Before you being to interview landscape professionals, take a moment to think about what you want and need from your outdoor living spaces. Consider how you will use the space from day to day, whether it’s casual gatherings of friends and family, large formal parties, or a combination of these. You may want to look at books and magazines for ideas, and start a file of the elements you like – plants, patios, pools, fences and sculptures – that you want to try and incorporate into your plan. Also, determine what kind of maintenance regimen you’d like to have with the finished product, whether it’s hiring a service to taking the time to tend to plants and outdoor living areas on your own. Once you have a general idea of where you want the project to go, start the interview process with the landscape professional you have found. If you need help selecting them, there are many Web sites to search through, including the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Firm Finder database (asla.org/firmfinder) or the Association of Professional Landscape Designers’ member database (apld.com/apldmembers).
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONAL
1.) What is your design philosophy? How would it complement and realize my objectives? Are there specific approaches you think would best suit my project?
2.) What is your experience? Have you worked on similar projects, and, if so, what measures did you take to ensure a seamless process and successful outcome?
3.) What steps will you take to understand and accomplish my goals? What else can I expect from you throughout the process to help guarantee a positive experience?
4.) What do you see as the important issues or considerations for my project? What are the potential challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
5.) May I contact your former clients as references?
DEFINE YOUR PROJECT
Ask yourself these questions before you contact a landscape professional to determine what kind of design you’ll need.
1.) How would you like to use your landscape (to enhance your home’s curb appeal; improve your home’s impact on the environment; outdoor recreation, etc.)?
2.) What landscape elements are you considering (adding native trees and other plantings; lighting; outdoor kitchen/entertaining areas, etc.)?
3.) How do you feel about landscape maintenance? Is this something you enjoy or would rather have someone else oversee? Are you concerned with the environmental impact maintenance will require?
Abstracted from Luxe – Interiors and Design – The American Society of Landscape Architects