How to Hire a Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect; What is a Landscape Ecologist and Why You Should Hire OneJanuary 19, 2019
When we think about our landscape what do we think about? It could be a simple as what you might do to make your property look better or be able to entertain outdoors more. It may be something useful and practical, something you need, like a new driveway, a retaining wall, new walkway, a green lawn etc. Maybe it will be something that will increase your quality of life and change or improve your lifestyle, like a swimming pool or a patio, gazebo or pergola. Is this a substantial home improvement (capitol improvement) project which will increase the value of your home and property?
Hopefully you are also thinking about what could enrich your life in terms of your physical, mental and even spiritual health. The desire to improve your overall health and well-being should be a motivation for landscape design as well as maintaining your landscape.
Removing toxic pesticides from your landscape is a healthy start in the right direction. Consider redesigning with a goal to increase the actual, healthy biology of your property. We are exposed to countless chemicals and environmental contaminants in our day to day life. Exposure to dirty air, unclean water, and we now know, pesticides and antibiotics in our food are a modern plague! Our homes and landscape environments, which we may not be completely in our control, can have the largest positive impact on our health and well-being.
Trees, for instance, will offer not only shade and cooling while drinking in air pollution, but will also create habitat and sanctuary for birds and wildlife while providing a peaceful, serene atmosphere for contemplation. Even modern medicine, throughHarvard University now recognizes the health benefits from deep breathing, Tai Chi and meditation! Cornell University recognizes the value of nature so much so they are even giving out prescriptions in their natureRx program!
In any case, you should think about what changes you would like to make in your landscape and how your body and mind will react and respond to those changes. The true question is, what is your hope, your expectation from your new landscape? How will that be an improvement over the old? For instance, if you intend to entertain and cook on a newoutdoor kitchen or build a fire pit with a patio you will need an architectural plan and permits as well as some lead time for the design and permitting process. You will need to allow for these costs in the budget. Whether your intentions are ecologically based or not really, you will need to consider resource management including land, air, water, plants, stone, wood and don’t forget... (most important of all) …financial! Who are you going to trust with your money?
What about growing your own organic herbs, fruit and vegetables? Foodscaping is not only popular but it’s fun! Personally everywhere I’ve lived, (I am a client too!), I have designed and constructed a water feature, a fire pit, a living wall or vertical garden and of course, an awesome flowering, colorful, native plant garden / landscape with fragrant flowers, fruit, herbs, trees and shrubs. Keep in mind, everything in life requires maintenance! That is as true of our landscapes as it is of our human bodies! Who’s your doctor, who will keep you well and in good shape …does he make house calls?
I know what these landscape features surrounded by vibrant, abundant healthy biology do for my health and serenity! I wouldn’t want to live any other way!
Since the beginning of time, some people were always blessed to be living with clean air and water and heathy organic food surrounded by nature and beauty. You don’t need to be rich to deserve and have the best things in life...you have to identify them…recognize what they are…and value them for the gifts of joy, hope and love they offer!
There are people that specialize in many different aspects of landscaping from contracting to landscape designers APLD to landscape architects to ecological landscape professionals (designers, ecologist etc.) to organic landscape professionals.
Many professionals wear many hats and have many overlapping interests. I recommend that you trust your intuition and common sense, after they have been carefully vetted through professional and government agencies such as the Better Business Bureau, Dept. of Consumer Protection, LinkedIn etc.
Plan on enjoying the wonderful experience of metamorphosis and change that occurs when you join your head and heart to begin an exciting, worthwhile journey to Landscapes for Better Living!
Jay Archer, President