Houston Texas is one of the most difficult and challenging climates to design and build landscape gardens in the country. We have heavily compacted soils that when inundated with torrential rains suffocate plants and low lying flood areas that if not installed with a proper drainage system could flood a house. In Houston our temperature extremes from summer drought and 100 degree days to humid fall and spring weather causes plant stress and diseases. These weather extremes also can take their toll on outdoor building elements such as pool and deck surfaces, arbors, and night lighting fixtures. In hiring Houston Landscape Designers, you want not only creative ideas but material know-how, local construction standards, and someone who knows the durability of materials as well. Below we will present the four types of Houston Landscape Designer services available with their positive and negative perspectives as to what they bring to the table for your particular project.
The “design-only” landscape designers
This would be an individual who will meet and provide a design for your landscape but is not involved in the supervision, construction or maintenance of designed elements.
- The positive here is that you could get an overall design of your site or master plan for the property to phase in over time and get alternate bids from various landscape contractors for proposed design elements.
- Some of the plants, materials, and design ideas may not work if the landscape designers do not have regular experience with construction, maintenance and plant care.
- Construction of some elements may be cost prohibitive if budget is not taken into consideration with the design.
- Another understandable problem is that the designer is not responsible or does not have to concern themselves with the implementation of proposed elements.
“Landscape Contractors” as “landscape designers”.
A landscape contractor is usually at the other end of the spectrum from the landscape designer in that they may know how to implement and install a garden but may lack design experience.
- The positive is that you know what it will cost and a landscape contractor will be able to cost out several options or make several proposals to finally arrive at an acceptable budget.
- Another positive is there may be a cost savings and scheduling may happen much quicker because they may do 80% of the installation.
- The negative is that an overall design is often missing.
- The quality of craftsmanship is questionable even with a portfolio.
- The implementation from proposal to built vision might not be fully realized which are conveyed in design plans, material and construction methods chosen.
Horticulturalist as landscape designer. This might be someone who works at a nursery or local garden center. This person have lots of knowledge about soil and plant health as well as the right plant for the right location. A horticulturalist or plants man may not have an overall design vision, knowledge of irrigation systems, drainage systems, patios and walks.
- The positive here would be the variety of plants and proper soil preparation and planting of plant material.
- There could be too much plant variety.
- Could be too much of a plant lover’s garden rather than simple overall home aesthetics.
- Overall design layout of patio, walk and lawn areas might not be as strong.
Landscape Design-Build Company as “designer” and “installer”. In this category responsibility is taken for the overall design, supervision, management and implementation of the landscape plan through completion of all elements to their maintenance.
- Design ideas must be able to be implemented.
- Overall costs are based on actuality.
- Flexibility to phase the project in many ways.
- Intent of the design is carried through the construction process.
- Knowledge, understanding and responsibility for the project as the property continues to be maintained.
- May be some additional costs for over sight and general contracting of elements.
The Design-Build process is the most ideal scenario because all design decisions, construction, installation, costs and maintenance of the entire project are taken into consideration representing the most experienced view.
Choosing Houston landscape designers is a difficult task. Considerations including like ability of the designer and fit with their style of work are all essential. In the end analysis one has to decide if compromising price is also compromising quality and value of work.