Should I hire a landscaper or do it myself? It can feel like a tough call, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. But, ask those who’ve done it themselves and you’ll most likely hear an emphatic: “Hire a landscape designer!” Doing so will save you time and money, and can deliver a significant return on investment. Upping your curb appeal will all but guarantee an increase in home value – by as much as 20% in some cases!
Hiring a landscape designer will save you TIME
There tends to be two types of people when it comes to tackling big projects – the cautious and the carefree. The cautious person spends so much time researching that they end up with analysis paralysis and can’t get out of the starting block. Then there’s the carefree person who barrels forward without a concrete plan … and, more often than not, ends up starting again.
A professional landscape designer saves both the cautious and the carefree a ton of time by applying their formal education, extensive horticultural knowledge, and years of experience to your project. You should expect a landscape designer to:
- Ask the right questions to ascertain your goals
- Holistically assess your property
- Make a plan that will meet your needs
- Custom-create a design with your input
- Execute the design, on time and on budget
What’s the difference between a landscape architect and designer?
This is a good – and common – question. As a homeowner, you need a landscape designer.
In short, landscape designers plan and execute outdoor residential spaces, whereas landscape architects plan outdoor commercial spaces. A landscape designer has first-hand knowledge of horticulture; is interested in designing a space that will enhance the homeowners’ quality of life; and takes an active role in design execution.
A landscape architect, in contrast, is an engineer with some horticultural knowledge who will engage an expert in the selection of plants and will maintain project oversight, as opposed to execution. Their primary interest is in complementing the architecture of the building; how people feel in the outdoor space is secondary.
When should I hire a landscape designer?
There are two sides to this question – time of year and type of project.
In terms of time, there are benefits to hiring a designer anytime of the year. Engaging an expert ahead of Missouri’s growing seasons is wise because it will help you get a sense of when work can begin and end, and how you can prepare for the project. Plus you can go ahead and get your job on their calendar before it fills up.
Connecting with a designer when your plants of interest are thriving and in bloom is advantageous too. Rather than relying solely on renderings and photographs, you can see Lee’s Summit and areas near Kansas City at their best, and picture how specific plants will look on your property.
In terms of project type, there are most definitely some that are best left to the experts, including:
- Creating a design around new construction
- Preparing to sell your home
- Designing and installing hardscapes (especially important to hire someone!)
- Working around or installing irrigation systems or electrical wiring
Hiring a landscape designer will save you MONEY
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that hiring a landscape designer will cost you less than doing the work yourself – but it will!
If you’re in the carefree camp mentioned above, you are likely well aware of the money wasted as a result of your whole-hearted enthusiasm to get things done. The carefree won’t usually take the time to consider the long game and assess the soil condition, erosion and flooding patterns, sun exposure versus shade coverage etc. They may unknowingly make poor decisions, like putting plants too close to the house or too close together or in the wrong spot on the property, and end up with dead and stunted plants that do nothing for curb appeal. Fixing these landscaping mistakes costs the carefree homeowner so much more in the end.
The cautious DIYer, on the other hand, often misses the boat altogether. They spend so much time planning by the book, that they ignore Mother Nature’s cues to get plants in the ground on time. They’re either too early or too late, and like the carefree gardener, end up with dead and stunted plants.
So, is it worth paying a landscape designer? For numerous reasons – it’s absolutely worth it! And a good landscape design company will help you to break your project into phases so you can implement your plan as your budget allows.
How much should I spend on landscape design?
The amount you spend on landscaping will depend on the condition of your property before the work begins and the services required to bring your vision to life.
In the Kansas City area, most landscapers charge between $15 and $25 per square foot for the installation of a basic design, and between $4 and $12 per square foot for maintaining the design. Of course, more elaborate designs will cost more to install and maintain, and the addition of hardscaping will raise the price too. Ballpark, homeowners can earmark between $5,000 and $15,000 to upgrade their landscaping.
What questions should I ask a landscape designer?
One of the great things about working with a landscape designer is the dialogue. You will have questions of them, and they in turn will have many questions for you – it’s a collaborative partnership from first shovel to full bloom.
Ahead of choosing your landscape designer, consider asking:
- What services do you offer?
- What are your credentials and experience?
- Do you have a portfolio of completed work?
- Do you offer free property consultations?
- When can my project begin, and how long might it take?
- Can I break my project into phases?
- What can I do to prepare for the project?
- Will you be on site?
We can’t wait for you to ask the Evolving Landscapes team these questions – between our nearly 20 years in the Kansas City area and our steller portfolio, we’ll knock your socks off with our answers! We look forward to working together!