Not every job around your property requires a professional but when you are making dramatic changes, changing the grade of the soil, or installing retaining walls over four feet in height it really benefits you to work with a Landscape Architect.
For some projects you will actually need a Landscape Architect to provide plans to your local building official. Grading a large property in a way that can change water runoff or if you are installing a pond may require both local and state conservation permits. The authority that will approve your project will set standards on if plans need to be provided and if a survey of the property before and after the work is needed.
For projects that do not require a Landscape Architect you may still want to hire them if you expect to change the look and feel of your property dramatically. The less expensive choice would be to hire a designer however designers that are not certified architects will not have full training in all of the possibilities you can expect in a large landscape makeover.
For projects that are less extensive with budgets under $50,000 you may find that a good landscaping company can provide a design layout of changes with a price breakdown and time sheet to outline your project.
Hiring a Landscape Architect and Setting a Budget
Budgeting is always a large factor of any big project. In addition to the costs for materials which you may have in your mind already is the cost of labor and professional services.
Depending on the project and your location you can expect to pay from $75 to $150 per hour for Landscape Architect Services.
Simple projects that only require a layout will cost less then projects that require a survey and measured stamped plan for submission to building officials.
Your first step should be a 30 minute interview. Call and ask for an interview appointment where you can explain your job and see prior work. There should be no charge for an interview meeting but don’t expect to walk away with completed plans.
During the interview ask what the design costs will be for the project, whether you will need to submit plans for approval and if the Architect works as a general contractor or can suggest local businesses to perform the work for the project.
Most architects are independent or work inside larger businesses. It is not normal that they will supervise or general contract your job but they may come out during the work or be there for the contractor to contact about specifics.
It is important that even after a plan is approved and provided to the landscaping contractor that the Architect be available. This should also be accounted for in your price and a minimum number of hours should be allowed for visiting the work site and correcting problems.