Should I Hire a Landscape Architect for My Outdoor Project?

To hire a pro or not hire a pro? That seems to always be the question with home improvement projects — and it’s no different when it comes to the outdoors. Do you shell out the money and hire a professional who can transform your backyard or embark on the DIY adventure of landscape design? The truth is, whether or not you should hire a landscape architect is dependent on many factors. We’ve outlined a few guidelines that will help you determine if you need a professional landscaper for your next outdoor project or if you are ready to tackle it on your own.

Landscaping in Backyard
Sandy Springs Pool, Deck & Porch (view project)

Let’s get real

The first thing you’ll want to do is take a realistic assessment of your resources at hand. If you want to do it yourself, do you have the time to dedicate to the project? Do you have the skill set (and patience) required? If you’re looking at hiring a pro for your project, make sure you have the finances needed to afford a landscape architect as well as other professionals that may need to be hired. Being honest with the resources you have from the very start is key to any well-executed home improvement project.

As you’re making an assessment of your own skills and resources, you’ll also want to look at what exactly you’re working with. Factors like the type of land and the challenges it may present are a good place to start. For example, a sloping yard with hard red clay or bedrock will definitely be more of a challenge to work with than a flat yard with fertile soil. As you think about the challenges, ask yourself if it’s something you want to personally take on or if it’s best left to the pros.


Pool with Waterfall Feature
Allendale Deck & Pool (view project)

How big are we talking?

Once you take the type of land into account, consider how extensive the project will be. If there are no major changes that you need to make and you have the time and resources to complete (and maybe even enjoy) that outdoor project, go for it! Reviving your garden, planting new grass, or building a relatively small structure may very well be in your wheelhouse — especially if you recruit a few hands to help.

If you are working with a larger project but still want to take it on yourself, there is no better time than now to go DIY with outdoor design. There are so many resources to draw from today that are of little or no cost. Websites like Houzz, HGTV, and Better Homes and Gardens are a great place to start mapping out ideas whether you hire a professional or not.


Azek Composite Deck
Rob Roy Decks (view project)

When to give it to the pros

If there is any kind of major construction or landscape change that you foresee, it’s likely that hiring a professional will be the best choice. Unless you have past experience in this field or have a lot of time to dedicate to learning a new craft, hiring a landscape architect will allow your project to go smoothly. They’ll be able to contribute creative ideas, invaluable insight and handle the construction from start to finish. A landscape architect can even help you plan your project in phases, over the span of a few years, if it works better for your budget.

Needless to say, if your project is large in scope and requires the expertise and skills that you lack, you’ll need to hire a professional to get the job done. The result will be well worth it as you have a finished product that you are proud of. However, if your project is a simple one that aligns with your skill set and available time – go DIY! In the end, it comes down to the type of project you’re working with and what you’re able to take on yourself.

Need help finding a Landscape Architect? If you live in Austin, TX or Atlanta, GA we can help you find a Craftsman for your project!

Get inspiration and ideas for your landscape project on our Houzz Ideabooks.


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