5 Things to Ask Urban Planning Firms Before Planning Your Project

A good landscape architecture plan has the power to transform the green space in your home or business from a simple grassy area to a stunning retreat.

Urban planning firms are a key element in this transformation, but they don’t come cheap. Landscape architecture plans range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Before you make such a significant investment, you should make sure that the urban planning firm you hire is trustworthy and a good fit for the project you have in mind.

These five questions to ask an architect will help you find the best urban planning firm for your landscape architecture project.

Do They Have a Portfolio and References?

Creating a landscape architecture plan can be a pricey endeavor. You wouldn’t hire a realtor that didn’t come with pristine references, would you? Good urban planning firms will happily provide a list of references to demonstrate their trustworthiness.

Once you have found a reputable firm, the next step is to determine whether the work they have done is in line with your design ideas. Homeowners who want their landscaping to have an English garden aesthetic should look for urban planning firms who have portfolios that include similar designs. If their portfolio is all desert landscaping, move on.

Do They Employ Landscape Designers or Landscape Architects?

There’s a difference!

Landscape architects are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, many have master’s degrees. They are also required to be licensed by the state. Landscape architects are better qualified to work with more complicated land issues such as sloping landscapes and irrigation systems.

Landscape designers are not required to have a degree of any kind, though many do. Some may even be self-taught. Landscape designers generally work on smaller residential projects that don’t require anything overly complicated.

Both are good options, but you should ask yourself what you want done before choosing one over the other.

What are the Costs?

The most obvious question to ask urban planning firms is “how much will this cost me?” This is an important question, but you need to delve deeper.

Ask them to compare the prices of a variety of options for your landscape architecture plans. Perhaps the plan can be accomplished with a landscape designer rather than a landscape architect. A good urban planning firm will help you find a design plan that balances your expectations and budget.

Don’t forget to inquire about costs beyond the initial installation. If you live in a drought-prone area and want a lush oasis, ask how much this design plan will increase your water bill. Will the plants and design elements be expensive to maintain?

Can Urban Planning Firms Help Reduce My Environmental Impact?

If you make an effort to keep your home energy efficient, ask your landscape designer or architect if there is anything that can be done in your landscape architecture plan to reduce your environmental impact.

Ask them if they’re familiar with vegetation and landscaping that is native to your area that can be placed within your landscape architecture plan. This type of vegetation requires less upkeep and water resources because they are adapted to the climate in your region.

Good urban planning firms can balance the design aesthetic you desire and environmental efficiency.

Are My Expectations Realistic?

An urban planning firm that promises big results on a very small budget should be a red flag. Good firms will give you a realistic idea of what can be accomplished. They should balance the characteristics of the land, your design preferences, and your budget.

This is Your Project

Don’t forget that it is ultimately your decision on how to proceed with this project. Following these five tips will help you pick the best urban planning firm for your landscape architecture plan.

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