What do landscape architects do?
Without Landscape Architects, London's Hyde Park wouldn't be nearly as enchanting, and there'd be no Central Park in New York City. But Landscape Architects not only do the design, specification, and management of public parks. They also take charge of public playgrounds, residential areas, university campuses, shopping centres, golf courses, etc. They help to plan the location of buildings, roads and walkways, and arrange where flowers, shrubs, statues and trees must be placed. What's more they also design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, and forested land.
What is the work environment of a landscape architect?
Landscape Architects spend most of their time in offices drawing up plans, designing models and cost estimates, doing research, and meeting with clients and other professionals involved in a project (such as Architects). The rest of their time is spent onsite.
During the planning phase of a project, the Landscape Architect will visit and analyse a site to verify what sort of design they need to come up with. Once the plans and specifications are drawn up and approved, addition time is spent at the site to observe or supervise the construction.
How long does it take to work on a client's project / garden?
It depends entirely on the size and scope of the project. To get your dream garden, it's best to provide an estimated timeframe (rather than a fixed date) during your initial meeting with the Landscape Architect.
Keep in mind that various factors (the contractor's work schedule, the weather, suppliers, unplanned factors such as patches of bad soil, etc.) could alter the timeline.
Landscape architecture and planning consent
Planning consent for landscaping development is usually approved subject to planning conditions. Generally, detailed information needs to be provided:
Where a scheme for a site's landscaping is required, this refers to the need for info like:
· Detailed drawings showing the locations of existing landscape features (trees, planted areas, shrubs, etc.)
· Location and retention of historic landscape features
· Sketches and written specifications for soft landscape features like earth-moving and changes to site contours
· Information related to temporary access roads, compounds, storage areas for construction.
In addition to showing the areas to be planted with different plant material at an appropriate scale on the plan, the following information must also be included:
· Plant names (English and/or Latin)
· Number of plants in each specific area
· Size of plants to be planted, including container-grown ones
· Density of plants to be planted – in the case of plants other than trees, how many plants per square metre of planted area.
How to plan your budget for a Landscape Architect
1. Set your priorities. Make two lists: a) what you want, and b) what can be achieved on the site. These lists aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, but it's important to complete them in order to set priorities. It would be unwise to spend lots of money on a gigantic water feature, for example, before resolving potentially disastrous issues like drainage problems.
2. Hire a professional Landscape Architect. Make sure you have an experienced and licensed professional in charge of your project. They will not only help to visualise any potential problems, but also map out the appropriate steps to achieve desired results.
3. Invest in "maximum value" features. Know which elements will get the most use out of your new landscape design. Is it an outdoor patio that can be used in summer? A BBQ lounge with shaded seating?
4. Consider the return on investment. Ask yourself the following questions: What will be the long-term maintenance costs? Does it make financial sense to do everything at once, or will different phases over several years be the better alternative?
How to prepare for a Landscape Architect
Know the purpose of your garden / yard
While setting up your budget, you will already answer the question "What do I want to get out of my garden?". This will help you decide on if you want a space that achieves double duty (i.e. socialising and relaxing while also looking visually pleasing), which is a great jumping-off point for your Landscape Architect.
Visually define your garden's boundaries
Clarify where the perimeters of your yard are in order to create a sense of order, like a hedge or 0a fence in the distance.
Take advantage of borrowed views
Make use of the beautiful views that surround your yard, like the magnificent trees in your neighbour's garden. It's always a clever idea to incorporate borrowed beauty into your own landscape, and knowing which elements you want to include already jumpstarts a list for your Landscape Architect to work with.
Choose the right plants
Of course your Landscape Architect will already know the best plants to include in the design, but it doesn't hurt to have your own list. For instance, if you notice any particular flowers that are thriving in your neighbour's garden, they'll probably be pretty happy in your new design as well.