A Guide to Beautiful Landscaping
Start with a professionally designed landscape plan
It is important to hire a designer before any exterior work begins, including pool construction. A Professional Landscape Designer can create a comprehensive plan, including plants, patios, walls, pools, water features, BBQs, fireplaces and shade structures to ensure that your finished landscape is functional and beautiful, and adds lasting value to your home.
Find the right Landscape Designer for you
There are many Landscape Designers to choose from, but not all are equally qualified. Before you hire someone, be sure to ask about his or her background and schooling, review his portfolio and check his references. Also, some designers have a particular style or personality that you may prefer to work with. Think of it as an interview process. Another consideration is that some designers cater more to offering “package” landscape design versus “custom” landscape design services and then there is the “customized landscape design package”. All of which are fine, depending on what you are looking for.
What you can expect from a Professional Landscape Designer
As part of providing you with a comprehensive plan, your designer should listen and be responsive to what you are trying to achieve. The plan is a communication tool between you, the designer and the contractor. The plan needs to be an accurate, scaled drawing with enough detail, including grading elevations, so that everyone knows what to expect. An accurately detailed plan also allows the contractor to give you an accurate and customized bid for construction.
Just as there are many different Landscape Designers there are also many different fee structures. Like anything else, you get what you pay for. As part of the interview process, weigh the design fees against the designer’s qualifications and experience.
A very important discussion to have with your designer as part of the interview process is about a realistic budget for the project. Construction costs can vary greatly depending on the scope of the project, and are very difficult to predict until the plan is completed. Nonetheless, budgets must be discussed so that the designer is able to create a plan that you can afford to implement. Because construction costs can be more than what you want to invest, compromises can then be explored as part of the design process.
Hire a Licensed Contractor
Contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors at 888-271-9286 or www.rc.state.az.us to verify that your contractor is working legally and has no complaints against him. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors is responsible for ensuring that Licensed Contractors perform work per industry standards. It is illegal for any unlicensed construction contractor to perform work over $1,000. There is little or no recourse if you hire an unlicensed contractor and are unhappy with their work.