Master plan and installation by different landscape professionals

idealistAugust 20, 2011

I posted this question to Professional Gardener sub-forum also, but it is very quiet over there.

Wanted to know your opinion about what I am thinking of doing.

I am finally ready to hire the landscaping professional to turn our yard into a garden. Unfortunately the designer who's work I like the most, doesn't serve our area.

I am willing to pay extra traveling fee (if they agree, of course) to get a master plan from them. And then hire a professional in our area to do the installation.

What do you think about this? Would it be a problem to find someone willing to implement somebody else ideas? Could some of those ideas get lost in translation? Any other caveats?

I would greatly appreciate any and all opinions.

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cyn427 (zone 7)

I know people who have had plans done by a designer that were installed by themselves. I am sure you can find someone willing to install the plan you like. I think you should go for the person whose work you like best. Afterall, you will have to live with it for many years-it should be a plan you love.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 6:20PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Most of the time it works out well enough, but it can be an issue if what you admire is really only possible to fully implement by the designer designing and installing it, usually only the case if the design is more artistic/personal vision sort of things that only the artist can do. Most landscape projects don't fit into this category in general, but if yours does, you might also want to make some arrangements with the designer to help coordinate during the installation phase. At the very least, I'd suggest that changes/substitutions to the plans be limited in nature without review and signoff by the designer. I've personally seen how some of my own design work has been changed beyond recognition during installation by others, so much that I wouldn't want it known as my design work. In other situations where I was consulted about changes and my input was wanted, it turned out well. It helps immensely if the installing contractor is sympathetic to the design and your wishes, and the design is perhaps more general to your local conditions and materials/plants sources so that it isn't a pain to install as designed. I'd ask the designer to keep these factors in mind while designing, and also ask if he could recommend a known installer he/she likes in your area.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 6:52PM
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inkognito

Aww David! that was what I was just about to write, more curtly and less poetically for sure but.....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 7:37PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Tony, your reply would have been haiku to my short story...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 7:51PM
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idealist

To cyn427:
"Afterall, you will have to live with it for many years-it should be a plan you love."
My sentiment exactly.
"I know people who have had plans done by a designer that were installed by themselves."
We most likely should be able to install the plantings. But I think our yard will need a proper grading and water drainage work, also masonry (patio and walkways). I don't think we will be able to tackle all of that by ourselves, unfortunately. At least not in the reasonable time-frame.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:22PM
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idealist

To bahia:
Thank you for a very thorough answer.
"what you admire is really only possible to fully implement by the designer designing and installing it"
As you correctly estimated, it should not be the case.
Of all the small residential landscaping portfolios, I have looked at, their designs are the most cohesive. The finished design looks like the leaving space had been carved out of the greenery, very wholesome and at the same time looks highly functional. And they seem to tailor to their customer needs, as all the projects look different, no cookie cutter solutions. But nothing very fancy.
I am also somewhat worried about the artistic pride of the persons, who will be installing the design. If they figure their vision was not considered good enough.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:01PM
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laag(z6CapeCod)

It is a fairly normal practice. As others have said, it requires a good contractor as well as a good plan and sometimes the designer needs to personally tweak things in the field if it is an artistic planting.

You are never comparing apples to apples between landscape designers nor are you ever comparing oranges to oranges between contractors. You need to select a good apple and a good orange.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 9:08PM
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drtygrl

If this was facebook - I would "like" this thread. I think david gave a very good answer as usual. But what I really like is the exchange between ink and him - the haiku comment is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 8:19AM
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