How should I go about hiring a landscape architect?
I'm a believer in the idea that a skilled designer will come up with ideas that are far superior to those of an amateur, even one with good taste or an eye for good design. Given that, I'd like to enlist the services of a landscape architect or designer for my neglected backyard which is the focal point of my house's living space and is therefore having a negative effect on the feel of my living room.
Since I know essentially nothing about the discipline, I'm a little intimidated. Are landscape architects or designers typically paid for a design or as a perecentage of the cost of the whole job like a general contractor? I would like to pay for a design and do most of the landscaping work myself to keep labor costs down. My budget is fairly modest -- about $10k total (plants, materials, design, etc.) for a yard that is roughly 100'x30'. Is the scale of that project too small for such a designer? Are there any guides for evaluating the suitability of a designer for a particular project?