Landscape architects landscape designers and garden designers

Landscapes versus gardens, architects versus designers — confusing isn't it? Various names apply to this group of professionals. Although they each perform a service, you may find quite bit of overlap.

Landscape architects, landscape designers, and garden designers are all professionals, trained in every facet of planning and realizing an outdoor plan. Their scope goes beyond regular backyard gardens or even the landscaping of an estate; many of these folks are capable of laying out a resort, college campus, public park, and so on. They can cope with topography and know how to analyze a site completely, down to its soil and light and existing vegetation. They can design walkways and decks and such in savvy and attractive ways. They can then draw up a design or several alternatives.

In general, landscape architects are space planners who may or may not be very knowledgeable about plants. They're mostly called in for very large commercial or institutional projects and where hardscapes (any masonry or woodwork like walks, patios, gazebos) are a substantial part of the job. You may find that landscape designers and garden designers are more familiar with plants suited to your area and may be more attuned to residential scale projects.

All concerns about cost aside, hiring someone like this to do your yard is a marvelous investment. These professionals tend to notice and address elements and problems you may not have thought of; they propose appropriate and attractive solutions; and they have wide knowledge of both plant material and hardscape components. They're the full planning package.

To find one of these experts, you can consult ads, the Internet, or the yellow pages. Word of mouth may work. If you know of someone who's used one in your neighborhood or town, try to visit and ask the owners how the process went, whether they're happy, and perhaps — if asking doesn't seem too tacky — what it all cost. Garden tours in your area may feature professionally done properties, too, which can also lead you to the person who designed a beautiful garden.

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