Why do I need a Landscape Designer?
When you hire a landscape designer, you should end up with a intelligently designed and cohesive plan that addresses all the needs and wants you have for your yard. If you need to do your landscape installation in phases, you have one plan with one design aesthetic, so the final result creates a landscape that all works together. A landscape designer can address a wide range of landscape issues, including pools, fireplaces, patios, drainage, yard structures, walls, water features and correct plant placement for your site. A beautiful landscape can add lasting value to your home as well as creating an environment that you can enjoy with your family for years to come. Hire a landscape designer before having any work done in your yard, including pool installation.
What does APLD mean?
APLD stands for Association of Landscape Designers. Any landscape designer may apply to be a member, but CERTIFIED Landscape Designers have received advanced training in landscape design specifically and have also passed a rigorous certification process. The goals of APLD are to advance landscape design as an independent profession and to promote the recognition of landscape designers as highly qualified, dedicated professionals. You can find out more about APLD at www.apld.com.
How do I choose the right Designer?
Interviewing designers can be fun and exciting. Spend time in your yard with them, talking about the project. A qualified designer should have a portfolio to show you examples of their work. Some designers have a particular style. If so, is it suited to how you want your landscape to look? Ask for references, examples of the finished design documents, and photos of actual installations. Ultimately, you need to pick the designer you feel best suits you, someone you feel “gets” you. You want someone who listens to what you want and brings new ideas while also respecting your own style and that of your house. It’s good to interview a few designers to decide which one you feel best suits you.
What services does Casa Serena provide?
Casa Serena is a residential landscape design company. We do not do the actual installation of your design. Depending upon what company does your installation, I can be involved with the installation in various ways, such as checking plant placement or shopping with you for hardscape materials, fountains, pots, tile or other elements of your design.
What is it, exactly, that I am buying from you?
That depends on which service you buy. At the end of the Custom Design process, you will receive a 1-4 page, 18" x 24" scaled design document that specifically details every element of your landscape design. Hardscape materials will be specified, plants will be identified, new design elements will be measured and specifically placed in relation to your home and existing landscape elements, grade changes will be indicated and detailed drawings of new elements should be provided as needed. Some items can not be identified because they may be things you, the home owner, will need to shop for, such as fountains or pots. Your final design will provide the details and information needed for you to submit to your Home Owners Association for approval and to get bids from landscape installation companies.
At the end of the Quick Fix, you have a small drawing and a list of plants and resources. You may choose to have me provide you with an installation bid at no extra charge. The Quick Fix solution is intended for small areas, not for large yards or complete renovations.
How do I find an installation company?
At the end of our design process, I will provide you with a list of reputable, high-quality licensed installation companies. Call the company, tell them you had a design done by a professional landscape designer and you’d like a bid for installation. They will arrange to get copies of the design from you and will draw up a bid based on the design. They may also want to do a site visit prior to presenting your bid.
Hire a licensed contractor!
As with hiring a landscape designer, ask the contractor for references, and consider how well you feel the contractor listens to you. Also weigh the construction costs against the quality of their work and their reputation. Contact the Registrar of Contractors or the Better Business Bureau to verify that your contractor is working legally and has no complaints against them. It is illegal for any unlicensed construction contractor to perform work over $1000.00. There is little or no recourse if you hire an unlicensed contractor and are unhappy with their work.
How do I decide which bid to accept?
Cost is always the first item clients check on a bid, and it is an important element. I urge you to spend some time cross referencing your bids to make sure that all the same items are included in all the bids. ALL BIDS SHOULD BE ITEMIZED AND EASILY UNDERSTANDABLE TO THE LAY PERSON. If you have questions, call and ask for an explanation. And as with choosing a designer, how you feel about the company is important as well. If a company representative takes a long time to return a bid or doesn’t return phone calls while you are trying to hire them, the customer service probably won’t improve later when they already have your business.
What happens after I accept a bid?
After you sign your contract, the company should be able to provide you with information on when they will begin work and how long they anticipate it will take them to complete your installation. You have the right to ask for updates as the project progresses. Most installation companies have subcontractors they work with, and they cannot completely control that other company. Still, it is in your contractor’s best interest to keep you happy and well informed on the progress of the job.
How much will my landscape cost to install?
As with everything, the final cost of a landscape design varies greatly and depends on the complexity of the design, as well as what needs to be done to the existing landscape to achieve the final design. According to research done by a Tucson magazine, a general guide is to aim to spend at least 20% of your current home price on your landscape and patio design and installation. A beautifully installed landscape can add to the resale cost of a home. If you're planning to sell your home in a few years, you may be able to get up to 100% return on your investment at resale. If 20% of your home’s value is out of reach right now, talk with your landscape designer about phasing ideas or ways in which the design can be scaled down to achieve the desired effect in a more financially viable way.