Patio remodeling is a major project that deserves serious preparation. Of course, you can do this best with the guidance of a specialist.
If you’re not even certain about whom you should approach, the following are five types of patio professionals and the ways in which they differ from one another:
An architect is someone who designs residential, business and other types of structures, including landscapes. They choose their specialties based on the professional degree and experience, along with their state license. Though you can hire an architect to remodel your patio, they often work with entire buildings or structures inside out.
A landscape architect has at least a four-year college degree and a minimum of two years of experience working under the auspices of a licensed landscape architect. These professionals are focused on irrigation, grading and drainage. Being horticultural experts, they are also well-versed in terms of what plantings will thrive in your area.
A designer is any professional who has acquired a degree in design from a reputable school or course provider, or has years of hands-on experience designing exterior and interior spaces. They may or may not have additional coursework that lets them design a patio or any other exterior space.
A landscape designer usually has a four-year college degree in landscape design. The better ones usually have extensive experience in the business and a state license. Landscape designers are generally hired by design/build firms to execute plans for exterior living areas, including patios.
Anybody who knows plant material can be a garden designer. But of course, you’ll want someone who has actually completed a course in landscape and hardscape design, as well as horticulture. A lot of design/build firms employ garden designers.
If you intend to hire a patio professional, choose one as though you were screening a prospective employee. You have to meet all the candidates before deciding which one is best for the job. It’s often just a matter of common sense. Or listen to your instincts. If you find someone too vague or inexperienced, move on to the next contender. Don’t go for the lowest price for the sake of it. As usual, you get what you pay for.
Also, ask for at least three client references before choosing a patio designer or builder. You want to hire someone who is experienced with jobs that are similar to what you have in mind. Very importantly, look for someone who actually understands your plans because this is what ultimately makes your project successful. Finally, don’t confine yourself to just one prospect. Two or three will give you some nice room for comparisons before choosing the best.