projects are easy enough for the weekend gardener to tackle; other
projects can be done with just the help of a few hired laborers
or a small landscape contractor.
So who should
you turn to and when? There are a lot of "experts" out there who
will assure you they are more than capable of handling your projects.
With all the different job titles and terms people use to refer
to their work, consumers should be clear about who does what and
how qualified a service provider really is.
Architects design residential gardens, as well as provide
professional services in land and urban planning, site design, natural
resource management, park and recreation planning, environmental
conservation, and historic preservation. Landscape architects have
an undergraduate or graduate degree and are licensed in 46 states.
Because of their unique combination of design skills, technical
experience, and plant knowledge, landscape architects are the best
choice for a major outdoor design project, or a project with technical
landscaping issues, like stormwater management or native plants,
that could have significant environmental impact.
Designers can be likely choices for designs that do not
require construction, grading, or specific technical knowledge.
They may have completed a degree program. Some landscape designers
attend training or certificate programs, but many are self-taught.
Designers are usually a lower-cost option and can be quite satisfactory
for planting plans and small projects like perennial bed designs.
The best way to evaluate designers is to check references and past
are trained in the science of growing and producing plants. They
typically complete an undergraduate or graduate degree in that field.
Many horticulturists become nurserymen or work in garden centers.
Horticulturists are ideal advisors about specific plant choices
and care needs, but typically lack design skills and technical knowledge
about drainage, earth-moving, and other aspects of major projects.
Contractors install planting elements of a design conceived
by landscape architects or designers. Landscape contractors may
have a practical background in gardening and/or construction work.
Prices and quality vary widely. Always check references and past
projects, as well as their employment status.
life is never this simple. Consumers will run across the vague title
"landscaper," as well as combinations of categories listed
above. Landscapers are generally landscape contractors, but they
could also be horticulturists affiliated with a nursery. Adding
to the confusion, nurseries often offer free design services with
large, full-price purchases.
firms often advertise combinations of the job categories listed
above. These companies offer the design, installation, and at times,
the actual plant materials. With design/build firms, a consumer
should evaluate the training and expertise of the individuals doing
each task; ask if the designer is a licensed landscape architect.
Also determine how experienced the installers are, where the plant
material is coming from, and who will supervise the on-site installation