Spring is finally here, and as the weather warms and the leaves unfurl, we’re all invariably faced with the landscape to-do list. Some projects are as easy as planting some colorful annuals on your front porch, while others need a professional eye and muscle to complete.
There are a lot of options when you finally decide to hire a landscape professional to tackle your outdoor space, and the sheer amount of choices can seem overwhelming if you step into the process without a few of the basics to get started.
What’s the difference between a landscape architect and a landscape contractor?
Landscape architects will draw a plan that is then installed by a landscape contractor. Some firms only have landscape architects, but will have recommendations for contractors to install their plans. The advantage here is the possibility of shopping the design around to find the best fit for your budget. Other firms, most commonly known as design/build, will have both the landscape architects and the contractors in house to follow your project from beginning to end. The advantage here is building a relationship with a designer and a company throughout the entire process of designing and installing your project.
Have a budget in mind!
Having a budget at the beginning of the conversation with a landscaper is often the easiest way for the scope of the project to be outlined and understood by all parties. Honesty about your budgetary limits will prevent the painful mistake of falling in love with a design idea that is too expensive to install, and will give your landscaper the tools to propose something you’ll love that is within your budget. Talking dollars and cents is one of the best ways to prevent frustration!
Keep in mind that landscape projects can often be done in phases – if the water feature installation is not in the financial cards this year, it can always be saved for next year.
Get inspired, and share your ideas
Cut up magazines, create a Pinterest board, or sketch out your ideas. Give your landscape professional a glimpse of your vision and style by sharing some concrete thoughts, which will offer a jumping off point and get you off to a running start. Even if all you know is that you want a cozy space to have a cup of coffee in the morning or an area for your kids to run wild, share that! Communication is key: once you and your landscape professional are on the same page, financially and stylistically, the work will progress smoothly.
About the author: Annie Huston, a French native, has made Denver her home for many years. She and Landscape Architect husband Scott Huston founded Columbine Design Landscape Architects and Contractors in 1985 and since then have become a mainstay in the outdoor design and installation world. In 2012 they took over Birdsall & Co. to continue the legacy of the garden boutique on South Broadway. Visit them at columbinedesigninc.com and birdsallgarden.com.