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  • Writer's pictureMatt Daly

Is Hiring a Landscape Designer Worth Your Money?

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

We’ve been in the business of transforming outdoor spaces in Richmond, VA for a long time. Front yards, back yards, pools, patios, kitchens…we’ve seen and designed them all. But as public interest in beautiful outdoor living spaces grows in Richmond, and across the country, so does the temptation to DIY your way to your own backyard paradise.

Don’t get us wrong—we understand the initial appeal. Creating your dream backyard isn’t cheap, and those Instagram and Pinterest accounts make the design process look so easy. But before you decide that you can take on your outdoor redesign yourself, pause. From uneven patios, to pergolas that don’t last more than a season, sometimes leaving professional level projects to the design experts is the best choice you can make for your space.

Here are some of the top reasons to reach out to a landscape designer before rolling up your own sleeves:

Creating A Great Outdoor Design Is Harder Than You Think

You know what you want, so how hard could it be to put all the pieces together into a layout that works for your space? The answer? Harder than you think.

Say you want a paver patio, a pergola, a new fire feature, and a space for grilling. Your yard might be a little smaller than average, but hey, you can make this work!

Next thing you know, your patio is too big, your fire pit is blowing smoke into your guests’ faces, and your grill is a whole hike from your indoor kitchen. At the end of the day, you’ve wasted time, money, and a lot of energy creating a space that doesn’t work for you the way you envisioned. Hiring a professional landscape designer saves you this headache.

It’s a professional designer's job to look at your yard and figure out the best way to give you what you want using the amount of space that you have. They are familiar with all of the most common design regrets, and will know how to put the pieces together in a way that really works.

From sizing design elements correctly to adding functional lighting that ties the entire space together, a landscaper designer knows how difficult creating a dream outdoor living space really is, and they’re ready for the challenge.

Enhance Your Property Value

You make a lot of investments in your life, but your home is without question one of the largest. The money you put into improving your property is money that you get back if you ever decide it’s time to move on. And that DIY gravel patio that you were willing to settle for might not make the same impression on potential buyers.

When all is said and done, most people can tell the difference between DIY or hobbyist designed spaces and backyards that were created by a professional. Whether it’s the visual layout, quality of the material, or actual execution of the project, reselling a house with a poorly redone yard can be as difficult as selling a home with a yard that is still a blank canvas.

So if you’re going to spend money and time redoing your outdoor space, why not do it right? What you spend hiring a professional you will benefit from not only in enjoyment of the outdoor space, but in your property’s eventual resale value as well.

Work With Your Budget

Speaking of money, different backyards can come with vastly different price tags. Understanding what elements fit realistically into your budget can be difficult without understanding your local industry. What may be less expensive in the midwest can cost more in Richmond, VA. Without knowing what you can and cannot afford, you run the risk of being disappointed with your finished space.

As professional landscape designers, it is our job to know exactly how much your dream backyard is going to cost. If you give a designer your budget, they should know offhand whether or not you can afford what you want. Even better, it is in their best interest to create a design that works within those budget constraints.

While contractors may try to upsell you on pool accessories or features you neither need or can afford, a landscape designer's end goal is to deliver a plan for a space that is a reflection of your lifestyle, and respectful of your budget.

Landscape Designers Put Power Back in Your Hands

When you skip hiring a landscape designer and approach a contractor directly, you might not know that you are also skipping over another process—bidding. Getting competitive bids on your own can be an intimidating process. You may feel like finding one qualified contractor was hard enough. It can be tempting to go with the first option available simply to expedite the process. But operating this way means missing out on options, and opens up the possibility that the contractor you choose may not be the right fit for your project.

When you hire a landscape designer, this pressure is taken off your shoulders and replaced with a new found power. Good professional designers have long lists of industry connections to every kind of contractor you can think of. Pool builders, carpenters, landscapers, and hardscapers are all just a phone call away. Having so many options means you can truly choose the team that makes sense for your project.

Landscape designers can gather bids from potential teams and compare them in order to get you the best deal. This means not only will your contractor be the right choice aesthetically, but you don’t run the risk of being overcharged. Information is power, and landscape designers have years of contacts and industry knowledge that help put that power directly into your hands.

Enhanced Communication

When you choose not to work with a landscape designer, you are forced to approach a builder without a blueprint. Sure, you may have an idea of what you want, but communicating the specifics can feel impossible for the average homeowner. This can result in vague descriptions, which in turn result in unsatisfactory outdoor spaces.

Hiring a professional landscape designer means you are hiring someone to speak this language for you. A great landscape designer will act as a kind of middle man, or translator. That is, they have the unique ability to take these vague descriptions and put them to paper in a way that your contractor can clearly understand. Hiring a landscape designer means hiring someone who is on your team, and can communicate and advocate for you as a client from beginning to end.

Get The Custom Space You Deserve

Unless you have design experience, chances are that any outdoor spaces you create on your own time are going to be based on cookie cutter templates that you have found available for mass use online. And while this may fill a basic need, approaching a project this way means losing any aspect of the design that is based on your individual needs, wants, lifestyle, or preferences.

When it comes to a great outdoor living space, one size does not fit all. It’s a landscape designer’s job to create a space that is tailor made for you, your family, and your day to day life. From getting you the best deals, to acting as a professional advocate on your behalf, good landscape designers will fight to give you the outdoor space of your dreams. And we think that’s worth the money.

Water and Earth Landscape Design in Richmond, VA

If you’ve been thinking about a backyard makeover, we can help. Water and Earth offer premium landscape design services right here in Richmond, Virginia. Not sure where to start? Fill out our initial design questionnaire to take the first steps towards your dream outdoor living space.

For more helpful tips and industry insights, check out our blog. To view more of Water and Earth’s design work, check out our portfolio, or follow us on Instagram.

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