Certified Landscape Designer
Landscape Designers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have no formal education and have compiled their skill set on the job. Others have a more academic background and may or may not have much field experience. Choosing a Landscape Designer with the CLD designation ensures competency across the whole spectrum of identified skills in both an academic and practical sense with a focus on residential landscaping. Required qualifications include passing a series of exams, submitting a portfolio which is reviewed by other CLD’s, and have six years of experience comprised of a combination of post secondary education and work experience. A Landscape Designer without the CLD designation may be just as competent as one with, but it is left to the consumer to determine via other factors if that designer is one they feel confident working with.
Landscape Architects also practice Landscape Design. To become a Landscape Architect requires a university education and then a series of exams and work experience. Landscape Architects can excel at Landscape Design but they also do many other things such as designing parks, building components for development plans, larger scale projects like golf courses and commercial developments. As such some Landscape Architects aren’t always accustomed to working at the residential level both from the perspective of logistics (drainage, suitable plants, building techniques and materials) but also the human side of Landscape Design at that level.
Design Images from our Certified Landscape Designer
FAQ - Landscape Designers
Do I need a Landscape Designer?
In short, yes! Landscaping projects are seldom simple.
Planting a few shrubs? Fairly simple, but what about the soil? What kinds of shrubs to you want? Will they be hardy? Will they outgrow the space or get insects and diseases? Will they get fruit you can eat or need lots of water? How about replacing a fence? Fairly simple, but what style? What materials? Is the old fence on the property line? Is there a bylaw you should be aware of? If you have a new home or a more entailed renovation then the list of questions, pitfalls, and possibilities compounds!
What does a Landscape Designer do?
A Landscape Designer identifies what the desired outcome for your property is and works backward from there to outline and communicate the steps required to achieve that outcome. Sounds simple enough, but sometimes refining the desired outcome is the first critical step. How do you want to use your property? To relax? A safe place for your kids to play? A swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, sports court or other major element incorporated? What levels of maintenance are you comfortable with? Do you want to grow things to eat and support biodiversity? Along the way through the process this vision may change as we explore options and discuss goals because we will apply our past experience with similar projects to yours and provide creative solutions.
What is the primary trait of a good Landscape Designer?
Ω Landscape Designers are primarily problem solvers. By considering the needs of the homeowner alongside the complexities of the site we compile all the factors into some form of a plan to develop the site. This might be as simple as a consultation for a simple project or a detailed set of plans and documentation for a complex project. Communication is at the core of a Landscape Designer’s job and they are equally at home with the human side as the technical side of landscaping, blending the needs of both.What areas of expertise do Landscape Designer have?
What areas of expertise do Landscape Designer have?
Because of the broad range of things that affect Landscape Design, most of them trades or specializations in their own right, Landscape Designers tend to be generalists, but are well networked and can figure out where to find necessary specific information. Landscape Design is often a team effort and it not uncommon for Landscape Designers to consult with professional tradespeople like carpenters and masons, or professionals like engineers or surveyors, product suppliers or sales reps, horticulturalists or arborists. Curiosity and exploration are key traits and there is a special moment in each design process where things all click together like the final piece in a jig-saw puzzle.
What steps are taken to ensure the project comes in on budget.
Budget is an important aspect of Landscape Design, there really is no point in designing something that isn’t feasible to implement. In establishing the goals for the landscape project we project cost ranges so we can adjust accordingly as we progress. A common issue with Landscaping projects is “scope creep” where the initial concept may be within budget but changes and additions begin to creep the budget. We will identify as we proceed when scope creep is happening and what can be done – with increases to the budget, adjustments to the scope, or phasing a project so some items ultimately desired will come at a later phase.
What is hard-scaping?
Hard-scaping is all the ‘hard’ aspects of a landscape. This includes earthwork and drainage, retaining walls, masonry, decks, patios, concrete, carpentry, structural changes, and grading. This is where the most costs are incurred and the more permanent items are constructed.
To view photos and videos relating to hardscaping service we offer, please visit our hardscaping page.
What is soft-scaping?
Soft-scaping is more the organic and horticultural aspects of the landscape. Trees, shrubs, perennials, turf (sod), soils. The lines can be a little blurred as our soft-scapers often install edging and our hard-scapers might install soils, but in general soft-scaping is the living side of the landscape.
What is a Landscape Design?
A Landscape Design is the documentation required to implement your project. Traditionally this was a set of two dimensional, or plan view, drawings similar to house blueprints. This is still the core of a good set of Landscape Design documents but it may also include 3D models or renderings, detailed construction drawings of specific items, as well as the estimate proposal which outlines all the specifics such as what materials, colors, styles, and cost.
Most landscape designs will include:
- Plans drawn to scale plus dimensioned so anyone can layout and confirm locations of design elements
- Outlines of buildings and property lines shown.
- Existing elements are accurately mapped if to remain and elements to be removed from the site identified.
- Grades are shown, usually in the form of spot elevations, to indicate at what elevation elements are at and what the drainage patterns are. (Expand link_)
- All proposed hard-scaping shown (patios, walks, decks, fences, structures etc).
- Locations and quantities of all soft-scaping & plant materials drawn to reasonable mature size.
- Patterns, hatching etc appropriate to help the reader quickly and accurately identify different areas.
- Additional elevations, sections, and construction details necessary to build specific elements.
We additionally include:
- Color render on the presentation copy further enhancing differentiating different materials, plants and enhancing how the drawing is interpreted as the final product. Schedules of specifications to help with choosing materials.
- 3D models or renderings as applicable.
What qualifications do Landscape Designer have?
Landscape Designers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have no formal education and have compiled their skill set on the job. Others have a more academic background and may or may not have much field experience. Choosing a Landscape Designer with the CLD designation ensures competency across the whole spectrum of identified skills in both an academic and practical sense with a focus on residential landscaping. Required qualifications include passing a series of exams, submitting a portfolio which is reviewed by other CLD’s, and have a minimum of six years of experience comprised of a combination of post secondary education and work experience. A Landscape Designer without the CLD designation may be just as competent as one with, but it is left to the consumer to determine via other factors if that designer is one they feel confident working with.
Why use a Certified Landscape Designer (CLD)? Here’s a link to learn a little more.https://cnlagetcertified.ca/designations/designer/
Landscape Architects also practice Landscape Design. To become a Landscape Architect requires a university education and then a series of exams and work experience. Landscape Architects can excel at Residential Landscape Design but they also do many other things such as designing parks, building components for development plans, larger scale projects like golf courses and commercial developments. As such some Landscape Architects aren’t always accustomed to working at the residential level both from the perspective of logistics (drainage, suitable plants, building techniques and materials) but also the human side of Landscape Design at that level.
Garden Designers focus primarily on “Softscaping” which is quite literally the ‘soft’ parts of the landscape. Plant and soil based. Garden Designers usually have more of a horticultural background with good plant knowledge as well as the maintenance aspects of landscaping. They may produce planting plans or select plants based on an on-site consultation process.
What kinds of Landscape Design software is used?
Software is a tool and does not take the place of an experienced user. Many of the advancements made with technology over recent years has given more options for presenting design work, helping with calculations and removing repetitive tasks freeing up more time for the creative aspect of the job.
Most Landscape Designers use some form a CAD program (Computer Assisted Drafting) to produce the primary portions of their work. Some have pre-loaded landscape specific components while others are custom made to the designers preferences and desired style – much in the same way that the hand drafted designs used to be produced. We are also starting to incorporate more 3D into our design processes as the functionality of those programs increases and the time required to produce adequate results comes down. Each project is approached individually and the drawings and 3D modelling that we apply depends on the needs.Within our design staff we use a combination of programs often starting with hand sketching on scale base plans to explore design layouts quickly and organically. The end result is a computer generated set of drawings in 2D (like house blueprints) or 3D models as applicable. No one program is superior to another, in the hands of a good Landscape Designer they are tools that help us produce the best representation of our vision for your project.
What other roles does a Landscape Designer often take on?
Landscape Designers don’t stop just because the drawings are complete. Landscape Designers often play a key role in project management making sure that the design intent is adhered to in the construction process. This includes being available for questions from the client and from installers on the jobsites. Occasionally a mid-stream adjustment is necessary due to a desired change order, error on the plans, or unexpected situation in the field. Landscape Designers can step in with their knowledge of the project and help to resolve these situations. Landscape Designers may also pay site visits during and after construction as much as possible to learn and document processes for future projects.
My home owners association (HOA) or developer requires the landscape design be approved. Do you do that?
Yes, we are quite familiar with most requirements of HOA’s and developers in areas such as Heritage Pointe, Artesia, Watermark, Elbow Valley etc. We can work with those guidelines and work toward getting the most out of your property while upholding community standards.
3D Drawings for Landscaping Design Projects
Providing clients with 2d designs do not always provide the persective of a design object such as an outdoor fireplace or large deck space. Our landscape designer can provide our clients 3D images to better show how the structures look from different angles. Adding a scale human in the 3D photo can assist with overall size and provide a good sense of scale and benefits such as privacy.