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Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist: Start Your Landscaping Project Off on the Right Foot!

Evidently, when a home is beautiful, it helps everyone in it feel much more comfortable and serene. Almost everyone has fantasized about living in a “dream house.” A space with just the right balance of natural and man-made elements is ideal. One way to achieve this is to have some landscaping work carried out in your yard or outdoor areas. However, if you have no clue of how to do landscaping and don't have the time to learn, you better learn how to hire a landscaping specialist to do the job for you.

Who hasn’t dreamt of their abode being the centerpiece of a lush well designed, sculpted garden? It’s a dream shared by many; and the bridge between that vision and the reality of a beautiful landscaped home space, is a landscaping specialist.

Hiring the right landscaping specialist can help you achieve your goal of having a "dream home".

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Landscape designers or architects use specialized and technical know-how, creativity, and designing skills to design, create and maintain gardens, yards, lawns and other outdoor areas. They may also seed flowers, or plant flower beds, as well as trim trees and lawns.

Since landscaping to a great extent determines the overall look of a valuable home, it is one area most home owners take seriously. As indeed they should, for a costly mistake can ruin that beautiful dream of a perfect home. Here are reasons to get a landscaping agent and the ways to latch one completely equal to the task.

Why Should I Hire a Landscaping Specialist? 

Especially considering that procuring the services of one may well cost you in the range of $900-$4000? Well, let’s take a look.

DIY Landscaping May End in Disaster

DIY is okay for a lot of things, but landscaping an area, whether it is a small yard or a much larger space, often involves a lot of technical as well as creative decisions and functions. These, you may possibly not be equipped to handle. Also bear in mind that local building codes can be contravened inadvertently by you in the course of your self-efforts.

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Landscaping typically involves design and the actual construction of the different aspects of the plan, such as softscapes, like soil, trees and flowers, and hardscapes, such as fences, bodies of water, and rocks.

Certain very specialized tasks such as soil tests may also be necessary. Others may include impact assessment of the environment, specialized horticultural and building skills, and conforming to state and local building regulations. These and more may be way out of your league in experience, knowhow and training.

Also and finally, the final results of your DIY may less than accurately fit the glorious picture you had in mind when you started out. It takes a certain professional experience as well as natural creativity to turn a layout into a vision of physical symmetrical beauty.

Saving You from Costly Mistakes

The desire to save money may lead you down the DIY route, but hiring landscaping professionals will definitely prevent you from making mistakes that will ultimately cost you more in the long run. Experience enables fast and informed decisions making. A landscaping professional is knowledgeable about the best materials and labor to use, and the most competitive prices to get them for.

You on the other hand may base decisions on ephemerals like gut feeling or something you saw in a movie. In any event, you certainly will not have enough information and know how to make consistent, informed and creative decisions which are also cost effective.


Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Even if you have a rudimentary or expert understanding of landscaping, you might find you simply cannot spare the time from your regular schedule to do it yourself.

Time spent on layouts and design, and then actual construction may run into weeks.

Management of the finished design may take even longer as many landscaping professionals spend a larger part of their time on maintenance. 


Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

You may find that your initial budget inexplicably balloons when you choose the "Do-It-Yourself" model. Professionals can swing deals on material and labor that may not come so easy for you. They can leverage on sometimes years of dealings with materials suppliers and labor personnel, resulting in favorable rates. They are also able to deal efficiently with eventualities as they arise, having been “around the block” so to speak. 

There are several other compelling arguments for getting a professional for the job. Having decided to do just so, the hiring of the right one for your project is a whole different ball game and should be approached with caution and from a position of knowledge.

How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Have a Personal Vision

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Let’s face it: it is your home and you have to live in it after landscaping is done. Therefore if you end up not liking it, then it’s a failure.

So, in your search for the right landscaping professional, look into your own head. What do you want? What style do you favor? Are there any known landscaping experts who favor this style also? 

Even when your vision is not so clear, still learn to trust it. At the very least you know what you like, and what leaves you numb. Go with architects and designers who lean towards that. You will find that the best designers will constantly seek your opinion as the work progresses, especially in the initial stage.

This is because they understand that landscaping a home is very much a personal project most times, so it is important to carry the home owner along.

Hire Locally

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Wherever possible get a landscape architect or designer from your own area to handle your project. Not only does it suggest that the professional will be more in tune with local labor, materials supply, and laws, it also suggests more available access than, say, with an out-of-towner for you.

In Edmonton & surrounding areas for instance, there are great firms and individuals with a thorough local knowhow who offer expert landscaping services.

Landscaping professionals who reside locally are also useful for after construction maintenance. A firm from out of town may be possibly hampered by distance and unable to effectively give the project the necessary periodic attention.

Also, it is not far-fetched to assume that an out of town firm may eventually cost you more, because they would have to factor in travel and lodging costs when working out of station. Finally, it is easier to get a handle on the exact professional credentials or reputation of a local contractor or architect. People know him or her or have had dealings with the firm. It is easier to form an accurate picture from this accumulated feedback.

Do Your Research

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Getting information about a business or professional has never been easier of course and you can leverage on the efficiency of current communication technology to find out more about potential landscaping designers, architects, contractors, and any other professionals you may need.

Do some due diligence online, making sure to hit the right search words. You may also quiz local companies involved in some landscaping activity. If you see a particular landscaping work you like locally, ask about it. It may just put you in touch with the perfect specialist for your home improvement project.

Put in the work and at the very least you should get a lovely list to eliminate the not so fitting or desirable from. Many professional bodies or associations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects and National Association of Landscape Professionals would be happy to respond to genuine inquiries about their members.

One thing research does for you is that it quickly helps you decide just what kind of landscaping expert you need in the first place. If that seems like a simple enough decision, then you would not have heard of the different types of landscaping professionals you may find useful, such as:

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    Landscape Architects plan and design landscape. They will talk about your ideas and choose appropriate plants and materials for the project. Their ideas and designs are good all the year round. Architects will also be up to date on building code, as well as other city or county regulations.

    Getting one may just be the ticket to save you the embarrassment and expense of tearing down something that infringes on local laws. They may also need to carry out soil tests and other land surveys.
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    Landscape Designers and landscape architects are somewhat the same except for the fact that landscape architects have an academic degree whereas landscape designers typically study in some form of apprenticeship arrangement.

    Designers typically prepare a layout for the work. Some may also be adept at CAD, which is a computer simulation of a proposed landscaping project.
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    Landscape Contractors actually build the designs the previous two come up with. Their functions include building, paving, planting, trimming, and so on. They handle all the practical aspects of the actual work.

    They will also take care of labor, the supply of materials needed, and other details pertaining to the project. If there is a problem with some aspects of the layout, a contractor will usually spot this and ask for a reassessment.
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    Landscape Managers help you maintain the landscaping work in your property. They mow, blow and edge. Any beautiful Landscaping project will quickly become overgrown and ugly if the hedges are not trimmed, and the water bodies kept clear.

    Of course many choose to manage the landscaping around their homes by themselves, but if you have neither the time nor the expertise, a good manager can save a headache.
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    Horticulturists, plant the entire flora in your garden. Lush green and colored plants are the results of a horticulturist’s (also horticulturalist) expert touch. These professionals are capable of designing intricate shapes and forms using naturally growing plants.

    Since plants form the largest part of most landscaping projects, horticulturists are very key to achieving good landscaping results.
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    Arborists handle all matters pertaining to trees. They not only plant, but may also prune, trim, or out rightly remove trees. Arborists usually employ nutritional information and a good knowledge of fertilizers to keep trees healthy.

    They are also conversant with most diseases that affect trees. The International Society of Arboriculture is the professional organization of Arborists.

A Friendly Ear

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Does your potential landscaper listen to you? No matter how naive your ideas are, a landscaping professional who will not hear you out first is a red flag magnet.

What a landscaping architect typically does is use his knowhow to transform your vision into something everyone else can see and appreciate.


Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

You must be clear about your budget when you begin to speak with a Landscaping Specialist about your proposed home improvement.

Landscaping projects can vary in scope, complexity and array from a simple rock garden design to a grand concept of fountains amidst a backdrop of swans on a lake.

All of this naturally has an impact on the price of material and labor, and consequently on your budget. It is important the overall project from design to finished construction fit into your financial outlay. While you should not go with a landscaping expert for the sole reason that he or she is the cheapest around, there must however be a good balance as regards the ultimate cost because this money comes out of your pocket.

Let your budget therefore be a somewhat loose guide to your ideal landscaper, who is also not lacking in other aspects.


Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

While it is true many good landscaping experts are not college educated, a certification of some sort is still helpful in determining which specialist you end up with.

Many professional associations and organizations will certify landscape specialists without a degree. 

Some professional certifications include: CLARB Certification, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA or BSLA), American Society of Landscape Architects, and National Association of Landscape Professionals.


You can hardly ever go wrong with experience. Professionals, just like any other thing, become better with the passing of time. Find a landscaper or firm with solid work experience and you are almost halfway done. Insist on seeing past work done or a portfolio. Where it is at all possible ask for referrals from past clients.

You would do yourself a big favor by actually going to look at some work your potential designer or architect or contractor has done in the past. This will give you ideas about his style and work flow. You can then decide if this is compatible with your vision for your house.

A Great Reputation

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

This works especially well if the landscaping specialist is local. Ask around about landscapers and landscaping in general and see whose name or firm consistently turns up with good word of mouth.

Actual people who have experienced a given designer or contractor first hand are a good source to get a handle on the kind of work experience you should expect yourself. If the individual landscaper or his firm is high-quality, his reputation will usually precede him.

Good Portfolio

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

A picture speaks a thousand words. As you consider choosing a landscaping professional let your eyes also have a large say in the final selection.

Do look at the portfolios or past work of all of the landscaping designers, architects and contractors whom you are considering. 

Chances are you will be able to spot a style that resonates with you, which you can then follow up on, using other criteria. A good portfolio also speaks to the experience of the professional in question.

Get a Contract

Once you are sure the landscaping professional is exactly what and who you are looking for, the next step is to create a contract. Your contract must be very specific in its terms and scope of work. Some features which must be agreed upon are:

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    Price or budget: How much exactly this will cost you must be written into the paperwork. Try to get your expert to work within the stipulated amount.
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    Period of work: Know for sure for how long your money is buying the landscaper’s services. Naturally a good professional may finish well ahead of schedule, but you have a right not to release him or her until you are satisfied that the work has been accomplished to your satisfaction.
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    Scope of work: Don’t pay for a grandiloquent fountain and get a spout instead. As much as possible itemize the softscape as well as the hardscape involved. While you may not be able to include every rock in your garden in the paperwork, you can get as close to the actual size of the project as possible. A layout allows you to see and monitor the progress of work done.
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    Type of Material: Also specify the type and quantity of materials used. This especially concerns ornamental design as opposed to more gritty material like soil.
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    Design: The layout must be the supreme arbiter of whether the project was carried out to specification. CAD or computer Aided Designs can also give a semi-realistic 3D rendering of your expectations. The final result should be as close to the layout or CAD as possible.
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    Labor: Quantity and type of labor is another item that should be included when drawing up the terms of your engagement with the contractor. If you are paying for top skilled workmen, then you should have them.

Insurance And Safety

Landscaping can sometimes involve dangerous, work related activities such as climbing heights, felling trees, digging, and the handling of dangerous power tools and machinery. It is important your contractor has workers insurance sorted out and observes all safety precautions. You could be liable for injury incurred by a worker under worker compensation laws.

Protect yourself by making certain that the contractor you do go with has all of that handled. Many big firms will have all this in place.

Value-added Services

Why and How to Hire a Landscaping Specialist

Landscaping is a long-term project which typically goes beyond the initial design and construction phase. It would relieve you of a lot of stress to get a firm or landscaping expert who offers other services such as management and maintenance.

It helps in the long run when the manager of your landscaping has a history with it. Even in the event of future renovations, a landscaper who has walked side by side with the work from the outset is probably the best place to start.


Nothing is too good for your home. And certainly your space will benefit from a landscaping specialist who understands that. To find the right one does take some doing and time, but it is an investment that will pay off in the long run.

The comfort of your family and the serenity of your home environment is too important to hand over to a professional who is less than expert. The time and effort it takes to find the right professional who then handles the job is well worth it in the long term. When a great job is done you are sure to be happy with the results and see the value of your investment in money and time.

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