Don’t get led up the garden path by the wrong landscape professional – A comprehensive guide to the different landscape professionals available to you

  • Did you know that not all landscape professionals are created equally?
  • Did you know that there are different types of landscape professionals?
  • Do you know which type of landscape professional is best suited to your needs?

At Urban and Rural Design, we understand that trying to figure out what kind of landscape professional you need can be bamboo-zling. It can be hard to tell the type of professional from the
trees. For that reason, we’ve put together this incredibly useful guide to the different types of landscape professionals and outlined when you should use each one.

Landscape architects – your knowledgeable landscape professional

Landscape architects are your problem solvers. They’re the most qualified type of landscape professional that you’ll come across and they have the university degree to prove it.

Their in-depth theoretical knowledge allows them to tackle complicated landscaping issues. If you’re dealing with lots of levels, a sloping site, retaining walls, driveway designs, pool designs, council regulations or anything that is built or intricate – you’ll want a landscape architect on your side.

They’re used to working on big projects like parks and public spaces, but landscape architects are equally as at home working on domestic jobs, so don’t be afraid that your job will be too small for them

Their technical expertise means they have the in-depth skills needed to create detailed construction drawings. They often work with high level professionals like engineers – you might say they speak the same language. All of this means, when working with a landscape architect you have oodles of technical expertise at your fingertips 

Landscape architects are outdoor legal eagles. They know all about relevant Australian Standards, council regulations and legislation and they’ll make sure that your plans are legally compliant. 

When you work with a landscape architect there’s added peace of mind. Why? Because they must be registered with and accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). AILA will only register individuals that have completed the necessary studies and they hold landscape architects to professional standards. 

Don’t be fooled though. Landscape architects aren’t just technical experts. They’re also horticultural experts. They know what plants will look good and grow well in your location. They’re also brilliant at making your garden sustainable and environmentally friendly – both super important factors in our modern-day world. 

When you hire a landscape architect, you’re guaranteed a space that is as attractive as it is functional.

Questions to ask your landscape architect:

  • Can they provide verification that they are currently registered with AILA?
  • Can you see plans they have drawn up for past clients?
  • Can you see photos of their designs once they have been installed?
  • Can you contact past clients for references?
  • Do they have professional indemnity and liability insurance as a minimum?
  • Are they up to date with council regulations in your area?
  • Can they provide an estimate of probable costs so that you end up with a design you can afford to build

At Urban and Rural Design, we’re landscape architects. We’re really proud of our qualifications and even more proud of our work . Contact us to hear more about what we can do for you.

Landscape designers – your artistic landscape professional

Landscape designers are your true creatives. They might not be as qualified as architects, but they have a passion for all things green thumb related. Landscape designers aim to create beautiful
gardens and outdoor spaces.

Does this mean that they have no formal qualifications? Not at all. Landscape designers should have a Diploma or similar qualification form TAFE or a registered training organisation. A lot of their knowledge comes from practical, hands on experience and because of this they often offer design and construction services.

They generally have an excellent knowledge of plant species. They’re visionaries. What do we mean by that? They can look at your space now and envision what it’ll look like in the future with a great degree of accuracy.

If you have a smaller project that is relatively uncomplicated, a landscape designer might be perfect for your needs. 

Questions to ask your landscape designer:

  • What formal qualifications do they have?
  • Can you see copies of design plans for past clients?
  • Can you see photos of their designs once they have been constructed?
  • Do they have knowledge of current Council Regulations and Australian Standards?
  • What practical experience do they have?
  • Do they carry the necessary insurances, i.e. professional indemnity and liability insurance?
  • Can they provide an estimate of probable costs so that you end up with a design you can afford to build?

We can handle your landscape design needs and Urban and Rural as well. Get in touch for an obligation free consultation today.

Landscape contractors – your strong landscape professionals

Landscape contractors are your heavy lifters. They do the hard work of bringing the vision created by landscape architects and designers to life.

They may have a TAFE qualification, but it is a qualification that focuses on construction skills rather than design skills. Some landscape contractors have, however, developed an eye for simple
designs over their time on the tools.

Keep in mind that some landscape contractors have no formal qualifications. Some only have years of practical, on the job experience.

Questions to ask your landscape contractor: 

  • Do they have a current structural landscape license?
  • Do they have formal TAFE qualifications?
  • Are they up to date with current Australian Standards and Council Regulations?
  • Do they have Home-Owners’ Warranty Insurance for jobs over $20,000?
  • Do they have current liability insurance?
  • Can you contact past clients to obtain a reference?
  • Can you see pictures of past work?
  • Can they provide a quotation for the work to be carried out?

Failing to ask these questions is a mistake. In fact, there are a number of mistakes you can make when it comes to your landscape journey – you can read more about them in our blog post: 4 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Garden and Landscape Design Sydney.

Urban and Rural have their own team of landscape contractors but if you’d prefer to use your own you can, we’ll happily oversee them for you. Let’s talk about how that might work.

So, you can see that each landscape professional has a role to play. Whether you need one or all of them will depend on your individual needs.

No matter what type of landscape professional you hire, it’s imperative that:

  • You have good rapport with them 
  • They listen to your needs and wishes
  • They can bring the job in on budget and that they won’t try to push you out of your financial comfort zone
  • You meet the person who will be doing the work and not just the head of the company
  • You establish a collaborative relationship so that your wishes and concerns are heard
  • They provide a formal contract for the job so you’re all on the same page
  • They are upfront about fees and costs
  • You don’t get led up the garden path and choose the wrong type of landscape professional for the job!

If you’re still unsure which types of landscape professionals might be needed for your job, feel free to get in touch with Urban and Rural Design – we’d be happy to advise you.