Start with a Plan
As obvious as that seems, I know many homeowners who have call contractors and say “I would like to have a backyard with multiple patio’s, an outdoor kitchen, a pool and spa, a small shed and, Oh yeah, a vegetable garden for my two children learn about growing their own beans. Can you give me a proposal for that? By next week? I’d like to make my decision by then.” The husband then hands a copy of the survey from a stack of surveys, shakes hands, and says “I’ll see you next week.”
Do not fall for the “I’ll give you a free plan” line
A free plan is worth what you pay for it.
If a contractor charges for a plan and says they will deduct it from the price if he gets the work. Know that it has been added into the cost of the job from the beginning. There are no free plans.
Why hire a Landscape Architect?
A landscape architect:
- is a licensed professional
- will meet with you to discuss your “needs and desires” and incorporate them into your outdoor plans
- will prepare a plan based on your program requirements and revise the plan until you are satisfied with it
- will assist you in obtaining the appropriate permits
- is knowledgeable in material selection, construction, grading and drainage, plantings, lighting and most aspects of the built environment
- can recommend qualified contractors or assist you in putting the project out to bid
- can oversee the construction of the project and act as the liaison between you and the contractors
How does having a plan help you?
You have a better idea of what the project will look like when completed. (A perspective sketch, sections, and elevations will also help with visualization)
Helps you foresee any potential problems prior to beginning construction.
The landscape architect can estimate costs based on the materials you choose and can give alternatives to reduce the cost or enhance the look.
You can put the plan out to bid. You will be able to compare contractors prices (apples to apples).
Any deviations from the plans during construction must be accompanied by a change order.
Having a plan puts you in control over your project. It will make your project run more smoothly from beginning while saving you money in the long run.