You are more likely to achieve your landscaping goals by hiring a professional landscaper—no matter if your project is a themed garden, like an English garden design or a Mediterranean landscape design, a small garden design that only encompasses landscape planting or a complex construction project. A well-versed Houston professional landscaper will take into account not only your desires, but the specific challenges of this region: dense soil, weather conditions of the Gulf coast, drainage issues, and likely insect infestations and plant diseases.
Choosing a Professional Landscaper
Begin the process by distinguishing between off-the-shelf and a professional designer who can capture your vision for your landscape. During the preliminaries, visit the company website and ask to see a portfolio to determine if the design firm under consideration has a sense of style that complements your own. Ultimately, you want a professional who can design a landscape that reflects your home’s architecture and your lifestyle.
As you begin the early discussions, be as specific as possible about what you want the end design to look like. Perhaps you would enjoy hardscapes, like a well-thought-out patio design or pool design, eye-catching gates or interesting pathways. Maybe you like to entertain, something that calls for an outdoor kitchen. Understanding these landscape elements, their relationships to each other and the open space, and interpreting them well distinguishes a Houston professional landscaper working in the top echelon.
After selecting a landscape professional and the subsequent exploratory discussions, the next steps involve meetings, site analysis, program of uses, and use of the design professional’s expertise. During the conceptual phase, the landscape professional develops the overall design and puts it onto paper. The resulting documents will show such specifics as lawn areas, plantings, areas of general use and their sizes, irrigation systems and drainage systems, landscape lighting, and the projected overall cost.
Once you have agreed to the designer’s overall layout and made general material selections, it is time for the implementation and construction phase. This phase comes with its own set of landscaping design drawings for documentation purposes:
- For permitting.
- To convey final design intent and material selections for you and the installation contractors.
- To specify materials and installation methods. This paperwork is also known as construction documents.
In the permit arena, each governing body has its own set of requirements for landscape plan approvals. Usually a submittal of the permitting package will be accepted or rejected by a committee. This checkpoint illustrates why it is important to hire a knowledgeable professional, as they will know what information to include—items like engineered drainage plans, pool fencing layout, lot coverage ratios and specifications.
Taking the Long View
In choosing among Houston landscape designers, remember that it makes sense to use a design firm that also performs the project management and landscaping installation. Jeff Halper, landscape specialist with Exterior Worlds, says, “You want someone who not only has great ideas, but also knows local contractors and their methods of construction, the best use of materials and their availability, and overall budget development and containment. In other words, you want a landscaper who can bring you a landscape design that thrives in the Houston climate—and is on-time and on-budget.”
Exterior Worlds has specialized in landscape design and services since 1987 for high-end communities like the Memorial Villages, including Hunter Creek Village, Piney Point Village, Bunker Hill Village and Hedwig Village, Tanglewood and River Oaks.