"Why consider a landscape architect? We can provide added value to your project by bringing our experience to the table through working on numerous past projects that may be of a similar nature to yours." says R. Patrick Worzer.
"We contribute by having both knowledge of land development aspects such as grading and drainage as well as the plant material landscape and physiological aspects of the land. Landscape architects bring a wealth of knowledge mending both the artistic and natural sciences into a design project. In the end we work toward providing you with an exciting, comprehensive and feasible solution to your vision!"
Anne Lewis, of Lewisites Landscape Architects, says hiring a professional helps homeowners visualize their options and decide on a final design. "I once worked for someone who justified residential design fees thusly: "You (the client) will make back our fee in decreased bid prices as submitted by your installing contractor," says Lewis. "You will drive a contractor to distraction if you can't clearly express exactly what you want, and if it is evident that you are less than confident, then the contractor will price your job by the square foot with a hefty multiplier that represents the "free design team" they will anticipate spending with you."
Lewis notes bid prices are often tighter when an architect solicits them because all of the decisions have been made and detailed. "The 'recipe' just needs to be followed rather than invented," she says. "Landscape architects get indecision out of the way by DRAWING alternatives. You will be able to "try on" more styles."
Ed Dermody of Woolpert says if a client knows exactly what they want, such as a simple patio, a qualified contractor can handle the project. "Often times a simple patio can be designed by a qualified contractor that understands your needs and expectations. This is often predicated on homeowners's understanding themselves and what they want. Most contractors want to build patios, not design multiple options with multiple cost implications involving other contractors."
But when the homeowner can't decide on a design or if the project becomes complex, Dermody often advises homeowners that's when they should consider using a landscape architect. "When your needs become complicated and involve multiple trades, a landscape architect will be able to help you create a master plan," says Dermody. "That way, your design is suited to you and your needs. It is also important to note that if you trust and have confidence in your contractor, then do not seek other professional help, many contractors are very good at what they do and are there to help you."
Doug DeLong agrees. "One should consider the complexity of what they want to do and if they can convey the information accurately in order to get complete and comparable bids from qualified contractors," he says.
One other benefit of hiring a professional is gaining an advocate on the job site. "Should you decide to hire a landscape architect, know that we will become your advocate," says Dermody. "We serve our clients first. That means plans that meet their needs, accurate cost projections, pre-qualified contractors, and a construction schedule that keeps your project on time and in budget. Drawings produced can be given to contractors for bidding and construction purposes while allowing you to organize the construction process and assign responsibility to each contractor involved. Through proper planning and organization homeowners can minimize wasted resources, time and money."
"To understand when a landscape architect is needed for your project is based on the homeowner's ability to manage projects and persona; experience with contractors. Many landscape architects have experiences with contractors that can benefit your projects, and sometimes a contractor may recommend a landscape architect to you if needed."