What to Keep in Mind Before Hiring a Remote Landscape Architect

Published: July 30, 2021

Every project has its own path and leads to a different conclusion but the common thing for the beginning of all projects is gathering the necessary information. Throughout these couple of years of working as a remote landscape architect, I became aware of what the client needs to prepare for me before I can start working on the design. This blog post may help some of my fellow remote colleagues and my future clients to understand the design process and prepare for it.

The following list mentions all the crucial info that a client should prepare for a remote landscape architect:

1. Site plan, a survey of the property, and architectural plans

Since landscape architects will not be able to visit the site, having an up-to-date site plan will provide all the mandatory dimensions, measurements, and layout of structures. Architectural plans help in understanding the layout of windows and doors so that the design can be tailored according to it. In case the client doesn’t have any of the plans (which happens often with older houses and properties), the landscape architect and client should collaborate in creating a base plan and measuring dimensions that are important.

2. Site photos and video walkthroughs

In order to understand the space better, the landscape architect will need photos and videos of the whole property. If there are any specific areas that need special attention make sure to take up close-up photos from different angles. Lately, I’ve been asking only for video walkthroughs since that gives a better idea of the whole space and I can play/pause as much as needed to examine particular areas.

3. Inspirational photos

Some clients may give landscape architects the freedom to express their creativity but many clients already have a clear picture of what they want and need. I always encourage my clients to find and share with me photos of the gardens that they like. By studying their photos I get to know their style and needs a little bit more.

4. List of elements that should be included in the design

Prior to any design process, I need to understand the client’s needs and wishes, so I ask for a simple list of elements that they want me to include in the design such as fire pit, pool, lounge area, etc. If the client is not sure in which direction the garden should develop I propose a couple of concept ideas and provide different options.

5. Get to know the client and their family

Who will use the outdoor space will determine plant selection and design of the hardscape. There are certain plants that are poisonous to pets and can harm children. Safety should always come first so choosing the softscape and hardscape materials, as well as the placement of these materials, should be wisely determined.

6. Plant nursery recommendation

Many people like to visit plant nurseries in search of perfect plants for their garden. If there is a specific plant nursery that the client wants to buy plants from, search for the online plant catalog or contact the nursery to request the plant list availability.

7. List of existing plants/elements that are remaining

In rare cases, landscape architect gets a blank canvas for the design, mostly there are existing plants that should be kept or removed based on the condition and hardscaping that needs to be upgraded.

8. Property address

Requesting a property address should be optional and depends only on the client. This information can be helpful to understand the sun’s movement and help in the search for the nearest plant nurseries.

9. Special requirements

The landscape architect needs to know if there are any special requests or requirements prior to starting the design. For example, many people plan to develop their gardens in phases due to high costs so it may take years for them to completely implement the design. In this case, the design needs to be adapted to accommodate the phases and provide the best possible outdoor areas during the construction process.