Estate Living Magazine Investment - Issue 34 October 2018 - Page 40

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT OR Designer? 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. 38 | Landscape architects 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 them. 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.