Why You Should Hire a Landscape Designer to Work on Your Next Project

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated May 4, 2022
children run through a backyard
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  • A landscape designer takes your outdoor spaces to the next level.

  • A home with a well-designed landscape can fetch 1%–10% more than homes without.

  • A landscape designer costs, on average, $4,500.

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Whether you’ve never had a green thumb or you’re simply looking for a professional’s knowledge to help you choose the best plants for your region, a landscape designer is an excellent way to maximize whatever outdoor space you have. They’ll thoughtfully consider the ways your family wants to use the space, from a children’s play area to a Monarch butterfly sanctuary. 

What Is a Landscape Designer?

Simply put, a landscape designer helps you both plan and design your garden, hardscape materials, and overall strategy for your outside space. Their expertise applies to whatever way you wish to use it, whether as a children’s play area, a patio for entertaining, a haven for migrating butterflies, or a spot to sit and birdwatch. 

These pros might offer ideas not only for flowers, hedges, and other greenery, but will help you determine the best placement as well as lighting, water features, and hardscape options. They can advise on other details, like irrigation and hardscaping layout, but typically, a landscape designer does not hold a license for construction drawings. 

There is no required formal education for landscape design work, and some landscape designers are self-taught. However, many do hold some kind of educational background in residential design. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) has certifications for members, so you could ask any potential landscape designers you might hire if they are affiliated with APLD or have been certified with them.

Some designers simply design the space and hand you the plans at the end of their time working for you to pass on to a local landscape contractor. Other designers also include plant purchases and installation.

In addition, some designers will also maintain your landscaping for a determined amount of time. It’s important to ask the landscape designers you are considering what their package includes. The average cost to hire a landscape designer is $4,500.

Why Should I Hire a Landscape Designer?

There are many reasons to consider hiring a landscape designer to plan your outdoor areas. You might hire a landscape designer to:

  • Improve wildlife habitats and encourage native plants and animals to thrive.

  • Create a more sustainable space.

  • Enhance the “flow” of your yard, making it easier for people and pets to move around

  • Inspire your space if you just moved in, your yard is completely barren, and you’re drawing a blank on backyard design ideas.

  • Boost curb appeal before you sell; well-landscaped homes can be worth 1%–10% more than homes without professional landscaping.

Landscape designers will be able to address and handle all of these issues. They will know which parts of the design to contract out and to whom, which tools are best to use to complete the job, and how to create an outdoor space that creates harmony for you, your family, your pets, and the wildlife in your region.

The Process of Working With a Landscape Designer

A closeup of landscape design plans
Photo: Toa55/iStock/Getty Images

The process of working with a landscape designer starts with you selecting a few to discuss your ideas work—a shortlist of possible hires, if you will. Select ones whose design examples match your aesthetic and have similar experiences to what you’re asking them to do. 

1. Initial Consultation

During the first consultation, you will meet the designer and discuss your goals and aesthetic preferences for the space. Some designers will charge a small fee for the consultation, while others will do it free of charge. Make sure to come with questions for your landscape designer during the consultation, such as:

  • Which services does your package include?

  • Do you have references?

  • Can I see examples of past work?

  • What is your process like?

  • What are the payment terms?

  • How long do you think the project will take to complete?

  • How much maintenance will be required to keep my garden healthy?

2. Concept Review

After you hire a landscape designer, they will prepare a concept plan for you to review. This concept should be open to your feedback, edits, and suggestions.

3. Final Plan

After getting feedback on the concept, the landscape designer will present their final plan for your outdoor spaces, including a detailed spatial layout for the space.

4. Planting Plan

This working drawing is for the contractor, but your designer should also review it with you. It will include all the to-be-planted plants, their botanical names, container sizes, locations, and any instructors.

5. Additional Plans

If your designer is also suggesting lighting, water features, or other backyard components, they might submit additional plans for these designs, also meant for a contractor.

6. Installation

If the designer has their own team, they will bring them in to complete the installation. If not, they usually will help you review construction bids so you can hire with confidence.

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