Remodeling your patio entails a significant amount of preparation. Of course, you can do this best with the guidance of a specialist.
If you’re not even sure whom to approach, here are five types of patio professionals and how they differ from one another:
An architect is an expert at designing houses, offices and other types of structures, as well as landscapes. They choose their specialties based on the professional degree and experience, along with their state license. Architects can work with patios, but they generally design both the interior and exterior of entire houses, buildings or structures.
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. Their role is basically focused on drainage, irrigation and grading. Being horticultural experts, they are also well-versed in terms of what plantings will thrive in your area.
A designer may be any person who has obtained a professional degree in design, or has hands-on experience as an interior or exterior space designer. They are not required to take additional coursework before being able to design patios or other types of exterior spaces.
Landscape designers are generally college degree holders who majored 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.
Anyone with knowledge of plant material could be a garden designer. But of course, you should pick someone who has completed landscape and hardscape design courses and has studied 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. Most of the time, it’s a common sense affair. Or listen to your instincts. If you find someone too vague or inexperienced, move on to the next contender. Don’t choose the cheapest offer just because its the cheapest. As usual, you get what you pay for.
Also, ask for at least three client references before choosing a patio designer or builder. Of course, you’ll want to work with someone who has experience with jobs that are similar to what what you’d like them to do. Very importantly, find someone who actually gets your vision for the project because in the end, this is what makes it a real success. Lastly, don’t limit yourself to one prospect. Two or three will give you some nice room for comparisons before choosing the best.