The first step in choosing a landscape designer is to determine the budget. How much money do you have available for this project? 

The second step is to create three lists.

  • Look at your landscape. Create a list that contains everything you want to remove from your garden. Tired of that old ’80s hot tub you never use? Put it in the “GET-Rid-OF List.
  • Write a second list that contains everything you like about your existing landscape. You love that DIY slate patio you installed 5 years ago. It’s perfect. 
  • You dream of a Douglas spruce pergola – a vine and wisteria pergola that provides shade for a table that seats sixteen. But you don’t know if this makes sense or even if you can afford it. Put it on your wish list.

Write everything down, even if you can’t imagine how it will fit together. These lists don’t have to be perfect or defined. The idea is to develop some clarifications for you. With your three lists and your budget in mind, choosing a landscape designer will be a lot easier.

Contact your local friends, family and day care centers to get local recommendations. Interview with two or three local landscape architects. Ask them about their design process and discuss any concerns about the project. See if they are suitable for you personally.

  • Does this person want to impose a design on you?
  • Is he willing to work with you to create a space that suits your microclimate and the aesthetics of your design?
  • Discuss the costs in all the details necessary to make you feel comfortable moving forward. Let him or her know your budget.
  • Listen to his feedback. Is your budget reasonable? Is this designer willing to collaborate with you on a project that fits your budget?
  • Before moving on, make sure you have a written contract detailing costs, the change order process, and a timeline.