How to Choose a Landscape Design Professional
Choosing a landscape designer to create the outdoor space of your dreams is a big decision. A skilled landscaper will overcome all of the necessary hurdles to give you the space you want, while a general contractor may fall well short. Landscape design work is not cheap, so before you write a big check make sure the designer you have chosen is well qualified to do the job right.
The design options for outdoor spaces are virtually unlimited these days, which enables homeowners to transform their current landscapes into beautiful, functional spaces they can enjoy. Smart landscaping can also increase the value of a home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Deciding on a landscape designer to hire takes a bit of time and research, but it pays off in the end when the project goes smoothly, comes in on budget and leaves you with a yard your neighbors envy. Bad landscape design work cannot be fixed easily, so getting it right the first time is of the utmost importance. The tips that follow will help you navigate the process of choosing the right landscape designer for your space, budget and tastes.
Do Your Homework
Spend some time searching for landscape designers in your area online. Most will have websites with portfolios of previous work, references and pricing guidelines. You should have a good idea of what your project will entail and what you want the finished product to look like upon completion. This will enable you to look through the portfolios of various designers for projects similar to yours. Look for designers who have completed similar projects with pleasing results and make a short list of the best potential candidates.
Talk to Family, Friends and Neighbors
Talk to people you trust and are close to and ask them if they have had any landscape design work done. If they have, find out who they used and what their experience was like. This is a great way to get inside information about professionals in the area.
Once you have your list of hopefuls, it is a good idea to go to their places of business and meet them in person. Here you can look at more previous work and ask questions regarding their experience, pricing and availability. You will also get a gut feeling about the company, which is equally important.
Further Research and References
After meeting with the designers you should have a list of two or three companies to choose from. At this point you want to do more extensive research on the potential companies to find out what kind of reputation they have and what past customers have to say about them. Look for reviews online, specifically on landscape design forums. You can also check with the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects or the American Nursery and Landscape Association to see if the companies are members.
Ask each candidate for references, as reputable businesses will be ready and willing to provide them. Consider what former clients chose to emphasize in their references. Did they say the designer was easy to work with? Knowledgeable? Friendly? You want the work to be top-notch, but you also want a designer who is easy to work, flexible, and who provides great customer service.
Get a Bid from Each Company
Price is another thing to consider, so get bids from your top two or three companies so you can compare price alongside the other data you’ve collected. You may find considerable differences between the bids you receive, which will help you narrow down the field and make an informed decision when it comes time to hire a designer. Do not just choose the designer who offers the lowest bid. Consider all you have learned about the various companies and factor all of the information you have collected into your decision. Sometimes it is worth your while to pay a bit more for better quality work.
Flexibility is an important quality in a landscape designer and one you should consider when you are down to a couple potential candidates. Does the designer seem willing to having small changes implemented once the project starts? Do they seem confident with regard to any special considerations or challenges your project presents?
Reliability is another thing to consider carefully. Does the designer finish projects on time and within the prescribed budget? Does the team show up when they are supposed to? Did the company promptly return any phone calls you made when inquiring about their services? An unreliable landscape designer is a headache waiting to happen, so answer these questions carefully.
Take the appearance of their place of business, design team and equipment into consideration as well. Landscapers aren’t always the most clean-cut bunch, but they should make a reasonably professional appearance. Does the office seem neat and organized? Do the work trucks and equipment look clean and well maintained? The answers to all of these questions will allow you to make a well-informed decision with regard to which designer to hire.
Looking for a professional landscape designer in Toronto for your backyard or garden project? Get in touch with us today and let us help you design and develop your dream landscape. You may also want to learn more about us or the products we offer.