Do I Need A Landscape Architect?

female landscape architect hovering above a design

If you are thinking of making some changes to your property but aren’t quite sure what comes first, you are in good company. Most people when faced with making changes to their property seek professional help one way or another. Some will go directly to a contractor who will be doing the work. Others might go to a landscape designer or design / build firm. Still others may go to a landscape architect. So how do you know whether you need to go to landscape architect? You may be asking yourself do I need a landscape architect?

In this article we will discuss some of the reasons why you might need a landscape architect. However, we’ll also point out some reasons why you might not.

Do I Need A Landscape Architect?

First, when considering do I need a landscape architect you may want to look at how confident you are in making color selections and material selections.

  • Do you have the time and the eye to do the research necessary to know you are getting what you want?
  • Do you have any idea what you want?
  • Are you willing to tell a contractor ‘no’ when they suggest something subpar that’ll save them time and effort but will have a negative effect on the project?

How To Tell If You Need A Landscape Architect

There are a number of other questions you can ask. However, the really important one is do you have the time to oversee this project from start to finish? As a homeowner hiring a landscaper, mason, or pool contractor directly, you are the de facto design professional and will need to have all the answers. In many cases these contractors will gladly provide their opinion on the answers but you will need to make the final judgment.

beautifully designed rock retaining wall and green plants showing do i need a landscape architect as yes

Hardships Of Not Using A Landscape Architect

Here’s an example that’s all too common when operating without a landscape architect. Imagine you are building a swimming pool and pool deck in your backyard. The pool will be close enough to the back door of the house so the deck will connect to the house and you’ll be able to seamlessly walk from the home to the pool. The pool contractor puts the pool in, the deck, even takes extra care to make sure the elevations all work out and there’s no water drainage issues in the pool area.

However, the pool contractor put the pool right in the swale which allowed an adjacent hillside to drain around the house. The next spring, your finished basement has standing water and you can’t figure out why. This is an example of what happens when individual contractors work on their piece of the project, but don’t consider the ramifications to the entire property.

That is one of the main reasons why landscape architects are useful. Landscape architects are constantly concerned with drainage and grading. Where is the water going? This question is asked more times than you might guess in a landscape architects’ office.

This may be an extreme case, but it happens more than you’d expect. Landscape architects’ concern with drainage and grading is one of their main benefits to a project. Aesthetics are the other main benefit, as a landscape architect will ensure the details of the project work together.

How Much Does A Landscape Architect Cost?

However, to answer do I need a landscape architect, you also must consider the cost. Landscape architects are not inexpensive. On average, they will add 10% to 20% to the cost of a project. Landscape architects will provide construction oversight throughout the project. They will also offer their initial design services for this number. In our opinion it’s almost always a good idea to spend the money. You need to do your due diligence to make sure you’re hiring a landscape architect who will provide a service level you need, and a good way is to ask to speak with previous clients.

Do I Need A Landscape Architect Summary

Ultimately, do I need a landscape architect is a question only you can answer. Any landscape project can demand a design professional, and landscape architects are the ideal professional in most cases. Hopefully now you under the pros and cons of hiring a landscape architect. While an additional expense, they are helpful. You should hire one if you are unsure of what you want. Likewise, hire a landscape architect if you don’t have ample time to manage the project.