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Just as luxury homes feature sumptuous interior designs and amenities, they are beginning to incorporate lavish landscaping. Homeowners interested in carrying the splendor of their interior design outside are hiring professionals to develop functional and appealing landscapes. After all, not only does proper luxury landscaping add to curb appeal, it can also increase monetary and contribute to the environment. While all of these benefits arise from landscaping, it is important for homeowners to hire the professional that best meets the owner’s design and lifestyle desires.

Types of Professionals

When it comes to delving into landscape, there are a variety of professionals to choose from. Landscape architects develop plans for the layout of softscape—grass, trees, plants, etc.,— and hardscape—fountains, sculptures, walkways, etc—features around the homeowner’s property. Architects must qualify for their titles and typically hold their bachelor’s or master’s degree in landscape architecture, have several years of design firm experience, and/or pass a five-part nationally standardized licensure test.

While landscape designers may tackle similar projects as landscape architects, designers aren’t licensed by the state. This doesn’t necessarily mean landscape designers are less experienced or incapable of handling similar work, but it is advised homeowners carefully review designer portfolios to ensure the quality of work aligns with expectations.

Landscape companies may also have landscape design/build contractor offerings, which combine creative design and construction. Oftentimes, these offerings have on-site landscape architects to develop master plans and craftsmen will execute such plans.

Choosing a Professional

Choosing a professional largely depends on what the homeowner envisions and requires. Regardless of which professional an owner decides to hire, owners can ask family and friends for recommendations, or pay mind to which professionals tend to service the surrounding area. As a general rule of thumb, memberships in professional associations and similar credentials often serve as good indications of whether a professional is well-trained and qualified.

When determining which professional to work with, it’s completely acceptable for homeowners to identify two or three prospective landscapers and decide which professional best suits their needs. It’s important homeowners ask for cost estimates and work outlines and determine how long professionals have been in business and whether they have landscaping education.

Homeowners shouldn’t hesitate to ask for references. Reputable professionals confident in their craft will have no qualm with providing references. If a landscaper refuses to do so, owners should move on to other candidates.

Landscaping should be a collaborative effort between professional and homeowner to ensure the outdoor space is sustainable and works for the homeowner’s and property’s needs. Homeowners should look for professionals that invite them into the conversation to ensure design aspirations are incorporated into the plans and practical concerns—including drainage, sun/shade requirements, and upkeep—are addressed.