What is a reasonable fee for a landscape design plan? The first quote came in at $750.00. This was from a well known firm in the Charlotte area.
I am not good at judging professional's fees. However, you can ask any quality business for 3 names of clients. Follow through and find out if those clients felt that the fee was appropriate (after it was over).
Depends on scope of work. My design fees have generally ranged from $600-3500 this year, but every designer and region is different.
The "reasonable fee" is directly proportional to how much you value this particular designer to design your particular job under the terms that the designer has laid out to you.
What someone else might charge is totally irrelevant.
I'm not sure I agree that what one pays is irrelevant or not. I am in a similar situation in that I too am looking for a landscape architect to "design" my entire property. Having ZERO experience I did not know whether this was a $750 project, a $2000 project or a $7,500 project. After some on-line research I believe I've come to the conclusion that what I am looking for from a quality landscape architect is going to run between $1,000 and $2,500 depending on which firm I choose and the extent of the work.
When I finally get my prices I will be sure to come back and let you know.
Certainly fees will vary with the region and they also vary widely with the skill, experience and reputation of the designer. It's not that the fees are irrelevant, it is that their relevance is based on context. And since this opinion is coming from practicing landscape designers (3 of us responding), it is safe to assume it is true :-)
One thing that strikes me about this post and something I encounter a lot in my own professional experience is how low a value many folks place on both landscape design and construction. People who would not think twice about dumping $25G into a new kitchen or bath or $10G on new living room furniture squirm when contemplating investing even half that amount in their outdoor space. IME, many people have very low or unrealistic expectations about how much a good design master plan may cost and how much they might have to invest to have that plan executed properly.
Gardengal, I could not agree with you more regarding your comment about how little people value outdoor spaces. I guess the outdoors is a foreign place to many people. Perhaps because they don't already spend time there, they cannot conceive of investing money to make it into a place worth spending time. Someone I know was recently bragging about spending $18,000 remodeling a tiny kitchen. A short while later she was re-doing her front yard and bragged, "I got all these plants for $28!" (One phase, I guess.) It looked like it.
As far as the $750 for landscape design, it does not sound at all unreasonable for a front and back yard landscape design. There's a lot of work and time that goes into creating such a plan. But paying the money cannot insure happiness. Have some idea if the designer produces the kind of work you like. There could be many instances where the fee is much higher depending on the scope of the project and the involvement of the designer.
In my area , Northern California, you can get a functional planting plan from several moderate end nurseries for about $ 500.00 for a modest size front yard.
The higher end/ highly creative nurseries charge $300.00 just for the first time /one time visit and then the additional time usually adds up to about $ 1000.00
None of the nurseries will do a hardscape plan or if they do, it will only be "conceptional' .. meaning there are no construction details noted.
I find that design rates amongst my peers ( those who do hardscape details) the fee equals to about 10 % of the construction costs, but this can vary depending on the scope of the project - more $ if there are a lot more bureaucratic hurdles and construction detailing.
For a $ 50 K install a 5K design fee is about average in my area.
Beyond the cost of the plans are the costs of project management. Most of us price this job task as a separate line item in our design contracts and it is usually billed out at an hourly rate.
Here is a link that might be useful: cost of design at a nursery in SF
I did not say that what one pays is irrelevant. I meant was that if you value a particular designer over other designers the cost of the other designers is irrelevant.
It is comparing the price of something that you value (and probably a lot of other people value) to the price of something you don't value and expecting to pay the same price. You don't do that at the grocery store or the car dealership, yet somehow people think it should be different with designers.
All designers want to charge a lot of money. Some are valued enough that they can and some are not. It does not mean that one is more talented than another, but that one has positioned him or herself in such a way to be valued more. That could be because they are well known to other professionals and are recommended by people trusted by their potential clients, it could be that they are connected to a well known company, it could be that they advertise enough to be recognizable, and sometimes they sell themselves well in person.
In the end, it is a matter of whether you value the designer enough to pay what they charge. There are two variables that are both attached to individuals. One is the designer attached to his/her price tag. The other is you and how much you are willing to pay.
It is far more likely that you will adjust what you are willing to pay for a particular designer than it is that the designer is going to adjust what (s)he will charge you. Leaving you with two options - find a different designer, or pay for the one that you like.
Junebug, in the event this is still pertinent, I have made some progress on moving towards obtaining a design plan and thought you might be interested in cost.
I met with and obtained a quote from a firm local to me. I was very interested in using a locally based firm and really enjoyed their website. After the 1st visit they gave me a quote of $7,500 for a complete property design, approx. 1 acre.
I then met with another firm that is not at all local but seemed like a quality company. The 1st consultation was free but the 1st overall conceptual plan was around $500.
The final plan including hardscaping material descriptions, plant names(scientific and common), plant quantities, and a full color rendering will be approximately $1,000.
I feel I have a final product from a "high-end" design firm for $1,500-$2,000. I could have had a local landscaper do something much less for much less.