Landscape consultants design and oversee the construction of every element of outdoor living. This includes hardscape design, outdoor architecture, garden design, and a host of other botanical and architectural services that create an exterior world comparable to that of an indoor custom home.
Due to the fact that often diverse and very complex elements must harmoniously work together to create a unified outdoor design, landscaping professionals work from a carefully drafted document that is commonly referred to either as a landscape design plan or a landscape master plan.
Developing such a plan requires an expertise in more than landscaping on the part of the consulting designer.
A solid knowledge of home architecture, botany, construction theory, soil science, and swimming pool design is also necessary to develop the conceptual details of each element prior to any physical labor being done.
The planning phase begins with a property analysis where the architecture of the home and the surrounding topography is carefully studied. The aesthetic of your house is the keynote of the aesthetic here. Your home is both a symbol of your lifestyle and the environment in which your indoor living occurs.
The intent of landscaping is to extrapolate your indoor, personal living experience outdoors so your entire property becomes something equivocal to the inside of your home.
To do this, your landscape consultant must candidly share with you any discoveries of lot, utility, land grade, and easement limitations that are discovered. Knowing what can and cannot be realistically done does not negate giving the homeowners what they want.
It simply grounds desire in practicality and reality and helps to focus the planning process in a way that avoids waste, unexpected costs, and potential disappointments that inevitably result from negligence or poor planning.
Your landscape designer will then conduct a botanical survey of the existing vegetation on your lot. Some of this, like lawn grass, indigenous plant life, and trees, are often transferable to your landscape master plan.
In other instances, plants are basically weeds that need to be eliminated. Or, you may have a beautiful shrub or tree that has been critically damaged by lighting, insects, or disease and simply needs to be replaced with more hardy plant life.
An ethical landscape consultant will pull no punches on the truth when it comes to cleaning up gardens, flower beds, certain types of grasses, and trees that simply do not work.
Some of these plants may have sentimental value to the homeowner, but the truth is, disease and death spread from leaf to leaf and cannot be tolerated in the presence of something new and vital that is soon to be introduced.
On the upside of all of this, the landscaper will eventually help you transfer your gut feelings, personal wishes, and “I’ve always wanted list” into an aesthetically pleasing garden and lawn design that will certainly look better than what you have currently been living with.
However, before the new softscape (vegetation) is introduced, hardscape structures are planned first. While this may seem to be a reverse order or priority to the average homeowner, it is actually quite logical when we consider that surfaces constitute living space, and structure creates comfort and amenity.
Landscapers have to add surfaces like patios, masonry walls, and outdoor rooms to landscapes in order to both accommodate basic human needs and to create zones of interest to which gardens, new trees, hedges, shrubs, flower beds, and special types of grass can be added in more eye-catching ways.
Landscape consultants also integrate the foundational elements of light and water into every master plan. For homeowners who want a swimming pool, designers plan the minutest details of size, dimension, geometry, special features, and construction materials. Then, they bring in a pool company to do the actual building.
For other water features like natural ponds and fountains, landscape consultants create focal points for meditation, conversation, and altered states of consciousness based upon the parameters of home architecture, landscape design theme, and personal homeowner taste.
Landscapers should continue to work with clients after the project is completed. Gardens, lawns, and trees require ongoing care. Lighting fixtures may need to be occasionally replaced.
Most importantly, people need to know they can turn to an expert any time they have a question. Landscape consultants routinely answer questions about wildlife management, pond and pool cleaning, pruning, garden maintenance, and tree services.
Many homeowners, upon getting all the facts on such considerations, often invest in a landscape maintenance contract that evolves out of their specific needs.