Just like when you're remodeling the inside of your home, when you redo your landscaping, you have a few choices when hiring landscape professionals. These choices often confuse prospective clients so I thought it would be helpful to break them down here:
What is a Landscape Contractor?
If a person or a company has a crew of workers that installs landscapes, chances are the owner is a licensed landscape contractor, which is a subcontractor class C-27 in California. Landscape contractors can also offer design services. For example, I am a licensed landscape contractor. I apprenticed as a builder on job sites, then I passed an exam with the state of California. I pay annual dues to keep my license current and DtE holds insurance policies that are required to build landscapes. I am also a landscape designer. I know the local plants that thrive in our area and which materials are readily available within a proposed budget. At DtE, we offer design and build together as one product.
What is a Landscape Designer?
This is usually one person that works on software and draws out visual possibilities of an area called Concepts. They rely on landscape contractors to work out the specific details of their concepts during the installation process. Landscape designers don't have a crew to install what they design. They are not licensed and are not liable for what they design. Designers often work with a dedicated landscape contractor whom they rely on and refer clients to for the installation. Clients often believe they should get multiple bids to compare pricing, but there's real benefits in using the designer's contractor. They have a working relationship that helps ensure the job runs smoothly. Over the years, we have completed many landscapes that came to us as concepts from designers.
What is a Landscape Architect?
Architects are licensed landscape designers who have invested a lot in formal training through an accredited architecture program and have passed a board exam. They may work for a firm or independently and may specialize in commercial or residential landscapes. They use software to produce plans and renderings and have extensive knowledge of plant and hardscaping materials that are appropriate for our area. If their plans are stated Suitable For Construction, they are responsible for what is built and will oversee these projects to ensure it is being installed as intended.
you have options when hiring landscape professionals. At DtE, we think an all-in-one approach is the ideal but not the only possibility. We hope this information is helpful the next time you plan a landscaping project!