What do Landscape Architects do?
The look and feel of a landscape (i.e. garden and lawn) not only anchors a structure (like a house) to its site, but also visually connects it with the surrounding environment. That is where the responsibility of a professional Landscape Architect comes in, whose job it is to design attractive and functional outdoor spaces such as public parks, public- and private gardens, playgrounds, residential areas, university campuses, cemeteries, hospital gardens, and other public spaces.
In order to ensure the finalised project is as beautiful and practical as can be, Landscape Architects also put proper planning into the location of pathways, trees, other structures (such as pergolas), exterior furniture and décor, and various plants.What qualifications does a Landscape Architect typically have?
Similar to Interior Designers, successful Landscape Architects that think out of the box have a flair for creativity and design, as well as good communication skills to work with clients. In order to be employed, they also require a degree or postgraduate level qualification which is recognised by the Landscape Institute (LI). Some of the degree subjects may include:
· landscape architecture
· garden design
· landscape design and technology
· landscape planning
· environmental conservation.
Before starting a degree course, these professionals usually need GCSEs including English and either maths or science, plus two A levels or something equivalent in a related subject like art, biology or geography.What to know before you hire a Landscape Architect
Dreaming about an al fresco dining space? A bigger back yard or a spa-like landscape with all the required trimmings? Before you hire a professional Landscape Architect to help raise your lawn level, install a pergola and spend thousands of pounds on a project, be very clear on the following:
1. What is the Landscape Architect’s depth of experience?
Apart from looking at their number of years’ experience, also consider the professional’s knowledge of your particular type of exterior home project. For instance, did their firm also construct what they’ve designed for past projects? Remember that there is a big difference between a Landscape Architect who spends lots of time on designs (using computer-aided design programs) and one who designs and then physically goes out to take charge the construction processes.
2. Does my personality match with the Landscape Architect’s?
Any professional working relationship requires a certain degree of respect from both parties. Thus, the Landscape Architect you choose needs to be someone who can listen to your ideas, respects your design philosophy, and won’t impose their suggestions on your dream garden.
3. Are they good with plantings and drainage?
The technical/practical factors of a landscaping project are vital; thus, the right Landscape Architect will immediately know which plants, for instance, are appropriate for your location and residence; how the various flora will influence the drainage aspect of the design, etc.
4. Will the Landscape Architect be part of the construction process?
Even if you choose to do some DIY work yourself (like laying the footpaths of your new garden), will the Landscape Architect liaise with the Landscape Contractor to ensure your design ideas are correctly translated into the final construction? Should any site issues or conditions arise, you and your team need to either be able to adapt quickly or suffer costly delays during the construction phases.
5. Is the Landscape Architect an expert with budgeting?
Chances are that the Landscape Architect is not doing this project for free. And since you are the paying client, you need to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Thus, the professional in charge must be able to coach you on what items cost what, what can be substituted for less expenditure, what is crucial to your project, etc. Before any quotes or contracts are signed, your Landscape Architect must devise a timeline that suits the budget. That way, your project can proceed in the best way possible without wasting precious time or money.
What are the benefits of hiring a local Landscape Architect?
1. Less travel, less paying: Working with a professional in your area (whether it be Edinburgh, London, or another location) means less costs on travel for the Landscape Architect and his/her crew, moving materials to the desired site, etc. This can significantly increase the final price you’ll need to pay for your landscaping project.
2. Landscape Architects are expertly trained to help you: These professionals study horticulture, environmental design, site analysis, layout, grading, and construction detailing, among others. Thus, they have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to designing anything from public parks and residential gardens to university campuses. Remember they know much more than simply what plants are better suited for an environment; they are also very skilled at determining the best circulation route, how to take advantage of a beautiful view, what hardscape materials are most appropriate for a project, etc.
3. Landscape Architects can help you establish your construction budget: A well-trained Landscape Architect knows how to work with figures, how to locate desired finishes and materials for a project at a discount price from their suppliers, and how to make the most of a budget to meet a client’s project goals.
4. Landscape Architects can prepare a master plan for a cohesive look: Although many clients have picture-perfect ideas for gardens and landscaping, not many of them possess the capital to support said ideas. This is where a Landscape Architect’s master plan can help them out. A design is prepared for the entire property, and then broken down into separate phases according to the available budget, like installing a patio now, but also ensuring that conduit is included under the patio for the second phase later on, which will focus on the patio lighting.
5. Landscape Architects help you keep bids on a level playing field: Comparing different quotes from various Landscape Contractors can make it confusing to determine which one’s fees are more appropriate for the scope of work required. But when a Landscape Architect helps you set up a detailed design, that same design can be submitted to the various Landscape Contractors for a much more appropriate quote in terms of materials, finishes required, etc.
6. Landscape Architects can help out with construction management services: It’s no secret that unforeseen conditions and costs always seem to pop up during construction projects. With a professional Landscape Architect in charge, someone who understands the overall design intent and who also knows about your budget constraints, you have someone on-site who is capable of making quick-yet-effective decisions without having to bother you at work or affect your budget, for instance.