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How to Hire a Design Pro ~ J. Montgomery Designs, a Landscape Architecture Firm

This backyard contains a dipping pool with a firepit, decorative stone boulders and epi wood seating.

This backyard contains a dipping pool with a firepit, decorative stone boulders and epi wood seating.

Front yard colorful planting and pathway with sweeping greenery.

Front yard colorful planting and pathway with sweeping greenery.

Nightscape backyard with pergola, firepit, outdoor kitchen and custom pool.

Nightscape backyard with pergola, firepit, outdoor kitchen and custom pool.

Here are some basic guidelines to think about when starting on the exciting process of hiring a Landscape Architecture professional.

At J. Montgomery Designs, we create carefully tailored spaces that capture the spirit of our clients and the soul of their land.”

— J. Montgomery Designs

ALAMO, CA, USA, September 22, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — Although some Landscape Architects and Landscape Designers have overlapping abilities, there are major key differences in the legality of their designs.

What’s the difference? It boils down to what the design pro can legally design for your landscape. A Landscape Architect has undergone a licensure process governed by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which requires knowledge of local construction codes, laws and permitting, and grading and drainage sciences, among other things. Why does this matter? If your home is built on a hill, and want a terraced patio or need major retaining walls, almost definitely a Landscape Architect is needed. To build a covered patio addition or sun-room off of the house, call a Landscape Architect. Want an in-ground swimming pool? Most of the time, it’s best to call a Landscape Architect.

But what if the landscape requires no major earth-moving, retaining walls, or architectural structures? Many stunning landscapes are built without any of this, hiring a Landscape Designer is also an option. Landscape Designers are not licensed, so they may or may not have received the formal training of Landscape Architects, and they may or may not have equal degrees of experience. A Landscape Designer can legally design landscapes with close-to-the-ground patios, low non-retaining walls and seat walls, fire features and fountains, irrigation, lighting, rockwork and planting design. Landscape Architects can also do this kind of work (and many enjoy it!) so don’t take them off the list of possibilities!

Don’t forget to consider other factors when deciding who to hire. Reputation of course is key, and not just professional reputation! Referrals from friends or family are just as helpful when it comes to who to work with. Portfolios and online galleries are also a great way to get a sense of the pro’s spectrum of styles. Of course, it’s also important to consider the reality of costs- make sure that you are up-front about what works for you, and understanding what is included in the design estimate (sometimes a higher estimate is more inclusive and might be worth it!)

When you first meet with a design pro, a lot of questions are going to come up. Some firms (including ours) may actually ask you to fill out a questionnaire to get to know you and the home’s landscape. If you’re wondering what to expect, questions like these are likely to come up.

Example Questions:

How do you see yourself using your future landscape? (Outdoor dining, swimming, growing vegetables, etc.) Are there existing areas on your site where you know you want some of these activities to take place?

Who else do you expect to be using the landscape (kids, dogs, large parties of guests, etc.) How would you like your landscape to cater to them?

Would you like to see a master plan of the entire landscape, or to focus in on specific areas to be designed? What are the areas of most immediate importance if they do exist?

On your end, feel free to ask anything. It’s important to understand as much as possible so that you can find the best match for you! Here at J. Montgomery Designs, we feel that listening and communicating are the most important parts of our job, along with a sense of humor of course! We do this a lot, after all!

Debbie Bumbhardt
J. Montgomery Designs
+1 925-820-8884
[email protected]
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