South Florida Landscape Construction: Hiring the Right Professionals
Landscape construction involves semi-permanent or permanent installations and is a great investment for any home. These projects can cause anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the scope of the project.
Many professionals are involved in landscape work. Landscape design involves a distinct set of challenges. It deals with a powerful medium – living plants that evolve and change over time. Landscaping also deals with such factor in the environment as seasonal change, drainage and grading. It is therefore crucial that you hire the right qualified individual.
Softscapes and Hardscapes
Landscape construction consists of two categories: softscapes and hardscapes. Softscapes are installations of plants and organic materials including soil, trees, grass, shrubs, perennials and annuals. It also includes such services as landscape architecture, landscape design, landscape renovation, ornamental tree and bed installations and creating a master plan for large residences and estates.
Hardscapes includes the installation of wood fences, pavers and stones. It also includes such stonework services as the construction of fireplaces, fire pits, barbecue, outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, fencing, wood arbors and decks. Water features such as ponds, fountains, waterfalls and dry river beds are also hardscapes.
Hiring the Right Professionals
To set the parameters straight with regards to hiring the right professional, you need to be aware of the distinction between a landscape architect, a landscape designer and a landscape contractor.
Landscape architects are holders of a bachelor’s degree or with a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture. They have passed the exams given by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and are licensed by the state to design and implement landscape projects.
An established landscape architect has the skills and experience to work on difficult issues such
- Designing where to place parking areas, driveways, entries and service lines.
- Solving elevation issues
- Designing the look of outside structures
- Deciding where to place drainage and irrigation systems
- Designing along steep slopes
- Landscape architects design and plan public and commercial outdoor spaces.
Landscape and Garden Designers
The main difference between landscape architects and landscape designers is in the magnitude
of the project they handle. Landscape designers usually handle small residential projects. Some
landscape designers may have similar training to a landscape architect but they are not holders of the required state license. Some landscape designers acquired their skills through the self-learning method. Many though have taken certificate courses offered online or in colleges and universities.
A landscape designer starts work by assessing your yard, taking photos and asking you about your preferred plants, budgets, and garden maintenance. He will then draw up a plan and make a list of the plants and make suggestions on furnishings and materials. With these done, he will refer you to a landscaping contractor to do the actual landscape construction.
Landscape Construction Team
The landscape construction team takes charge of the actual landscape installation and construction. They are in charge of installing the grass, plants, retaining walls and everything included in the landscape design.
A landscape architect or landscape designer comes up with a landscape design or plan and a landscape construction team does the installation of the project to bring the design into reality. The landscape construction team or landscape contractor should be able to:
- Interpret the plans and designs of the landscape architect and do the actual installation.
Prepare a cost estimate for the landscape construction project
- Plan and construct drainage and irrigation systems.
- Build pavers, driveways, retaining walls. They should also be able to build pergolas and other such structures.
- Do horticultural work.
Some landscape construction companies are also landscape architects and landscape designers.
Proper Landscape Construction
Landscape construction involves two major elements site preparation and using the appropriate materials. These two elements will ensure the stability of the installation of your landscape project.
A landscape project has three stages: design creation, installation and maintenance. In some instances the landscape architect or designer is present during the installation but in most cases, the landscape contractor relies on the landscape plan. It is therefore extremely important for landscape contractors to be able to interpret landscape plans.
A landscape plan is the design or master plan for your property created by either a landscape architect or landscape designer. It looks like a map and shows all the features to be installed and the locations where they are to be installed.
Choosing the Right Landscape Contractor
Landscape construction entails a rather big financial investment with an equally big potential of increasing the value and curb appeal of your home. It also allows your family to have a highly entertaining outdoor environment. It is therefore empirical that you choose the right contractor to do your landscape construction.
In choosing the right landscape contractor you could either:
- Do your own search for a landscape contractor.
- Choose from among the landscape contractors referred by the landscape architect or landscape designer.
- Choose the company the landscape architect or landscape designer is connected with.
- Many homeowners, especially those with big landscape projects often opt to choose the landscape
contractor the landscape architect or landscape designer is connected with. This is
for the ease of working with one company who will be solely accountable for all aspects of
landscape construction starting from the design, installation and maintenance.
The landscape contractor you choose to work with should have these qualities
- Extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of landscape construction.
- Reliable and with a good reputation.
- Licensed and equipped with all the necessary insurance.
The landscape construction company you decide to work with will of course depend on the
complexity and size of your project, budget and how comfortable you are with the contractor.
As you go about with your search in finding the right South Florida landscape construction
company to work with, make sure to check on their portfolios and do some reference checks.