Finding the Right Type of Professional

Who is the right professional for your hardscape and landscape projects at home?

One of the most common dilemmas when starting any home project is “who should we hire?” Depending on the location, scope and materials used in your project, you may need one or multiple industry professionals. In this blog, we’ve broken down the types of home and landscaping renovation professionals, the differences between them, and who work together. 

Types of Home Professionals

Landscape Architects: Landscape Architects are required to not only have an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree, but also need to be state licensed. They have more technical training and often work on larger sites with larger projects. This is true especially in California if you’re doing a full-scale remodel with site design, building retaining walls or patios, putting in a pool or creating a full outdoor living area.  This is when you’ll need a landscape architect.

Landscape Designer: Landscape Designers usually work on smaller residential projects. Designers focus mostly on plants and aesthetics, but because of the drought-prone California climate, many Bay Area landscape designers also work with hardscapes. If your hardscapes consist of pathways or garden paths, a landscape designer can work this into your overall plan.

Landscape Contractor: While some designers will get their hands dirty, many will also work with landscape contractors to execute the plan. Landscape contractors are the ones moving the actual earth, planting, laying pavers, etc. We recommend having a landscape architect or landscape designer and letting them hire the contractors for your project. This ensures the master site plan is followed – saving you time and money.

Masonry Contractor: While we generally think of masons as the ones laying the brick, stone, rock and/or installing concrete, a good masonry contractor is worth detailed research and budget. Generally, hiring a masonry contractor comes after the site plan and picking materials. Mason A might create beautiful outdoor brick fireplaces while Mason B might specialize in stone retaining walls. You’ll want to hire the right masonry contractor depending on your project needs. Masonry contractors can be independently hired or subcontracted by a landscape architect or general contractor (GC). A reputable masonry contractor will work in tandem with a design professional, checking the site blueprints and addressing any concerns that may arise. A good masonry professional is worth its weight in gold.

Design-Build Firm: While many of the above professionals will know a variety of subcontractors to complete your home project, they may lack the advantage of a single project manager. A Design-Build firm offers a completely unified process, taking the project from design to construction with one single source of leadership. You’re more likely to stay within budget as you’ll avoid costly change orders and have a more accurate budget from the beginning. In addition, design-build firms are more likely to complete your project on time as they’re used to working with each other. And you have a single source of accountability in both aspects. While a design-build firm may seem like a more expensive endeavor, it can actually save you money and headaches in the long run.

Residential Architect: A residential architect is trained to design your home for flow, function, and overall lifecycle. An architect will ensure that not only is the design what you want as a homeowner but it also adheres to local building codes. For interior projects that involve load-bearing walls, kitchen remodels and renovating older homes, a residential architect will help solve complex design problems. Architects generally charge hourly, but if you want them to manage the subcontractors on the project, they will usually add an additional 5-10 percent of the total project cost. While an architect’s fees will significantly add to your budget, the investment pays off in the quality of your renovation and life in your home afterward. 

Who to Hire Depending on Type of Project

Still not sure what type of professional to hire? Our showroom product specialists can help you discuss the scale of your project, materials and what type of professional might be best to execute. In the past 100 years we’ve created strong relationships with a variety of professionals throughout the Bay Area.  We can recommend the direction to head in to help begin your dream project today.  Get started today by reaching out to the Mountain View Showroom to make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation with one of our three product specialists. 

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