Landscape design should be a collaborative effort to be successful. The collective visions of the client, landscape contractor, and designer should meld to produce a gratifying result for everyone, particularly the client.
Selecting the right landscape designer is a similar process to identifying the right construction contractor, architect, or another professional who will be performing relatively significant modifications to a homeowner’s property.
For the landscape contractor, the designer plays a vital role in the project since the design and implementation are the elements that will be judged. Customer satisfaction of the end product impacts the reputation of the contractor, no matter how well the plan had been executed.
Thoroughly Understand the Customer’s Objectives
What does the owner wish to have when the project is complete? Understand the goals and the budget restrictions and a general idea of unique topographical features. Know what the client does not want before starting.
Develop a List of Candidates
Create a slate of possible candidates from discussions with other industry professionals and past clients. Focus particularly on ones who work with projects of similar type, scope, and budget. Cross check candidates with others whom you trust who may have had experience working with particular individuals. Check out some of their recent design projects.
At this point, you should have a list of at least three potential candidates. Contact each with a description of the project and ask them to meet to discuss ideas.
Meet with the core candidates. How easily you interact, share ideas, and develop a sense of compatibility will drive your decision. Understand the designer’s philosophy and past solutions to specific problems. Discuss the upcoming project and allow the candidate to expound on the potential direction. Determine if the candidate’s approach will be compatible cost-wise with what you estimate to be the target budget.
Make Your Choice
Personal compatibility, professional demeanor, proven expertise, and the cost will drive the final decision.
Meet with the Client
The contractor and newly selected designer will meet with the client to discuss the owners’ objectives and to walk the property to understand the possibilities and limitations, and to share ideas. The landscape designer may begin to measure areas and catalog existing characteristics such as trees and shrubs, native plants, wall structures, and water sources. Mapping the position of the property relative to the prevailing sunlight provides a vision of possibilities when the actual planning begins.