape architects
- Landscape practices
- Construction and engineering consultancies
- House-building companies
- Local authorities
Vacancies are typically advertised online via Landscape Institute and in a variety of publications including local authority jobs lists, national newspapers, Architects’ Journal and Building Design as well as their respective websites. There are vacancies posted on TARGETjobs from time to time, but you may well need to network or apply speculatively for vacancies. The Landscape Institute Directory of Registered Practices (also available via the Landscape Institute website) can provide useful contact information for networking and speculative applications.
Qualifications and training required
You can only become a landscape architect if you have a relevant degree accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI), which usually takes the form of a three-year undergraduate degree plus a one-year postgraduate diploma in landscape architecture. However, if your undergraduate degree is in a subject such as art, geography, or horticulture you can do a postgraduate ‘conversion’ masters lasting up to two years.
Once you are employed and have a year or two’s experience, you can work towards gaining chartership, a professional qualification, with the LI. Most employers will expect you to do this and support you while doing so.
Most landscape architecture students secure work experience or internships through applying speculatively to private landscape practices – find out how to do this.
If you are a school leaver and considering going to university to study a landscape architecture course, get advice on meeting the entry requirements at TARGETcareers.
Key skills for landscape architects
- Artistic flair
- An interest in the environment, life sciences and knowledge of the conditions needed for wildlife to flourish
- Creativity and imagination
- Good verbal and written communication
- Negotiation and leadership ability
- An eye for detail
- Lateral and spatial thinking
- Drawing and IT skills, including the ability to use computer-aided design
- Client management skills
Next: search graduate jobs and internships
- View our graduate architecture, construction and building services vacancies and internships
Choosing A Landscape Designer – Tips For Finding A Landscape Designer
Choosing a landscape designer can seem daunting. As with hiring any professional, you want to be careful to choose the person that is best for you. This article provides information on things you need to know to make finding a landscape designer an easier process.
How to Find a Landscape Designer
The first step in choosing a landscape designer is determining your budget. How much money do you have available for this project? Remember that a well-designed and implemented landscape design can increase your property value.
The second step involves making three lists.
- Look at your landscape. Create one list that contains everything you want to remove from your garden. Tired of that old 1980s hot tub you never use? Put it on the “GET-Rid-OF List.
- Write up a second list that contains everything you like in your existing landscape. You love that funky DIY slate patio you installed 5 years ago. It’s perfect. Put it on the TO-KEEP List.
- For the third list, write down all the features you would love to add to your new landscape. You dream of a grapevine and wisteria draped redwood-Douglas fir pergola that provides shade for a table that seats 16. But you don’t know if that makes sense or even it if you can afford it. Put It on the WISH-List.
Write everything down even if you can’t imagine how it will all fit in. These lists don’t have to be perfect or definite. The idea is to develop some clarification for you. With your three lists and your budget in mind, choosing a landscape designer will be much easier.
Contact your friends, family and local nurseries to get local recommendations. Interview two or three local landscape designers. Ask them about their design process and discuss any concerns you have about the project. See if they are a good fit for you personally.
- Does this person want to impose a design upon you?
- Is he/she willing to work with you to create a space that fits your microclimate and your design aesthetic?
- Discuss costs in as much detail as is necessary for you to feel comfortable moving forward. Let him or her know your budget.
- Listen to his or her feedback. Is your budget reasonable? Is this designer willing to work with you on a project that fits your budget?
Before you move forward, make sure you have a written contract that specifies costs, the process for change orders and a timeline.
Landscape Designer Facts and Information
So what does a landscape designer do anyway? Before you begin your quest for a designer, it helps to understand more about what he/she does or doesn’t do. Landscape designer facts that may impact your decision are as follows:
- You can find a list of professional landscape designers at the national Association for Professional Landscape Designer (APLD) website: https://www.apld.org/
- Landscape designers are unlicensed – so they are limited by your state in what they can depict in a drawing. Typically, they create detailed planting plans with conceptual drawings for hardscape, irrigation, and lighting.
- Landscape designers can cannot create and sell construction drawings – unless they are working under a licensed landscape contractor or landscape architect.
- Landscape designers typically work with or for landscape contractors to make the installation process seamless for their clients.
- Sometimes landscape designers obtain their landscape contractor’s license so they can offer you both the “Design” portion of the project as well as the “Build” portion of your project.
- If you have a very complicated project, you may choose to hire a licensed landscape architect.
Hiring a Landscape Designer
Landscape designers are experts at landscape design, schooled in both the practical aspects of landscaping, as well as adding an artistic touch to your outdoor spaces. Besides that, they are also well-trained at meeting the challenges of landscape problems, and in transforming tough-to-work-with properties into beautiful landscapes to behold. Here’s a short list of some common landscape problems, and ways that landscape designers suggest you overcome them.
Working with Small Yards
Landscape designers are quick to point out that you need to combine vigorous landscaping with space conscious design when working with small yards. Curves and tiered levels, for example, are excellent additions to a small yard because they add more depth and points of interest without swallowing up your valuable space. Still, you do want think ahead with your landscape designer as you choose which type of plants to use. Plant small trees instead of large ones and hide the fence with flowering vines instead of big shrubs.
Avoid High Maintenance Landscapes
Landscape designers are quick to encourage all homeowners to avoid high maintenance landscapes. The reason is simple: high maintenance usually ends up in homeowner neglect. Instead, most designers suggest planting species native to your area (or similar climates), and planting one that don’t require a lot of pampering. With the large variety of low maintenance plants available to homeowners today, you can have a yard that requires almost no upkeep, but that looks great all the same. Besides being easy to maintain, low maintenance yards are also usually low water ones. In this time of environmental concern, designing a landscape that conserves resources, rather than wasting them, is always a plus.
Refurbish Rather than Replace Your Yard
Landscape designers always recommend that you re-use, and take advantage of, as much of your existing yard as possible, even when undertaking a large landscaping renovation. Skilled designers generally help homeowners decide which plants to leave in place, which to transplant, and which ones are best removed altogether. Any designer will tell you that thinking “refurbish” rather than “replace” means saving money, time, and learning to appreciate the landscaping resources you have ready at your disposal.
Landscaping Solutions for Busy Streets and Intersections
No landscape problem offers more challenges than the high traffic and noise of a busy street or intersection. Landscape designers do have natural solutions, however. A buffer of fast-growing, dense shrubbery can make a world of difference when it comes to providing privacy and a sound barrier, while the soothing sound of a fountain or waterfall provides soothing, natural sounds to compete with the din of the city. Other designer ideas: create small, enclosed gardens where you can go to forget your surroundings, and think about installing uplighting beneath trees and shrubbery to provide extra privacy at night.
Landscape Designers Are Worth Every Penny
The landscape solutions offered here are just a taste of what a good landscape designer can provide you as you design landscaping for your property. Whether you’re looking for a total landscape renovation, or just want to “refurbish” your yard a little bit, the expertise a professional designer brings to the table is always well worth the money you spend to hire them.
Need to find a pro for your Landscape Design?
What were your experiences with a landscape designer? Let us know if you had a beautiful new yard or a disaster in the comments!
The occurrence of extreme weather events have taken the new norm and combination of these events have resulted in the rising of the sea levels threatening the coastal and low-lying areas of the cities with floods and diminishing the availability of freshwater resource. Coupled with the effects of rapid urbanisation and the constant desire to improve the quality of life for the societies, urban cities are increasingly faced with multiple challenges with their limited land and resources. Most often, the effects of urbanisation are detrimental to the environment and also at the expense of causing social disruption. This unsustainable trade-off has to be reversed and sustainability alone in minimising resource and energy consumption is not enough to recover the damages caused to the environment and addressing the global issues. Less harm is still causing undesirable negative impacts to the ecosystem, rather the notion of regeneration or restoration has to be advocated for positive contributions to the multifaceted capitals of the place.
True sustainability and beyond would, therefore, require collective understanding and integrated approach for all to endeavour and achieve betterment for the common good. The innate affinity of human nature towards other life forms and the natural environment calls for the co-existence of human with nature in an ecological urbanism manner for the remaining millennium.
Landscape architects and designers that go beyond the garden variety
Their designs are truly captivating – and chances are you’ve already marvelled at them. From Oasia Downtown Hotel and the NUS University Town to the CaptiGreen building (CBD) and Park Hotel at Alexandra, STX has one striking portfolio. And their award-winning residential projects stand as proof of their timeless and memorable designs. Some of which include Belle Vue Residences, Rivergate, Duchess Residences, Helios and others.
phone: +65 6327 4452
address: 60 Albert Street, #16-08, OG Albert Complex, Singapore 189969
Singapore Landscape Design
If you have a smaller patio or balcony that needs sprucing up, landscape architect Josh Theoh is your man. From planters to rooftop terraces to even an outdoor percussion set, Josh has a knack of finding a space for even the smallest of alfresco gardens. His 13 years of experience is backed up by a reassuring number of good reviews from satisfied clients.
The company also has a nursery in Lim Chu Kang if you’d like a more visual and tactile approach in choosing your greenery.
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Relax. Recharge. Rejuvenate. Reunion all in this wonderful Rooftop garden @KeppelCaribbean #singaporelandscapedesign #rooftopgarden #garden #rooftop
phone: +65 9487 9868
address: 3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 6, Singapore 718860 (nursery)
Guz Architects are behind of some of the most beautiful homes that we’ve seen in Singapore (take a gander through their portfolio to see for yourself). They may not solely be a landscape architecture firm, but they’re on this list because of the heavy influence that nature has on their designs, and their seamless integration of gardens, water features and trees in the compounds.
What we’re super impressed by: they also plant trees on behalf of their clients to offset their carbon footprint. To date, they’ve planted 2,700 trees in the United Kingdom and 500 trees in New Zealand.
- Jalan Sampurna estate
- Photos via Guz Architects
phone: +65 6476 6110
address: 3 Jalan Kelabu Asap, Singapore 278199
DP Green (DPG)
Landscape architects and arboriculture consultants DP Green’s projects are meant to be beneficial for the people who interact with them as well as the environment as a whole. This interdisciplinary firm tends approaches each project by responding to the “site’s natural genius loci”. One of their most recognisable residential projects, Jardin on Dunearn Road, is bursting at the seems with greenery and offers its residents a chance to live within a garden.
phone: +65 6338 3988
address: 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-249 Marina Square, Singapore 039594
Winner of OCBC’s Emerging Enterprise Award 2017, Greenology offers urban farming for those who are keen, but we’re more intrigued by their vertical garden walls. Not every home has the luxury of having a spare balcony or patio to tinker with, so we like the concept of a customised green wall that fits into the space you have. Plus, having an indoor garden means you get an in-built air purifier.
The feel good factor: Greenology has offered horticulture therapy to seniors with dementia, where they work on gardening projects over regular sessions.
Posted by Greenology on Thursday, 20 December 2018
address: 289 Farnborough Road, Singapore 509747
Where to now?
- You’ll also want these Balinese outdoor looks;
- And now some swish outdoor furniture to go with that designer garden…
- Finally, from landscape architecture to architecture architecture: this is who you need to know in Singapore.
STX Landscape Architects
STX Landscape Architects is a professional design consulting firm based in Singapore, providing services in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Masterplanning.
Established in 1995, the firm has experienced steady growth and boasts an impressive portfolio of a wide range and variety of projects. STX received numerous awards and accolades throughout its history for crafting timeless and memorable designs.
Dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in design and client service, STX prides on designs that are informed and influenced by its experience and research of the environment as well as social, economic, and programmatic opportunities and constraints, that is unique to each project.
With this understanding, STX is able to create innovative and cost-effective design solutions that are executed with high standards of uncompromising quality and dependability.
Passionate about design and innovative craftsmanship, STX devotes significant care to each project by devoting the necessary time in coordination and follow-through, in order that the ideas conceptualised at design stages get executed to the best possible level of workmanship.
STX provides a full scope of services from concept design through to design development, construction drawings, and contract administration, for both hardscape and softscape elements throughout Asia and the rest of the world.
Find a landscape designer near you
Hiring a landscape architect is an investment in your home. Landscaping can reduce water bills, improve your home resale value, add to your daily living experience and significantly boost curb appeal. A landscape architect will draw the designs for your new landscape; you’ll want to hire a landscape contractor to carry out the plans. Many companies provide design-build landscaping services, with a company architect creating plans for your vision and the landscape contractor executing the vision. With the proper academic background and licensing, a person can be both landscape architect and landscape contractor. Here are a few tips for finding a great landscape architect:
- Research online portfolios and find several landscape architects whose work interests you.
- Read online reviews of client experiences.
- Research whether the landscape architects you are interested in are currently licensed and in good standing with the licensing board, and check whether any complaints have been issued against them. Each state will have their own searchable database. For example, you can search for California landscape architects via the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
- Request bids from your selected landscape architects.
- Hire the one you like the most, taking care to have a clearly written contract outlining scope of work.
For more, check out our tips for smart hiring on Thumbtack.
How to Choose a Landscape Designer that is Right for You
Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The Glory of the Garden” contains advice for anyone who would like to enjoy a beautiful landscaping design. He writes, “Gardens are not made by singing, ‘Oh how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.” However, a modern reader might remind Kipling that that he could, in fact, while away the afternoon singing the praises of the garden and still see progress – that is, if he hires a contractor for landscaping design and installation.
Choosing the right landscape contractor for your project requires careful attention. After all, the design stage of the landscaping process influences every subsequent step. Whether they’re looking for a complete landscape overhaul or simple lawn care, Portland homeowners can find the find the right landscape designer for their projects by following the steps.
STEP 1: Decide what you want in your landscape design.
Before you gather information from potential landscape designers, it’s wise to get your own thoughts in order. What will you use your garden for? Are you looking to install a walkway or a water feature? Or are you more interested in how your landscape can provide fresh veggies and healing herbs for your family? Collect magazine/book/neighborhood photos that can show your landscape designer the style, features or feel you going for.
Sketch a design that expresses what you envision for your garden space. It will be much easier to find the right landscaping contractor if you have clear ideas about what you want. You can even write a brief description of what you’re looking for; this will make it much easier to directly compare the different solutions various contractors propose for your garden. More communication means a better end result.
STEP 2: Gather a short list of landscaping design companies.
Once you know what you want, it’s time to compile a short list of companies who design landscaping in your area. Talk to your neighbors and friends to get trustworthy referrals. If you see a yard that looks especially nice, you may even ask that neighbor who did their landscaping design. Next, narrow down your list to two or three professionals from whom you will request a formal bid to design landscaping for you.
STEP 3: Choose a landscaping contractor or designer
There are many components that factor into your final decision about who should do your landscaping design or lawn care. Portland garden enthusiasts can choose the best landscaping contractor for their needs by considering these factors:
Team Approach. Quite often the best projects are the result of a team effort between the designer and contractor. That may be different people or the same talented individual. Either way, be sure to get input from both camps to ensure the end result will not only look good but be functional and stand the test of time without breaking the bank. Don’t rely on the landscape designer to know all about construction methods and vice-versa.
Education and experience. Ask the final contractors on your short list to provide a list of references. Browse their portfolios to see if their design style matches your taste. Check their websites to learn about their education and experience in local landscaping.
Affiliations and certifications. Ongoing education is also critical for experts who design landscaping. Check the affiliations and certifications of your potential landscaping companies.
Licensing and Bonding. Check with the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board and make sure your potential bidders carry the appropriate license and bond to perform the work you need. Be careful, as there are several different levels of licensing and not all may work for your project. Not being properly licensed or bonded is a sure sign of a contractor not worth your time.
Liability insurance. Avoid hiring a landscaping contractor who doesn’t have liability insurance. Your landscaping design company should carry at least enough insurance to cover the cost of your home. That may seem extreme, but keep in mind that landscaping work can result in costly mistakes, such as the cutting of a gas line or a tree falling on your home.
Cost. Choose a landscape designer who can meet your landscaping budget.
Trust. A landscaping design project can be a big investment. Make sure you have complete trust in your contractor of choice to perform up to your standard. If not, you could end up with a hefty repair project a few years down the road.
Green or organic gardening practices. If, like many Oregonians, you are concerned about the environment, you will want to consider whether your landscaping company maintains green landscaping practices and provides natural lawn care. Portland landscaping gurus recommend that you look into the following list of green landscaping methods:
- Soil preparation. Choose a company that uses compost and other natural soil amendments to create a strong growing environment.
- Plant selection. Local, drought-resistant plants are better for green landscaping.
- Water conservation.Look for a company that knows how to install and maintain water efficient irrigation systems with weather based controllers.
- Avoidance of chemicals. A green landscaping company should only use chemicals as a last resort, if at all. Chemicals are harmful for downstream ecosystems.
- Grasscycling. You don’t need to use lots of chemicals in order to practice good lawn care. Portland landscaping companies often recommend grasscycling, i.e. keeping the lawn clippings on the lawn for a natural, slow release of nitrogen back into the lawn.
Another section of Kipling’s poem contains a warning for those who would hire a landscape contractor: “Some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose, and some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows.” You can avoid hiring lackluster landscape designers by following the tips listed above.
If you’re looking for a way to improve the appearance of your home, increase your enjoyment of the outdoors, and even raise your home’s property value, landscaping is the way to go. A well-landscaped yard not only looks great, but a custom design will make your home more comfortable and enjoyable as well.
However, landscaping is a big project that you can’t do by yourself, and the idea of finding the right landscape designer to take on such an important job can feel overwhelming. If you’re currently looking for the right landscaper but don’t know where to start, here are 5 tips to help make the search a little easier:
1. Know What You’re Looking For
The first thing that you will need to do is to have a clear idea of what you’re landscaping goals are. Not everyone wants the same things out of their landscaping projects. Maybe you want to have a large garden area for growing your own fruits and vegetables, or maybe you want something solely decorative. You may want to have a pool or fountain, or just a comfortable outdoor patio for entertaining. Because there are so many options, you should try to find a designer who specializes in, or at least has experience in, the type of project you have in mind.
2. Do Your Research
It’s important to find a landscape designer who is trustworthy, and the best way to do that is to research. A few things to keep in mind are:
- Search for companies that have experience and, compare customer ratings and reviews when you can find them.
- If possible, get in touch with your local Business Bureau and check up on the company’s records.
- Before you hire any particular company, ask to see a portfolio. This way you can see the kind of finished products they produce, and get an idea of what you can expect if you decide to use their services.
- Look at their pricing. If a certain company has prices that are way below the average, don’t risk hiring them. Many shoddy landscaping companies will try to undersell the competition, but if you want your job done well, don’t take the bait.
3. Ask Around
Word of mouth can be extremely helpful when it comes to narrowing down the companies you want to work for you. If you know someone who has had a landscaping job done recently, ask them about their experience. The more information you can get from real customers, the better you’ll be able to decide what designer is right for you.
4. Look For Experienced Professionals
Experience is a big plus when it comes to hiring professional contractors. A company that has been around for a long time is much more likely to know the ins and outs of the business, and you’ll have a better chance of your project being done well and finished on time without running into obstacles.
5. Communication Is Key
One of the most important things to look for in your landscaping designer is their ability to communicate. Working on a project is a two-way communication; your landscaper has to be able to listen to you and your desires, and you need to consider any professional advice or new ideas he gives. A professional designer will know a lot more about landscaping than you do, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t care about what you want. A good landscaper will be creative and open to new ideas, and will work with you to create a design you love that works with the space you have.
If you haven’t found the right landscaping designer for your project yet, contact us today. With over 45 years of experience in both corporate and residential landscaping design, our professional team is here to help you create the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of.
How to Pick a Landscape Designer Who Can Give You the Yard of Your Dreams
Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images
Landscaping ideas are great, but without the right landscape designer or landscaping company to bring them to life, they’re just ideas. Landscape designers—or other landscaping professionals, including landscape architects—can offer guidance on installing outdoor features, including some landscaping ideas that boost home value. They take yards beyond simple lawn care tips to spaces that feel like extensions of the indoors, and picking the right one is key to a successful working relationship—and a stunning yard.
Fortunately, picking a landscape pro is not a free-for-all. Picking someone you can work well with and how can deliver the landscaping design ideas you want is easy—you just need to know who (and what) to ask. For an easy guide to picking a solid landscape designer, we turned to Missy Henriksen, the vice president of public affairs at the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). Read on for Henriksen’s quick-and-easy guide to finding the best landscape designer for your needs—your gorgeous yard will thank you soon enough.
1. Talk to Friends and Neighbors
“Talk to friends and neighbors about companies they’ve worked with and have successful relationships with,” Henriksen says.
Someone in your circle is bound to have a tried-and-true landscaping pro they’d recommend, and a positive reference from a trusted friend can be as reliable as dozens of online reviews.
2. Check Memberships
“We recommend that homeowners look to work with companies that are members of a local or state or national association,” Henriksen says. “Those companies have the most up-to-date information and are really current in their networking with peers on different trends. There’s a lot of trend talk that happens in association communities and support on the technical know-how, safety, and best practices.”
3. Ask About Experience
Henriksen suggests asking the company (or companies) you’re considering how long they’ve been in business and whether they’ve done similar types of landscaping projects before. An experienced designer or company can lead to fewer delays and other minor snafus during your project.
4. Look at Their Work
Seeing the specifics of projects the professional has done in the past—and noting how they turned out—can give you a sense of the success of your own landscaping project if you were to work with them. “Check their work, obviously,” Henriksen says. “Companies will all have portfolios to show. Certainly talk with references.” If a pro refuses to share a portfolio or references, consider it a red flag.
5. Request a Job Site Visit
“Ask to visit a job in progress, if that’s a possibility,” Henriksen says. “Note the professionalism that’s taking place on that job site.”
A sloppy or poorly managed work site is a bad sign—especially if your landscaping project will take more than a few days. For quick projects, like updated landscaping ideas for the front of the house, it might not be as big of a deal (but is still worth noting).
6. Read the Contract
Ask for a sample contract to understand what you’re buying, the materials that will be used, timetables, and details of that sort before you sign anything. If buying local is important to you or the project must be completed by a certain date, talk to the professional about adjusting your contract accordingly.
For more guidance on picking a landscape designer or other landscaping pro, check out NALP’s complete guide here.