Should You Hire A Landscape Designer or DIY?

Why should you hire a landscape designer versus do it yourself and save some money?  It's a great question, and one that, in various forms, I've received (and asked myself) since I started my own design company. 

Now, of course, you could say the fact that I am a landscape designer makes me biased (and it does!), but it also gives me a unique perspective.  Based on my experience and what I've learned on the job and in the classroom, there are 5 good reasons why I think you should hire a landscape designer, and why I believe having a professionally designed landscape might actually save you money.

You Aren't Just Buying A Design, You're Purchasing Knowledge

When you work with a landscape designer, part of the value you receive is the designer's knowledge.  Whether it is their education, experience, or (ideally) a combination of both, you are hiring somebody with a knowledge of not only plants, but an understanding of how to create a design that is not only attractive, but functional.

You're Hiring Someone Who Understands the Design Process

So, let's touch a little more on the design aspect of things.  Do you know that when I design, plants are actually the last part of the process? Yep!  Sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true.  If you try to design by picking the plants first, you probably won't end up with a very cohesive, workable landscape, but that is exactly what most people do!

My priority as a designer is actually how the client wants to use their outdoor space and how they want it to look, followed by what will actually work within the constraints and conditions imposed by the current landscape.  Only after I've thought about and researched all these things do I pick out plants.  

A good landscape designer will consider far more than plants in the process of creating a design.

Have Landscape Problems? A Designer Can (Probably) Solve Them.

Every backyard has its issues. Whether it's deer, heavy clay soil, too much shade, or some other irritating issue, every landscape requires some problem solving.

Guess what landscape designers are?  That's right, we're problem solvers! I can't speak to every designer out there, but my training involved learning a lot about soil, insects, plant diseases, and other issues that occur in outdoor spaces. 

Part of the value of a good designer is that you can tell them issues you're having in your landscape, and they can help you solve them. Consider them your outdoor counselors! 

Want to Create A Pinterest Worthy Landscape? Designers Translate Vision to Reality. 

Have you ever flipped through a magazine or scrolled through Pinterest and stumbled upon an absolutely beautiful landscape design? Maybe you even tried to replicate a style in your own landscape, but it didn't quite work out. 

Enter the landscape designer.  

The thing is, no two properties are are the same, and what looks absolutely lovely in one might not perfectly translate to another.  But a landscape designer can take what you love about a certain style and either adapt it to your own landscape. . .or help you understand why it wouldn't work, and what might be even better.  

And Finally. . .A Professional Design Can Help You Avoid Costly Mistakes

I won't sugar coat it, hiring a designer can be expensive!  And that's without including the cost of installing and maintaining the design.  So why invest the money?

I believe that a really good design can actually save you money in the long run.  As I write this post, two reasons for this come to mind (although there are plenty more). 

The first is that you will be using the right plants in the right place, which means a high likelihood that those plants will thrive and not have to be replaced or removed later on.  The second reasons is that most designs will involve hardscaping (walls, walkways, etc) of some sort, and hardscaping is the most expensive part of any design.  You really, really, really want to make sure what is installed will look good and be functional.  If it's not? You might have saved money because you didn't pay for a design, but you lost money (and gained frustration) due to poor choices.

Investing a little money up front on a design can save you lots of money long term.

So In Conclusion. . .

Working with a landscape designer is a wise investment! But, if you're thinking of hiring  designer, it's important to do your research and make sure they're experienced and a good fit for you.  I explore that topic more in depth in this post

And, if you're looking for a landscape designer, I happen to offer just that sort of service

Want to learn more about creating your own, custom landscape design?  Click here to learn more about the DIY Landscape Design School!