When should you NOT hire a landscape designer?

There are no shortage of posts out there telling you when you should hire a landscape designer. Heck, I wrote one, “Do I really need a landscape designer?” way back in 2010. And they’re all awesome and if you want a great result you should hire me. I mean hire a designer. Oh who am I kidding? HIRE ME.

That said there are times when maybe a landscape designer is not the best fit for your project. Let’s look at a few instances where you should not hire a landscape designer.

when to hire a landscape designer

You have a very limited budget

Some designers would have led with “your project is too small.” I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a project too small to benefit from a designer. The problem is that if you’re trying to redo your entire front landscape on a $1,500 budget, a $500 design fee is a sizable hit. Does a design add enough value to justify a third of your budget? Debatable. You may be better served by a combination of garden center advice, county extension office advice, or even hiring a garden coach for an hour or two.

We’re duplicating someone else’s efforts

A wonderful past client of mine referred me to a friend who was doing a landscape project. They already had a design in hand and generally I don’t get involved in anything I don’t design, but it was a really cool project. They had hired a designer to create a master plan that eliminated all the lawn and put in strolling gardens full of natives and edibles. It was unusual enough that I considered it.

The problem was that the only way I had of getting paid was to charge my half day or full day consulting rate. I didn’t think I actually added enough value to the project to justify my fees, and they agreed.

You’re just spiffing up the place for sale

Naturally there are exceptions, but I’ve found most home sellers really just want to do the bare minimum needed to sell their home. While a good  landscape designer will always be mindful of your budget in the design process, there’s only so much we can do super inexpensively. There’s little point in hiring us for a design that won’t be executed.

You just want the basics

If you want a beautiful deck designed to maximize the myriad functions you want the space to provide and look better than anything the neighbors could even dream of, hire a landscape designer. If you just want a pressure-treated rectangle, hiring a designer is like shooting a squirrel with a rocket launcher. Your builder will do a fine job.

Still not sure if your project would benefit from a landscape designer? If you think it might, it probably will. Contact your friendly neighborhood designer to learn more!

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