sunWhy you should hire a professional for landscape design
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Why you should consider a Landscape Architect
Qualifications to look for:
Individual is a Landscape Architect
registered in the State of Arizona

Individual has an education in
landscape design AND has design
experience in Southern Arizona

Be wary of:
Landscape contractors. Many have
experience in maintenance and
installation, but little or no knowl-
edge in landscape design including
proper plant selection, placement,
requirements and care.

Nurseries in large retail stores.
They sell plants that their corpor-
ate offices dictate they sell. This
often does not translate to plants
that grow in the desert southwest,
or that the plant won't require
constant special care.

The person that prunes your neighbor's hedges may be good at what they do, but that does not make them qualified to give you plant advice or provide you with a landscape design that not only considers the importance of choosing the right plant, but also how to integrate indoor and outdoor living spaces. A Landscape Architect (LA) is required to know more about plants than someone who only maintains or sells them. The Landscape Architect is a professional with a degree and 3 years experience in order to take a state exam to be licensed to practice. The successful completion of the registration process assures the highest level of knowledge and education.

As part of the design process, a Landscape Architect will interview you to compile a list of your needs, wants and wishes. The LA is trained to examine the environment the plants will be placed in, and make use of all the existing components as well as suggest new features that will lead to a successful landscape design. The LA will also discuss other design component options such as:

Desired use of space (ie: entertaining)

Views (to keep or screen)


Proper drainage

Plant preferences and the right plant for the right place.

Screening for privacy

Hardscape elements (seatwalls, patios, paths, etc.)

Water features

Special needs of family members (handicapped accessibility or non-poisonous plants)

Rain water harvesting

Reduced heating/cooling costs

After the interview, the Landscape Architect prepares one or more conceptual designs which help you envision the possibilities and lead to the final design. Once a final design is agreed upon, the Landscape Architect can provide all of the plans needed for the installation process. This includes planting, irrigation and layout and dimensioning plans (if needed) along with planting and irrigation details. This will ensure that the project is installed correctly, efficiently, and most importantly, as designed.

Why you should consider a Landscape Architect even for small projects:

A Landscape Architect should be considered no matter what the size of the project. It takes more than a brief conversation with a salesperson at a plant nursery to make proper plant selections. A one hour conversation with a Landscape Architect can save you time, money, and long term headaches by assuring that you are getting the right plant in the right location.

Whether you are planning a new project, replacing a plant that has died, or bringing a plant back that is not doing well, a consultation with a Landscape Architect should be part of the checklist. The Landscape Architect understands plant growth, habit, environmental limitations, and maintenance requirements. As an example, mature plant size is one factor that is often ignored. Evidence of this is een by the cutting of leaves off agaves too close to sidewalks or having trees planted so close to a permanent structure (houses, sidewalks, roads) that there will eventually be conflict between the structure and the root system, canopy, or both.