Do You Need a Landscape Contractor or a Landscape Architect?

When you have a landscaping project that you want to do to upgrade the look and value of your home, it’s crucial that you hire the right company for the job. Otherwise, the final look and function of the project may not be what you envisioned. You might be confused as to whether you need a landscape contractor or a landscape architect to get started on upgrading your property. Here’s a look at what these professionals do.

What Does a Landscape Contractor Do?

Landscape contractors are typically the ones who install landscape, and sometimes hardscape, features. Some also perform maintenance on the landscaping. Landscape contractors collaborate with landscape architects to ensure that they build the projects to the design specifications.

Some of the typical services that landscape contractors provide include the following:

  • Clear the land and grade it for installation of plants and hardscapes
  • Ensure that there is proper drainage on the property
  • Install irrigation systems
  • Install hardscapes such as patios, decks, water features, outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, walkways, driveways, walls, and more
  • Select and plant vegetation that is appropriate for the region and the homeowner’s wishes
  • Evaluate water needs to reduce use and eliminate waste

Additionally, landscape contractors may specialize in all or some of the following:

  • Design – Landscape contractors may specialize in the design of outdoor features like patios, decks, gazebos, water features, and more to enhance outdoor living space.
  • Hardscape installation – They may also perform the installation of the above hardscapes to the design specifications.
  • Maintenance – Some landscape contractors have horticultural education or training, and they use that to maintain vegetation by providing regular service on a weekly or biweekly schedule.

To be called a contractor, landscape professionals must go through a testing process and become licensed. Landscape contractors may provide services for residential, commercial, or both types of customers. Whatever your landscaping needs entail, you should be able to find a licensed landscape contractor to help you in Asheville.

What Does a Landscape Architect Do?

Like landscape contractors in North Carolina, landscape architects are licensed and certified to use their title, though the process is different from that of contractors. To be a landscape architect, professionals must earn an advanced degree, spend time working under the supervision of a licensed architect, and pass the Landscape Architecture Registration Exam.

The licensure and training that landscape architects receive prepares them to design and plan outdoor spaces, not to build them. They make detailed drawings of the landscaping, and then collaborate with landscape contractors who will perform the installation. The drawings that landscape architects design take into account how the area will be used and how the client wants people to experience the space. Designing the type of space and making it a great experience for clients and their guests is the most important aspect of what landscape architects do.

Unlike landscape contractors, landscape architects don’t spend much time outdoors in the middle of their projects. They spend the majority of their time meeting with clients, collaborating with other landscape professionals, and at their computers and drawing tables designing and managing projects.

When Do You Need a Landscape Architect?

There are some situations in which it’s in the homeowner’s best interest to hire a landscape architect rather than a contractor. For example, if your landscaping project involves changing physical structures on your property, then hiring a landscape architect may be your best option. Or, if you are planning to completely overhaul the whole outdoor area and don’t know how to best utilize the space, a landscape architect may be the right choice to come up with a design.

Hiring a landscape architect can be expensive, but they have skills and expertise that provide more than knowledge of soil and plants. Because of their education and licensing requirements, landscape architects bring a level of professionalism that will enhance your landscaping projects and the overall curb appeal of your property.

Final Thoughts

Landscaping your property is a project that takes time, expertise, and often, a significant investment, so it’s important to hire the right professionals before you get started. Landscape professionals, like architects and contractors, will ensure that you get the design and installation that you want, and that it is done expertly and safely.

If you are thinking about upgrading your property’s landscaping, Ambrose Landscapes can help. Our professionals are here to answer your questions and refer you to other qualified professionals when you need them. Together, we can design and install the landscaping features that you want, providing both form and function that will last for years to come.

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