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Old 05-11-2011, 07:26 AM
98 posts, read 203,466 times
Reputation: 41


I'm looking to install either a fence and/or some sort of privacy landscaping in my backyard. A deck off the side of my house is also in the future plans, but I really want to address the privacy issue now. Our house is on a corner lot so we are very exposed to my neighbors from the back and and side. I'd also like the landscape professional to address the grading issue we have in the yard. What's the difference between landscape architect vs designer vs contractor? Which of the three would best address our needs? Thanks.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:14 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC dreaming of other places
984 posts, read 1,352,113 times
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Designers and Architects tend to be people with a collage degree in landscaping. People usually hire Architect/Designer to give the ideas and plans then the Contractor comes in to implement the design. Some people can do both, but if you have the money to spend, hire a designer to make you a good design that you can implement gradually with the help of a contractor or yourself. But you sound like you need a good design. I would interview at least 3 people and see which one that understands your need best before hiring.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:55 AM
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Architect- Minimum of a Degree in Landscape architecture by a program approved by the Landscape Architectural Landscape accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 2-3 years apprenticeship under a Licenced Landscape Architect, usually conducted concurrently while in pursuit of basic degree. Obtain License from Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Board.

Designer- Someone who calls themselves a Designer and does Designs.
Now there are some highly educated, highly experienced designers out there doing a good job. However no certification. license or education is required/ Other than a business license depending on Location.

Contractor- Licensed and bonded through a State Contractors governing Board. Varying degrees of education and experience. Certified by state by passing certification test for License and financial requirements. Fairly consistent in most states with California have the most requirements.

An Architect is a Educated Licenced Certified Professional like a Civil Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer and regulated by a State Agency.

Contractor - Licensed Professional thru a State Agency.


Getting the picture.


A Contractor may be a Licensed Architect as well. However far and few between. Both are very demanding Professions in their own right. Large Landscape companies which are licensed Contractor usually have one or more Landscape Architects working for them.

Most smaller Landscape Contractors do what is called design build. They can create depending on state certification level Landscape Designs and Plans and complete the work after obtaining a signed contract.

Designers can neither do contract work nor full scale Certified Landscape Plans. Each state has their own rules regarding what a "Designer" can deliver without a Contractors License. A Contractor can only deliver what a "Designer" can for landscape plans if they dont complete the actual work.

Ok I'm off my high horse now.

Go with a Landscape Contractor that has several years of experience. You can hire one that has Architects working for them or hire a separate Architect for the plans.

Landscape Architecture BlogStudio H Landscape Architecture, Inc. | Studio H Landscape Architecture, Inc.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:55 AM
98 posts, read 203,466 times
Reputation: 41
Thanks happehart. What are some good questions to ask landscapers?
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:59 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC dreaming of other places
984 posts, read 1,352,113 times
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From what what Bulldog said, the first thing i would do is to verify that they are certified, insured and bonded, to make sure if anything goes bad, you are covered. I would ask for references, more than one and I would drive to couple of their previous jobs to see how it looks. Referrals of course are your best bet so drive around your neighborhood and see if you like any yards and ask the owners, whom they used. Good luck.
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Old 05-13-2011, 06:04 AM
Location: Tampa Bay Area
495 posts, read 865,958 times
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You might also want to talk to your local extension office and see if there is a master gardener program. They might be available for free and might bring additional expertise to plant selection specific to your area/project.
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