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How to Hire a Professional Landscape Architect

There is nothing more entertaining than kicking back and relaxing in a beautiful outdoor space. However, to get the garden of your dreams, you’ll need to plan your landscape design carefully. To achieve this, you’ll need to enlist the help of a landscape architect.

What Does a Landscape Architect Do?

Landscape architects plan and design landscape areas for a host of projects. They combine design skills with an understanding of science to create functional, sustainable and manageable landscapes and other outdoor spaces that reflect the requirements of their clients. Let’s take a closer look at the roles landscape architect are expected to fulfil:

Drafting a concept/sketch design

It all begins with an idea. A landscape architect will generally meet with the project owner to discuss their ideas and expectations. This is the first step to determining the scope of the project.

The client will provide the information, including the budget and the desired function of the space.

Design Development

Once a preliminary design is approved, the landscaper and the client will work together to develop the design. This can include changes to the initial concept and the introduction of new elements.

Landscape design and planning

Landscape planners create designs that consider the practical aspects of the site and its function. This includes:

  • The height, type and size of plant material
  • The layout of the surrounding area
  • The type of water and irrigation system
  • Access to the property
  • Other services such as lighting, power and waste disposal

Landscape architects are not only trained in landscape design, but they also have a bank of knowledge regarding the principles of art, architecture and science. They can apply these principles to create a beautiful, functional, sustainable and manageable space.

Construction Documentation & Specifications

The landscape architect will draw documentation and prepare plans, specifications, and landscaping cost estimates for the project. They will also provide the client with a detailed plan of how the project will be constructed. This will include a schedule, a budget and all other technical questions that may arise.


After the basic design is approved, the landscape architect will prepare tender documents to select landscape contractors and suppliers. This includes writing tenders and liaising with the contractors to make sure the landscaping contractors adhere to the plans.

Contract Administration

The landscape architect will get the project up and running by overseeing procurement and all activities during the construction phase. This includes dealing with contractors and other professionals and making sure they stick to the design. During this phase, they will also ensure that the landscape contractors and other suppliers meet the standards as per the design.

Administration of Post Construction Maintenance

Once the construction is complete, the landscape architect will ensure the new landscape is cared for properly. This involves checking if the contractors have performed to specification. It may also include minor site corrections to maintain the landscape architects’ original vision.

Qualities to Look For in a Professional Landscape Architect

Landscape architects are trained professionals with a specific area of expertise. They must have a wide range of knowledge in many different areas.

To excel at their job, they must have the following:

A creative and artistic eye

Landscape architects must master the skill of visualizing their ideas. They need to be able to draw out a design on paper that represents their concept, just like a painter would visualise a painting before they undertake it.

An understanding of science and mathematics

Soil chemistry, types of plants, and how they grow, as well as elements of mechanical and civil engineering, must be at the forefront of their minds. For example, they must also understand the various types of soils and the actions of rainwater and watercourses.

A flair for business

Landscape architects need to be able to work with others. They must also be able to communicate effectively and be comfortable with clients, property owners and other professionals involved in the project.

Creative problem-solving skills

Landscape architects must also be able to work through problems creatively. They must be able to find solutions that best fit the vision and goals of the client.

Read this article on landscape architect qualifications to ensure you’re hiring a professional.

Getting Quotes from Landscape Architect

Selecting a landscape architect for your landscape design project can seem like an overwhelming task. To make it easy, here are three practical ways to find landscape architects in your area:

  • In-person – Landscape architects work in significant municipalities and are listed in local directories.
  • Online – Landscape architects can be found in online directories as their qualifications and experience are ranked.
  • Referral – Word of mouth is still the best way to find a qualified, creative and reliable landscape architect.

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