Do I Need a Landscape Designer?

Once you’ve decided to give your outdoor space an overhaul or design a garden from scratch for a new property, it can be difficult to know where to start.

For experienced amateur gardeners, there is always the temptation to go it alone and do it yourself. But, depending on your requirements, hiring the right landscape architect or landscape designer can deliver a dream outdoor space for your home. It can also save you money in the long run, by preventing you from making costly mistakes.

Here, we answer the question ‘Do I Need a Landscape Designer?’

Landscape designers can save you money

For many, the thought of engaging a landscape designer means dollar signs. However, it can also be a cost-effective way to get the garden and outdoor space you want. Often it pays to spend a little money up front during the planning phase so you have a master plan that outlines all aspects of the project.

If you have a very complex project with a lot of structural engineering work required, for example, a landscape architect will provide the qualified, expert knowledge for construction drawings. On the other hand, if you’re seeking inspirational design when it comes to planting, a garden designer will be best positioned to discuss horticulture and layouts.

According to Grant Boyle, founder of Fig Landscapes:

A landscape designer is a professional who designs outdoor spaces and gardens by preparing detailed plans, sketches or concepts for clients. They apply knowledge to site specifics as well as the client’s tastes and budgets.

Having a master plan that has considered all the relevant factors also enables you to build the garden overtime without straying from the initial design intent and style.

How a garden designer or landscape architect can help

If you’re asking yourself ‘do I need a landscape designer?’ or considering the DIY approach, take a look at the ways hiring a professional can help.

A reputable garden designer or landscape architect will be best positioned to advise you on the following:

  • Cost
  • Style
  • Layout
  • Materials
  • Planting and supply
  • Lighting
  • Accessories
  • Privacy issues
  • Council approvals and permits

When engaging a landscape designer it’s also important to look beyond credentials. You’ll want to find a designer or architect that has a shared vision for the outdoor space and a personality you can work closely with. The best outcomes for garden designs come from close collaboration between the designer, the installer and client.

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How much does a designer cost?

One of the big factors to discuss when answering the question ‘Do I need a landscape designer?’ relates to budget. How much a garden designer or landscape architect costs will vary according to the size of the project, brief and your location.

Most designers will start their service with an on-site consultation prior to any work being done. This is for the purposes of inspecting to view the location, hear your requirements and discuss ideas.

For these consultation services, you can expect to be charged by the hour. Again, depending on the size of your project and location, these consults can start at $60 and rise to $300.

Clancy sandstone random ashlar retaining wall with planter on top

As a rule, average landscaping costs are between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your home. In terms of total costs, a full garden design service can cost anything between $2,000 and $25,000 depending on the scope. Excavation, building and installation costs will then come on top of this.

If you’re looking to incorporate a swimming pool or an outdoor kitchen then there may be further costs involved.

Take time to research a designer as good design doesn’t have to be any more expensive than bad.

Find out more advice relating to all things outdoors by exploring our Learning Library.

Feature image: Garden by Michael Cooke Garden Design