Designing Wisely: The Importance Of Landscape Design

Craig Hutchinson, President of Lawrence Park Complete Garden Care, recently contributed an article to Neighbours of Lawrence Park South Magazine about choosing a landscape designer. Here’s his article as it appears.

With the warmer weather upon us, homeowners begin to take the opportunity to relax, play, and entertain family and friends outdoors.

It also gives you an opportunity to work on the aesthetic of your home’s exterior, improving its usability and visual appeal through planting a garden, building a deck, or completely making over your outdoor living space. Beautiful landscape construction adds functionality to your home’s exterior, contributes to the beauty of your neighbourhood, and increases your property value.

Many homeowners have a vision of how their outdoors should look and, in the current do-it-yourself culture, might be tempted to start a complicated project themselves. But getting in too deep too quickly, without a practical, well-thought out plan or a steady, experienced hand to guide them, homeowners risk spoiling their vision and abandoning their dream altogether, leaving disappointment and a messy landscape in their wake.

Benefits of working with a landscape designer

To conceive, develop, and ultimately build an outdoor living space that suits your needs, working with a landscape designer before putting a shovel in the ground is a wise move.

There are many benefits to hiring a professional landscape designer.

  • First of all, you might have a landscaping need but no idea how to build it. You can rely on your designer’s years of landscape experience to develop proven solutions that deliver the needed results.
  • Your designer can also act as a trusted advisor, making sure that the ideas you develop together are actually buildable, sustainable, and work harmoniously with the local ecosystem.
  • Perhaps most importantly, your designer can provide guidance on keeping your budget in check. They know what things cost, how long they take to build, and can offer advice on what you can get for the amount of money you have available to spend. Even if your dream project is over budget, your designer can come up with practical ideas to build in phases over a few years.
  • Finally, at the end of the design process, you’ll have a set of professional drawings you can present to the builder. These drawings contain all the information builders need to formulate a quote, and will ultimately make the actual construction smoother, faster, and more cost efficient.

How can a landscape designer help?

The relationship you develop with your designer starts at the initial meeting, where you will discuss a whole range of topics about your project, such as:

  • How you will use the outdoor space
  • Materials you would like to build with, and those you want to avoid
  • Which colours best suit the aesthetic of your home and surroundings
  • Particular style needs that match your lifestyle
  • When work can begin, and when you need it completed by
  • Ideas on maximizing your budget without compromising quality

To get the most out of the design process, allow two weeks from the initial meeting to the final drawings. In the meantime, your designer will be busy planning, measuring, and researching the best solutions that meet your needs. You will also have the last word over any changes to the design or materials before the final drawings are delivered.

With drawings in hand, you’re ready to approach contractors for quotes on construction. Don’t forget to ask your designer for a quote as well, if their company also offers construction services. It’s to your advantage to have your designer manage the actual build because they’re already familiar with the project, can make knowledgeable suggestions for changes or upgrades, and can act as a trusted advisor if you have any questions during construction.

Craig Hutchinson is co-owner of Lawrence Park Garden Care. You can reach him at 416-481-1888 or email [email protected]