The Association of Professional Landscape Designers® (APLD) was founded in 1989 as an international organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards for the landscape design profession. The DC MD VA Chapter represents APLD members in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Organized in 2003, the Chapter provides opportunities for members to further develop their professional skills, network with other green industry professionals, and engage in community service. The chapter serves the public by providing online resources for finding and working with local professional landscape designers.
Like APLD at the national level, the DC MD VA Chapter seeks
Professional landscape designers have the ecological, aesthetic, and technical training to provide solutions that might not have occurred to you. A designer will find creative ways to produce an outdoor space that reflects your needs and sensibilities, while at the same time maximizing your available space and addressing site concerns such as drainage, screening and soil conditions.
Avoid Costly Trial and Error
Landscape designers have the horticultural knowledge to ensure that the right plants are put in the right place—the first time. A designer will select plants that are right for the mid-Atlantic region—plants that will succeed here without pesticides, bring beauty and color, attract birds and butterflies, reduce the need for watering and are not invasive. A designer can unlock your site’s hidden potential and identify important issues to address early in your project rather than later when they can be more costly to resolve.
What Will a Designer Need from Me?
What are your hopes and needs for your project? Your goal may be to create space for entertaining or family activities, make your garden accessible at night, or to enjoy a private sanctuary. You may need to address drainage issues, improve circulation, screen out noise, add outdoor storage, or discourage deer.
A designer will ask if you are interested in a comprehensive plan for your entire property, or addressing a more limited area. Either way, your designer will need to know your approximate budget and project timetable, and can help you estimate these if you have not previously undertaken this type of work.
How Do Landscape Designers Work?
After listening to your ideas and priorities, a designer analyzes your architecture and site and proposes solutions. These recommendations can be limited to an oral consultation or can take the form of a landscape plan, including a detailed plant list; the locations and materials for walkways, patios, water features, and fences; as well as other aspects of a garden such as furniture and sculpture. Plans can be implemented all at once or over time, and should be adjusted to your budget priorities.
Some landscape designers develop design plans, others provide you plans and oversee the landscape contractor(s) you hire, while a third group—usually called Design/Build—provides plans as well as installation of all aspects of the design. Whichever way they work, your designer can help you tap into a network of skilled and licensed contractors to help insure that your project is implemented as intended.
Some designers bill for their services at an hourly rate, while others provide you with a set fee for your entire design. Installation costs are usually billed separately from design, and cannot be finalized until the design is completed. You should discuss fee arrangements and your installation budget with a designer before engaging his or her services.
How Can I Find a Landscape Designer?
The Association of Professional Landscape Designers® (APLD) is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards for landscape design professionals. Locate designers on this web site, using the Find a Designer tab.
Once you’ve found a designer, you should review samples of their work. This could be in the form of plans and photographs of gardens they’ve produced, visiting gardens they’ve completed, or talking with some of their clients. Equally important is finding a designer whose style and personality are a good fit with yours. Landscape design is a collaborative process, so trust and confidence are key to a successful designer/homeowner partnership.