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How to Hire a Landscape Designer

Engaging the expertise of a professional landscape designer marks a pivotal step in launching your landscaping endeavor. These seasoned professionals possess the acumen to strategically plan your project, mitigating potential pitfalls and maximizing your return on investment. Selecting the ideal landscape designer for your needs can significantly streamline the entire process. Here are four crucial factors to consider when enlisting the services of a landscape designer:

I. Available Services

Two types of companies may offer landscape design services: design/build firms or full-service firms; and design-only firms.

A design/build firm offers design and construction. The advantage of this type of firm is that it can offer coordinated service to ensure a smoother flow from one phase to another.

Other design firms like Leo Landscape Studio provide design services but then work with separate landscape contractors for the implementation of the design. These firms typically provide excellent quality design because that is their specialization. Further, such firms are not tied to inventories of plants or other materials; nor do they limit the design based on one company’s construction capabilities; and thus sometimes have more freedom to explore innovative designs.

Leo Landscape Studio specializes in residential landscape design, and we work with landscape contractors to ensure a successful design implementation. We will design to maximize the property's potential and provide you with the right documents to get multiple contractors' quotes.

II. Design Philosophy Alignment

Design philosophies are those concepts and feelings that encapsulate a designer’s work; they express particular attitudes towards some or all of the following: (1) aesthetics or what is considered a good design, (2) perceived benefits of design, (3) importance of outdoor space, (4)environmental stewardships, (5) preferred style(s). (6)preferred materials (both structural and plant materials), and (7) methods of working with clients.

Ideally, clients should find designers with design philosophies that match their own set of values and attitudes toward outdoor living. The entire process is much more enjoyable for everyone involved. Here at Leo Landscape Studio, we believe a good design is personal and emotional, and a good design process is intuitive and private to ensure an enjoyable experience as it should be.

Life is beyond four walls, having an outdoor space where we can interact with all the natural elements is truly a unique opportunity and we take pride in helping people seize it.

III. Streamlined Design Process

While the result may exude effortless beauty, the design process itself demands meticulous attention to detail and effective communication between designer and client. A well-structured design process, characterized by frequent client interactions and technological support, ensures alignment of visions and smooth project progression. At Leo Landscape Studio, we prioritize transparency and efficiency, leveraging advanced technology to streamline our design process and deliver exceptional outcomes with minimal hassle.

IV. Transparent Fee Structure

Costs and timelines associated with landscape design services can vary widely, necessitating upfront discussions regarding fee structures. Landscape designers may adopt different pricing models, including hourly rates or project-based fees, influenced by factors such as site size, complexity, and deliverables.

Free: At some design-build firms, your landscape design may be included in the landscape installation cost. You are not permitted to “shop around” on price, nor can you install the project yourself.

Hourly: Rates may range from $50-$150+ per hour: The price ranges are often related to experience or deliverables. A rough hand sketch of your landscape design or an entry-level designer may command the lower end of that range. A principal or senior designer of a firm may charge the upper end of that range. Landscape design/build firms usually fall somewhere in the middle. The number of hours varies greatly too. The re-design of an existing foundation planting may take 10 hours, while a complete master plan may take over 50 hours. Ask for rough estimates at your initial interview.

Per Project: Some designers like us charge design on a per-project basis and the cost of each project is based on a few factors:

  1. Size and condition of the site: e.g. A standard lot size and shape (typical single-family home) costs less than an irregular lot(country property) to design.

  2. Complexity: e.g. A site with minimum existing features and simple terrain costs less than a lot with complex terrain to design.

  3. Deliverables: e.g. A 2D only design costs less than designs with 3D visualizations.

Leo Landscape Studio offers transparent pricing based on project-specific considerations, ensuring fairness and clarity throughout the design process.

A Good Relationship Goes a Long Way

Ultimately, effective communication and mutual trust underpin a successful collaboration, where the designer's expertise complements your vision and goals. At Leo Landscape Studio, we prioritize client input and endeavour to realize their aspirations through informed design decisions. Should you have any inquiries or require assistance in selecting the right landscape designer, we welcome you to reach out to us for personalized guidance and support.


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