Sunrise Landscape Design

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. 1. Why should I work with a landscape designer?
  2. 2. What is the difference between a landscape designer, a landscape architect and a landscape contractor?
  3. 3. What is the benefit of professionally landscaping my home?
  4. 4. How much does it cost to create a design?
  5. 5. How long does it take to complete the landscape design process?
  6. 6. How far in advance should I begin planning my landscape?
  7. 7. What if I don’t like something you suggest?
  8. 8. What happens when the design is finished and ready to be installed?
  9. 9. What will it take to maintain the investment I have just made in my new garden?


Why should I work with a landscape designer?

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Because a landscape designer spends their life thinking about the subject, they come to your garden filled with knowledge, creative ideas and imagination to develop a custom design that is uniquely suited to your home, lifestyle and personal preferences.

Landscape design is challenging from an artistic, environmental, architectural, and horticultural viewpoint. Unlike other art forms, a garden is not a static creation, but a dynamic, evolving ecosystem that requires continued inputs and energy over time. Its creation requires careful thought on different levels; botanically (which plants to choose), spatially (where to put what), seasonally (how will it look year-round?) and temporally (what will it look like in ten years?). A landscape designer factors all these things in and then adds an element of style that provides the spirit of the garden.

By spending time with a landscape designer to work through the design details during the planning phase, you will save money and time as it is less costly to consider the alternatives and change your mind on paper than it is during installation or after completion. Landscape design consists of a process that culminates in the creation of a set of documents that become your blueprint and information source for the project. These documents will assist you in obtaining your landscaping projection implementation costs through a landscape contractor to fully develop your site either in a single project or in phases over time. Sunrise Landscape Design will be happy to provide referrals to reputable and talented Landscape Contractors in your area.

What is the difference between a landscape designer, a landscape architect and a landscape contractor?

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Landscape designers provide design ideas, conceptual plans and planting plans, but do not provide any structural analyses or engineering specifications for how things are to be built. Those details are subject to design by civil engineers, landscape architects or landscape contractors. Designers will likely know plants well and be able to provide horticultural advice/information. Hardscapes, such as pavers, retaining walls, and water features are often included in their plans to enhance the aesthetic sense of the design plan.

Landscape architects have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in Landscape Architecture, are licensed by the state and are trained in designing and engineering the exterior built environment. They are qualified to create construction-ready plans with construction details for complex retaining walls, decks, arbors and water features.

Landscape contractors implement the plans of landscape designers and architects, as well as their own plans if they offer design/build services. Some landscape contractors have a horticulture background and others do not. Some contractors lack the time to design their own projects so they work in association with landscape designers and architects. Contractors typically submit a bid for the designed project which can be a fixed price or on a time and material basis.

What is the benefit of professionally landscaping my home?

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Not only will you increase the enjoyment of your property, you will increase the value of your home! The March 2003 issue of Smart Money, The Wall Street Journal Magazine of Personal Business, reported you can increase your home’s resale value by 15% by revamping your landscape. Money Magazine, May 2003 issue, states “The six most important words in yard improvement: curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal”

How much does it cost to create a design?

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Design fee estimates are calculated on a project by project basis after an initial meeting at your site. Fees are dependent upon the size of the property, the scope and complexity of the project and range from $250 to $1,000.

How long does it take to complete the landscape design process?

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The design phase of the process normally takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the complexity of the project, my design backlog and how frequently we can meet.

How far in advance should I begin planning my landscape?

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Based on experience, I recommend beginning the design process for your landscape at least 3 months before your want your landscape installed. Depending on the availability of the landscape contractor that you choose and the complexity of the project, it could take as long as 6 months.

What if I don’t like something you suggest?

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Ideally, the design process is collaborative so that we work together to create a place of beauty and personal meaning especially for you. I listen carefully to your ideas and vision for the property and obtain as much input as possible from you about your goals, lifestyle and likes/dislikes through our dialog and completion of my client questionnaire. The more information you give me upfront, the better, i.e. photos you have collected of favorite gardens, plants, furniture, containers, etc. I then work to create a garden setting that meets your goals, reflects your aesthetic tastes and complements your house architecture and site character.

What happens when the design is finished and ready to be installed?

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To assist clients in moving smoothly from design to successful installation, I have developed working relationships with some of the most respected and talented landscape contractors, arborists, landscape material suppliers and nurseries/plant sources. I provide assistance during the construction phase by furnishing contractor referrals, performing site observation, placing plants for installation and locating garden elements or hard-to-find plants. Basic services are paid by the landscape contractor, but additional time can be requested at an hourly rate.

What will it take to maintain the investment I have just made in my new garden?

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Even if you have requested a “low maintenance” garden, every garden requires some tender loving care to help it grow and achieve its intended beauty. This can usually be accomplished with a combination of regular weekly maintenance and specialty services provided as needed throughout the year.

Proper maintenance of your garden includes water management through the seasons by adjusting your sprinkler timeclock, monitoring your irrigation system for coverage and repairs/adjustments needed, pruning young trees and shrubs for structure, deadheading perennials, weeding, periodic fertilization and bed clean-up (especially in the spring and fall). I’m available for consultations throughout the year to make referrals to certified arborists or pesticide applicators (and other landscape professionals), or provide you with advice and training.

I can also suggest area companies with horticultural training that can assist you with your landscape maintenance needs. Keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for and I recommend a company that has knowledge of proper care and natural pruning techniques for each plant type rather than the “mow, blow & go” types who will shear all of our plant materials regardless of the natural or intended form. Once the garden is installed, I can help to provide referrals for qualified maintenance professionals.