Posts tagged landscape architecture

Hiring A Landscape Architect, Designer Or Contractor in Durango Colorado

Choosing the Best Landscaping Professional in Durango Colorado

You may be confused by the many companies and individuals listed under the general heading or an internet search for landscaping.  Not surprisingly, there are different skill sets for architects, designers and contractors. In this post I hope to offer some understanding of the differences between them and help you to hire an appropriate

Gardenhart Landscape & Design builds rock wall skid steer moves boulders for wall landscape design

Landscape Contractors use equipment to construct the design

company or individual for your project.  One note of caution, currently Colorado does not license or regulate the title “Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer” so anyone can use these titles to describe their abilities, regardless of their education and work experience.

I will outline  the skills involved in each of these areas as well as their education and what situations they are most suited for.  Of course, there is always some overlap within all aspects of professional life, but this will get you started.

Landscape Architect: Most likely with a Master’s degree from an accredited university, a member of a large firm that does large-scale public works projects, parks, airport design, regional transportation designs etc.  Capable of guiding public meetings and creating numerous concept and design drawings.  Also able to produce residential design and planting plans as well.  They are more often hired by municipalities and developers for their abilities to promote and sell the concepts to the public or investors.

Landscape Designer:  Hopefully holds either a Bachelors of Arts or Science in Landscape Architecture from an accredited university.  They may also hold horticultural degrees from colleges or vocational schools, but it is important for them to have some formal schooling.  They are capable of producing detailed drawings, to scale, showing all aspects of the proposed work, along with recommended plants and hardscape materials.  They will be more informed about what plants do well and the climate demands of the specific location.  They may not want to install the project, but want to sell you the design and let you find someone to do the rest.

Landscape Contractor:  The owner will often have some schooling in landscape or horticultural programs and has learned lots by working in the industry for several years, figuring out things as needed but many of these contractors may or may not have design experience beyond what they have seen others do. Many landscape companies do lots of different types of work, sprinkler installation and repair,  tree care, aerating and fertilizing , lawn mowing and weeding etc.  Other companies will specialize by installing landscape features such as retaining walls, water gardens, flagstone patios, outdoor kitchens along with lawn and planting areas.

If you have read this far, you probably are interested in finding out about me, David Hart owner at Gardenhart Landscape & Design, working out of Durango Colorado, in the southwest corner of the state. To be clear with regards to the above post, I consider myself a “Landscape Designer”.

landscape renovation repair of retaining wall durango landscape designerColorado landscapingl

Gardenhart Landscape & Design re-builds a boulder wall near Durango Co.

I graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture in 1983 and have lived in the Durango area ever since.  Gardenhart Landscape & Design is a design-build firm, providing comprehensive oversight from start to finish.  We incorporate a natural, native look into all of our projects, using best practices in the industry.  These include native plants and stone, low water and fire resistant design principles and a deep understanding of the local soils and climate.


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design


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More Fall Action Tips From Gardenhart Landscape & Design

Fall is well on its way here in Southwest Colorado, the nights are cold and the days usually sunny and cool. Perfect weather to work in your garden or ride your mountain bike ( watch out for hunters, wear your orange ) in the woods around Durango.   Gardenhart Landscape & Design is working with a few clients to get some trees in the ground before winter really sets in, a good idea I wrote about several weeks ago.  More things to think about to get ready for winter…

1)   Start a calendar so you can track when and how much you water your trees and other plants.  It does not have to be very technical about how much water was applied, just give yourself in idea, a lot or not so much this time. You will use this information in the upcoming months to help you decide  when you should water during the winter.

2)   Turn your compost at least one more time, before it freezes, this will give the worms a good supply of water and table scraps to feed upon for the next few months. If you do not have at least two piles going, start another one now with all the leaves from your yard and the neighbors ones as well.

I hope this information is helpful to my readers and gives you things to do to help get your landscape in the shape you want, there are many things you can do.  Any questions about your landscape or topics you would like me to address?

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David Hart

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Why use a Landscape Architect?

You may wonder why it is a good idea to hire an Architect to design your residential landscape project, after all , it does add to the overall cost.  But remember, you always get what you pay for. The consequences of an inexpensive pair of shoes may not be that great, but the problems encountered with a tree planted too close to your house or a flagstone patio that drains water up against your sliding glass door can be significant. When interviewing a potential landscaper for your project, ask them specific questions about their education, experience and references.

Landscape Designer or Landscape Architect?

An individual does not have to have any formal schooling to call themselves a designer, often they just have a few years of experience in making things look pretty.  They usually do whatever the homeowner suggests, and they, the homeowner, often know even less about the landscaping process than the contractor does. I see many local projects that are not appropriate for our climate, they use trees and shrubs that do not thrive , use excessive amounts of bluegrass lawn, flagstone patios that are too small or too large  and the list goes on and on.  On the other hand, an architect will have an appropriate degree from a college or university and they will be glad to offer that information.  A good architect will ask you many questions about how you intend to use your landscape.

  • Do you need places for children or pets to play?
  • How about entertaining, do you need an outdoor kitchen or just a spot for the grill?
  • Do you enjoy working in the yard?  Mowing the grass?
  • Would you like to grow your own food?

Obviously the list of questions could (and should be) extensive, after all, the more they know about you and how you want to use your outdoor spaces the more likely their landscape design will be successful. You will have enough lawn to appease the neighbors and the kids to play on, but not too much to mow or be politically incorrect in our dry climate.  Large trees will shade the patio in the heat of a summer afternoon but not block the winter sun from warming your house. A good landscape design will add thousands of dollars to the value of the property because it seamlessly integrates the house and it’s inhabitants with the outside and nature. Remember what Ben Franklin said so long ago” An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure ”  Get a landscape that works!


David Hart

Gardenhart Landscape & Design


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