"Custom design is scary," says Anne Lewis of Lewisites Landscape Architects. "What if you hate what your contractor builds? Well, you have more probability of hating it if you wave your arms around and show him/her magazine pictures than if you express yourself to a landscape architect and they draw it."

"That's what architects do; they draw," she says. "Think of it as writing directions. When drawings are issued to several contractors you can be confident that they are all pricing the same scope of work. Otherwise, you are buying the painting which you see rather than commissioning one. We all love the old craftsman touches, artisan details like the rock wall around a field with some stones jutting out to act as a stile to climb up and over. European plaza pavement with insets of flat stones or a change of pattern to accommodate water run off. If you are going to custom design something, CUSTOM DESIGN IT."