Landscape professionals provide many different services. Landscape architects, landscape designers and landscape contractors can all design your garden.
In choosing any professional you should ask for references and review their work. While landscape designers, landscape architects and design build contractors should be able to create the look you want, it is best to hire someone whose work you like. To learn more about each of these types of professionals and tips on hiring them, go to Working with Professionals under the Resources tab of Gardening in Contra Costa County.
Create landscape designs and plant lists for your garden. Most Lawn to Garden participants can benefit from a consultation with a Landscape Designer. This is a non licensed profession. See Contra Costa Water District’s Landscape Design Assistance (PDF) or the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) website for designers in your area.
In California, landscape architects are licensed professionals that can provide detailed site evaluations, planting and hard-scape plans, design details and project management. If your front yard will involve details like a patio or retaining walls then hiring a landscape architect may be a good idea.
In California, contractors must be licensed by the state and also be bonded. Contractors may do design work as part of a construction project. These contractors are known as design build contractors and some specialize in residential gardens. The California Landscape Contractors Association’s (CLCA) website has a Find My Contractor tool.
Get a Consultation
Unless you are completely confident in your knowledge of plants and garden design, hiring someone for a project consultation can give your garden “good bones” and lessen the risks of poor plant choices, both in appearance and plant health. A good design takes into account not only the local climate, but the placement in your particular yard, allowing for sun and wind exposure and other variables. Most garden designers will provide consultation services on an hourly basis. They can help you get started or provide valuable feedback on your garden ideas. CCWD has created a Landscape Design Assistance Program where local designers provide their customers with discounts on consultation and/or design services.
Additional Resources for Garden Designers
- Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour – Provides a list of Landscape Designers Specializing in California Native Plant Gardens who offer discount consultations to Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour participants.
- Bay-Friendly Landscape Professional – Trained in a sustainable, holistic approach to design and/or maintenance of landscapes. Bay-Friendly has both a design and maintenance qualified professionals. Bay-Friendly certified professionals are trained to create and maintain landscapes to reduce organic waste, nurture the soil, conserve water and energy, protect water and air quality and increase wildlife habitat in their work. Find Bay-Friendly qualified professionals.
- Middlebrook Gardens – Located in San Jose, they specialize in native gardens and low-impact design.
- Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) – Landscape professionals trained in a proactive approach to reducing landscape water demand. QWEL certified professionals are trained and certified in the principles of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance and irrigation system programing and operation. Certified QWEL professionals learn about soils, plants, and efficient irrigation which includes irrigation systems, irrigation scheduling and determining site specific water budgets. QWEL also has a Graywater Specialty Certification for landscape professionals installing graywater systems. To find QWEL certified professionals you can go to www.qwel.net and click on find a landscaper. You will find QWEL certified professionals that do landscape and/or irrigation design, landscape and/or irrigation installation, landscape maintenance and landscape consultations.