If you’re thinking about hiring a landscape architect, first gather ideas on what you’re looking for. Are you creating a space for entertaining? A play area? A kitchen garden? Increasing curb appeal? Check out magazines, web sites, catalogues, or anything else that features items or ideas for outside your home. Also consider how much time you want to devote to maintenance. Perhaps landscapes are a hobby, or you want a design with little or no maintenance at all.
Once you have some ideas, it’s important to make a realistic budget. Overall, landscapes can add as much as 15 percent to the value of your home compared to other houses on your street. If you’re unsure what to budget, one rule of thumb is to start with 5 to 10 percent of your home’s worth. While it may seem high, consider this: Research from Virginia Tech shows that landscapes literally grow in value over time, while traditional home additions or remodels start to lose value the minute the dust settles.
After you have your budget, it’s time to find a professional. Start with Firm Finder to identify a residential landscape architecture firm in your area. Landscape architects are licensed in 49 states and typically hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture, and licensure requires passing a rigorous exam.
Speak to several different landscape architects and talk with them about your goals and budget. Don’t hesitate to ask for references – especially references for project types that are similar to yours. Any professional will not hesitate to share references, fees, or answer any other questions related to their services.
While there are many landscape architects, finding the professional for you ultimately comes down to the right balance of design ability, professional service, cost and personal comfort level.
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