Getting the Most From Your First Landscaping Consultation

Meeting with your landscape consultant to begin planning your garden space is an exciting time, but it can be a bit overwhelming too. There are so many choices to make. Relax. The landscape consultant is a professional who will help guide you through the important decisions, but to get the most out of your consultation, you should be as prepared as possible. This means setting some goals for your outdoor space and doing some homework.

What do you hope to accomplish with your landscape project?

This may sound like a strange question, but think about what you want the landscaping to accomplish. Do you want it to enhance the curb appeal of your home? Do you want it to create a boundary between your yard and your neighbor’s property? Do you want the landscaping to hide something, like an unsightly air conditioning unit or a trash bin partition? Be honest and share these goals for your landscape project with your consultant, who will be able to help you make your new landscaping work for you.

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How will you use the space?

Explain to your landscape consultant how you envision using your garden space. Perhaps you want to create a relaxing outdoor space where you can meditate and unwind. Maybe you hope to transform your outdoor living space into an inviting spot for entertaining guests. Or it could be that you want a place for your children or pets to play. How you plan to utilize the space impacts the design of the garden space.

What garden styles are your favorites?

This is where you need to do some homework. Narrow down your favorite garden styles by first familiarizing yourself with the different types of landscape designs. Look through magazines, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Gardens Illustrated, LuxeSource or Sunset Magazine, and clip out photographs of gardens that appeal to you. You could also search on Houzz or Pinterest for ideas. Share these with your landscape consultant during your initial meeting so the consultant has a starting point for your personalized garden design.

Another factor to consider regarding garden styles is the architectural style of your home. For a cohesive and harmonious look, you may want to match your garden design to your home’s style. If your home is a sleek, modern, industrial house, you may want to opt for a modern or Japanese garden style. But if your home is a quaint, old Victorian-style house, a cottage garden or English garden may be the best choice.

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What are your favorite colors and flowers?

As you search through garden design magazines or websites, notice what colors and flowers draw you in. Do you like a garden with an abundance of color or a more monochromatic look? Maybe you find the delicate pinks and pale yellows to be relaxing and romantic. Or you may prefer the bright and showy reds. Still other people like the soothing greens of foliage gardens. What specific flowers do you like? Roses, lilies, lavender, daisies, poppies, larkspurs, peonies…the choices of flowers are nearly endless. Be sure to discuss both the colors and types of flowers with your landscape consultant. Each plant and flower has its own, individual growing requirements. A flower you like may not grow well in your zone, your soil type, or your growing conditions. A landscaping expert will know what flowers will thrive in your gardens and which will wilt.

What is your budget?

During your initial landscape consultation, be open and honest with your consultant about your budget. This can be an awkward conversation but a necessary one. It is important that your consultant knows early on what your price range is so they can create a design to accommodate your budget and you both save time and money. If you have never landscaped a space before, you may not be aware of the average costs. Share this with your consultant and keep the financial conversation open during the entire landscaping process. This is the best way to avoid disappointment or an unexpected bill.

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