Country Gardens - - Garden Know-how -

From idea to com­ple­tion, the gar­den ren­o­va­tion was a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for clients Cyle and Kelly El­dred and de­signer Jessi Bloom of NW Bloom Eco­log­i­cal Ser­vices. Here is their advice when con­sid­er­ing hir­ing a land­scape de­signer.

• DO YOUR HOME­WORK. Don’t be afraid to look at the work of a num­ber of de­sign­ers to find some­one whose projects you like.

• SHARE THE LA­BOR to save money. “We rented a sod cut­ter to re­move the un­wanted lawn, and we also moved dirt by hand, with a shovel and wheel­bar­row,” Cyle says.

• RE­CY­CLE, RE­PUR­POSE, and sal­vage ma­te­ri­als such as bro­ken con­crete and left­over tim­bers.

• TRUST YOUR DE­SIGNER’S ex­pe­ri­ence. “We did a lot of the plant­ing, but Jessi de­signed the place­ment. That’s why it’s worth it to hire a de­signer be­cause she knew what those 4-inch plants would look like when ma­ture,” Cyle says.

• ASK TO SEE the can­di­dates’ port­fo­lio, dis­cuss their de­sign­build process, and con­sider their cre­den­tials and pro­fes­sional al­liances with hard­scape con­trac­tors and plant nurs­eries.

• TALK ABOUT IM­PLE­MEN­TA­TION dur­ing the de­sign process. “It’s easy to draw a beau­ti­ful gar­den on pa­per but more im­por­tant to dis­cuss how to ac­tu­ally in­stall a gar­den,” Bloom says. “Dis­cuss in­stal­la­tion costs be­fore plant se­lec­tion.”

• UN­DER­STAND DE­SIGN FEES and the over­all bud­get. Know what you want to spend and com­mu­ni­cate that clearly. Bloom rec­om­mends ne­go­ti­at­ing an hourly de­sign rate rather than a flat fee so you know what you’re pay­ing for.

• BE PA­TIENT. “A land­scape de­sign should not be fin­ished overnight. It should take time and some backand-forth pro­cess­ing,” Bloom says.

Note: Con­sult your lo­cal zon­ing and plan­ning of­fice to check on plant-height re­stric­tions or wa­ter­ing reg­u­la­tions be­fore plant­ing along the curb­side strips of land.

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