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Six Cardinal Rules

Six Cardinal Rules

Mountain Life
By Hal Clifford
posted: 05/19/2000
  • Get your landscape architect involved early in the process, and be prepared to spend about 10 percent of your house's worth.
  • Leave your building site alone until the landscape architect has had his or her say. You may want to cut an access road or clear a few trees, but good planning before a shovel is lifted may save money and make the most of what nature created.
  • Hire a landscape architect you trust. You may have a relationship with this person for five or 10 years as the landscape plan matures, so find somebody you click with.
  • Have a sense of how you would like to use your outdoor spaces. Hot tub? Garden parties? Think in terms of exterior rooms.
  • Be patient: Remember that you're working with an organic medium. It won't look finished at first, no matter what you do.
  • Plan meticulously¿but be open to change. After all, you're an organic process, too, and what you see and think and learn may well alter your desires.

    3 Key Questions

  • Do I like this architect's work? We are talking about design, and design derives from vision.
  • Does your state require landscape architects to be licensed? (Some, like Vermont, do not.) If so, is your landscape architect properly accredited?
  • Check references. This is as true for landscape architects as for building architects.
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