Are you thinking of a new landscape project for your home? Contacting a professionally trained landscape designer should be your first step before moving forward with any project and here's why. What are the professional requirements to become a landscape installer? There isn't any, in fact anybody with a pickup truck and lawn mower can represent themselves as a landscaper. Formal landscape training is not necessary unfortunately.
In the field of landscape design, a homeowner has several options on who they can seek for landscape planning:
Lawn mowing contractor: Mowing contractors whose bulk of work is from mowing lawns, often have little training in landscape design but they will often advertise as landscape installers and designers. You can qualify a contractor's design skill set by having them identify existing plant material in your yard, If the contractor can not identify at least 80% of the plantings by name, they probably are not the best source for landscape design advice.
Landscape Companies: That mainly provide mowing, hardscape and planting services may also promote design services. Plant identification is again a great way to judge a contractor's knowledge during a consultation as well as asking about their experience and training.
Design/Build Landscape Companies: Landscape companies that have a dedicated designer on staff who can meet with clients to define design objectives, develop a comprehensive landscape design and supervise the landscape installation. Design/build firms are a great place to start for homeowners, although the designer's background can vary between companies so it's important to work with a designer you have confidence in. Often when a landscape company has a dedicated designer on staff, a design fee may be charged to cover their time. It can take between 10 - 20 hours for a designer to meet with a homeowner, define their goals and budget, measuring and analysis of the property, creating a comprehensive landscape design and presentation of final design work. Landscape design fees can range between $200-$500 on average. Free designs are great, but you will usually get what you pay for. To become a landscaper or a landscape designer does not require a college degree or the completion of any landscape specific training or even having a minimum level of experience to operate in the landscape field. The only profession that does set standards that need to be satisfied is the licensed profession of Landscape Architecture.
Landscape Architect: This profession requires a 4-5 year college degree, Bachelor or Masters in Landscape Architecture from a accredited university. After graduation, you are required to spend two years working under a Licensed Landscape Architect and then passing the national and state Landscape Architecture exams. The exams test one's knowledge in many areas such as project and construction management, inventory and analysis, landscape design, grading, drainage and construction documentation. Landscape Architects typically are contracted to complete design and construction drawings and preparing bid ready drawings for contractors. Landscape Architects are certainly the best trained in the field of landscape design and are capable of planning large commercial projects as well as residential landscapes. This degree of training and experience does not come cheap, residential design fees can be in the thousands and smaller landscape budgets may not warrant the design expense.
Rochester Landscape Designs, Inc. is a residential landscape design and build firm located in Webster, NY. We do not provide lawn mowing services, as we choose to focus on landscape design preparation and landscape installation. With over twenty five years designing residential landscapes, we offer free estimates on all the designs. We provide the installation services of patios, walkways, outdoor lighting, walls, pools and sheds! Additional services such as property maintenance and landscape repairs, drainage systems, lawns and grading are also areas we estimate and contract with homeowners.
I received my Landscape Architecture degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University and have been involved in the landscape field since 1990! I feel that my strengths are maintaining good relationships with my clients long term, I'm well trained in horticulture, plant identification, construction and have always tried to keep up with current landscape trends!