Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 40
Gardens and outdoor spaces contribute immensely to
the value of a property, so it’s important to choose
a reliable professional to design and install your
landscape. But how do you choose whom to contract?
It’s just a few shrubs and a bit of lawn, right? So why call in the
professionals? Especially since it’ll cost – if you’ll pardon the
expression – the earth.
Because, as the late Peter Dayson – one of South Africa’s most
talented landscape architects (and the man who taught me how
to assess my projects and design my gardens) – always said:
‘A landscape is a work in progress … forever.’ And a work in
progress needs a solid foundation.
Now if you happen to be particularly creative and green-fingered
(and many people are) and you have sufficient time to do it all
yourself, planning and creating a garden can be a rewarding
and relaxing experience, but most of us lack either the skills,
the time, or both. So chances are you’ll need to engage a pro.
But first you’ll have to choose one, so it’s worth knowing the
different approaches that a landscape architect and a landscape
contractor will take to your project.
In essence, landscape architects concern themselves with all
the outdoor areas of a project, while landscape contractors – and
particularly garden contractors – will usually restrict themselves
to the planting and irrigation.
Landscape architects are professionally degreed people who
are uniquely trained to assess site conditions, the relationships
between the different components of a project and its
environment, and how all this relates to the people who’ll use
Assessment informs design, which means that the landscape
architect’s job is to ensure that buildings and other hard
elements (roads and driveways, paths, water features, sports
facilities, walls, fences, lighting, and so on) are sited correctly in
the landscape. This ensures integral and logical flow between
interior and exterior spaces, and means that buildings, gardens,
and even conservation areas work sensitively together.
A typical set of documents from a landscape architect’s
studio will include site plans, earthworks diagrams, detailed
construction plans for hard elements (paving, pools, pergolas),
lighting diagrams, and detailed planting plans. The latter will
usually be drawn up by horticulturists with specialist plant
knowledge working in the landscape architect’s office. And all
these disparate elements will need to be pulled together into a
bill of quantities.