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How To Choose The Right Landscaping Architect

Best Landscaping Architect Design Ideas

Choose The Right Landscaping Architect

Here at Russ Cletta Design Studio, we believe that artful landscaping can truly transform your home or commercial space from an overall uninviting atmosphere to a welcoming, even breathtaking, space. There are endless possibilities for design when it comes to landscaping, and you probably have your own vision you'd like to incorporate on your property. However, executing your landscaping ideas on your own might not be so easy. The landscaping process can be anything from disastrous to seamless depending on who you choose to work with. That’s why it’s imperative to research extensively before choosing a landscape designer or architect to work with. In this article, we give you a step-by-step guide on how to conduct your research and make the right decision on a landscaper for your home or property.

Why You Need A Landscape Architect

You may have downloaded your design ideas from Pinterest or Instagram, and you're thinking of going the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) route. After all, it may seem like all you need to do is plant a few flowers and call in a handyman to construct a few things here and there. However, the landscaping process is more complex than that. Regardless of whether you work with a landscaper or not, landscaping is a costly affair. However, taking the solo approach may lead to more losses if your efforts backfire--or worse yet, lead to other environmental risks such as poor drainage. To eliminate these risks, you’ll need a landscaping architect to analyze your terrain and determine the wind's direction, the best position for plants and water features (if any), the right plants, drainage channels, maintenance processes, budgeting, and how your ideas can be harmonized with the rest of your home's architectural design.

What You Should Look For In A Landscaping Architect


Experience may not always translate as an individual's ability to deliver results, but you don't want to work with a landscaping team that has no track record. When researching landscapers, ask for portfolios, which will include images of previous work they’ve done as well as the names of these buildings and sites. In addition, ask for references and actually take the fifteen minutes to call them.

Conducting this kind of research will help you determine whether or not the landscaper is a good fit. You do not necessarily want to focus on the number of years a landscaping company has been in operation. but rather the kind of projects they've handled. Some designers are good at planting and installing water features while others specialize in construction landscaping--or both.

Style And Personality

Landscaping is an art form, and each landscaper has a personality and taste that informs how they approach each project. Some designers will lean towards more rugged or rustic designs while others enjoy producing sleek and polished work. When looking at their portfolios, keep an eye out for recurring patterns. If you think both your taste and aesthetic mesh, you should give that landscaper a call. However, it is also advisable that you work with diverse landscape architects who will listen to your ideas and execute them as they are or advise you accordingly rather than impose their own vision on you.

Professionalism And Customer Service

Simple things such as how the office is organized (including their outdoor environment), punctuality during meetings, communication channels, and customer service hint to how a landscaping team is likely to perform when tasked with a project. Showing up late to meetings or site assessment appointments could be a major indicator that this landscaping team is not likely to deliver the project on time. Obviously landscapers are human beings prone to error too, but landscaping is a detail-oriented field. If the service providers cannot pay attention to simple professional details, do not expect them to pay attention to your bigger picture ideas.


Location may seem like a non-issue but landscaping is so closely tied to it. You do not have to work with the landscaper next door, but you should consider their experience in your area. Have they worked on other projects near your location, and where are their business headquarters? Your landscaper should have an in-depth understanding of local climate conditions in your particular region, soil types, popular drainage options, and legal requirements or standards for executing certain ideas.

Questions To Ask A Landscape Architect Or Site Design Team

Questions To Ask A Landscape Architect

No. 1: What Does Your Landscaping Process Look Like?

This question will help you establish whether the designer or their team is as qualified and organized as they claim to be. A qualified landscaper should give a detailed step-by-step response for what they intend to do. If they give you vague and nonspecific answers, consider working with someone else.

No. 2: How Much Will My Project Cost?

Budgeting is one of the most crucial elements in landscaping. The right landscaper should be able to estimate the cost of materials, labor, and consultation. A proper answer is not just oral, you should be given a written quote that breaks everything down.

No. 3: Are There Any Hidden Costs?

Hidden costs are very common in landscaping--not because landscapers omit or hide information but because of miscommunications. Your landscaper should account for everything, including the source of water and electricity (if your project requires these resources). Do not assume anything before the project commences. This question is closely related to the first one. When you understand the landscaping process, you'll be able to ask the right questions in relation to hidden costs.

No. 4: What Does Maintenance Entail?

landscaped compound may not look picturesque after the first week, especially if plants are involved. In addition, each element you add to the landscape requires some sort of maintenance to either reach maturity or for ongoing survival. It could be frequent irrigation, cleaning, repairs or renovations. The right landscaper should either take on maintenance issues or educate you on how to go about it. In addition, they’ll need to break down the maintenance cost to avoid any surprises (on your end) in the long run.

No. 5: Is The Team Self-Sufficient In Terms Of Planning, Designing, Construction, And Planting?

Depending on your idea, several processes could be involved in the execution of your project. It is advisable to work with teams that can execute your project independently from start to finish, but if this isn’t impossible, then you need to know whether you'll be working with two or three other teams and whether they can work together effectively. If your first choice cannot handle certain processes, they should either contract another team or individual or request you to look for other contractors early on.

No. 6: Am I Paying For Services By The Hour Or Project And Are There Varied Packages?

This question is intertwined with number 5 above. It is ill-advised to assume that you're paying for the entire project to be executed as you sit and watch from your balcony. You need to get a written list of what you're paying for and when each service will be delivered alongside a quote. In addition, ask your team if you're paying a gross amount or for individual items.

Making A Decision

Finally, you need to settle for the team or individual that gives you the best deal in terms of: pricing, workmanship, personality and flexibility. While the information gathered will guide your decision, remember to go with your gut. The above details will only help you narrow down. but your intuition will tell you who to work with and who to avoid. Overall, stay open-minded and leave room for small mistakes given that landscaping is a complex endeavor.

How Russ Cletta Design Studio Can Help You

If you're looking for quality artistic landscaping services in Southern California, you may just be in luck. Russ Cletta Design Studio will help you plan, design, and install residential landscapes that interact with the surrounding natural environment and clients’ innovative visions. Our studio's landscaping team assesses your terrain, the architectural characteristics of your home, as well as your property’s personality to come up with a design that blends all of these elements. At the end of the execution process, you'll have a unique enviable outdoor space that captures the essence of your home and unique lifestyle. For more information on our landscaping services or to discuss a custom project, contact Russ Cletta Design Studio at (310) 452-0248. You can also view our previous work here.

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