The Top 7 Questions Homeowners Ask Landscape Designers – Answered!

The Top 7 Questions Homeowners Ask Landscape Designers Answered by Nest Outdoors

Written by Wayne Lamarre · Last Updated February 21st, 2023

The Top 7 Questions Homeowners Ask Landscape Designers Answered by Nest Outdoors

If you've found the Nest Outdoors website, you just might be interested in hiring a landscape designer for some backyard improvements. If so, you might have some crucial queries regarding the design process and what to anticipate. That's why I'm here to answer The Top 7 Questions Homeowners Ask Landscape Designers and share at some straightforward responses based on my years of experience designing and installing local landscape projects for homeowners like you.

Key takeaways from this landscape design article from Nest Outdoors:

  1. Landscape designers create solutions that improve your quality of life.

  2. The design process brings logic and creativity to your decision-making process.

  3. Having a design created to meet your needs gives you peace of mind

  4. The design process increases the value of every dollar spent on construction.

  5. Hiring a landscape designer first is an intelligent investment.

Question 1:  Is hiring a landscape designer worth it? 

The short answer is yes. Now let's talk about why.

For many, this question of "is it worth it" is the most important and very common for those who have not previously worked with a design professional. It speaks to a concern for getting the most return for the money you dedicate to making landscape improvements. A professional landscape designer brings a lot of critical skills and experience to the table. 

Qualified designers are skilled, knowledgeable landscape professionals with a wide range of critical abilities and expertise. They understand the concepts of design and know how to apply them to the specific context of unique outdoor areas. This entails putting ideas into visual forms, such as hand sketches or computer-rendered plans that allow for evaluation and decision-making. Also, they possess industry knowledge of hardscape and softscape materials and the appropriate installation and construction methods to produce a beautiful, functional, and sustainable outdoor environment, which allows for accurately estimating the cost to install a chosen concept.

Professional landscape designers are skilled in technical aspects of landscape projects like grading, drainage, irrigation, and outdoor lighting design. These technical abilities are crucial for designing secure, long-lasting outdoor spaces that live up to your expectations and maximize your construction budget. Moreover, an experienced landscape designer possesses high-level communication abilities, one of the essential traits that separate the top tier of designers from less experienced ones. To effectively communicate their ideas to clients, contractors, and other stakeholders, they must have good verbal and written communication skills.

Project management is another essential ability for a qualified landscape designer to be able to set deadlines, handle finances, oversee the work of specialists and contractors, and manage projects from beginning to end. From creating the perfect mix of plants and trees to designing unique hardscapes, a skilled landscaper can provide invaluable expertise for your outdoor project. This gives you an incredible result and saves you time and money in the long run. Hiring a landscaper is an investment that can pay off in spades if done correctly. 

So, is hiring a landscape designer worth it? The answer is an unquestionable YES!


Question 2: Do you charge for landscape design services? 

Indeed, we do and must because a landscape designer is a knowledge worker adept at collecting and critically analyzing information and data from the landscape and its users. They then leverage their intellect, education, experience, and creativity to create viable design concepts that meet very particular criteria. That being the unique characteristics of your property, the features you would like to enjoy on it, the needs of everyone who will experience it, and the budget required to make it all happen. 

Landscape designers also ensure projects run as smoothly as possible when the time comes to build, saving you time, money, and a lot of headaches. This has real monetary value because it gives you a high return on investment. Firstly, in the form of absolutely getting the most out of the financial investment you make in your home and secondly, from the enjoyment for you, your family, and everyone lucky enough to hang out with you in your beautiful new outdoor spaces. 

Hand drawn patio and fire pit concept for a Amherst NH landscape design by Nest Outdoors


We offer complete landscape design-build services because the combination offers the most value to our clients.

Wayne Lamarre - Owner Nest Outdoors

Question 3: What should I expect to pay for landscape design services? 

As you might guess, the final price of landscape design services can vary widely depending on the size and scope of the design. Specific fees are generated based on the size and context of your landscape and what features we will look to consider in the design.

Smaller designs, such as basic patio or deck designs, start around $1500. As we broaden the scope to include things like a custom-built outdoor kitchen, shade structures, landscape lighting, a hot tub, swim spa, or pool, and custom stone features like retaining walls, fireplaces, or fire pits, the design could be upward of $5,000+ for this type a comprehensive master plan. It truly depends on the size, complexity, and scope of your project. We find a good rule of thumb is that between 2% -4% of the final construction budget will be dedicated to design and preconstruction planning. 


Question 4: Do I need to know what I want before hiring a landscape designer? 

Surprisingly, no, you don't have to be certain of your goals before hiring a designer. Just deciding that you want a better outside area is all that is necessary; the design process will take care of the rest.

The process aids in exploring all options, defining goals, and determining what should be included in a design catered to your wants, needs, and preferences as well as those of your family. You will probably have some things you're considering, styles you like, ideas, or sources of inspiration that may be useful. You'll receive suggestions for numerous features that fit your preferences for how you wish to use and inhabit your property as well as the best design approach. You will invariably be presented with ideas and options that you might not have known about or considered. 

So, if you're unsure of what exactly you want but know you want a better landscape than you have now, you're in a good spot to go ahead and contact a landscape designer. You'll be led through the correct process to make you aware of what is possible on your property and what is suitable for you and your family. Getting what you want is a process. A landscape designer will deliver a smart process that ensures you make smart choices and receive a successful outcome. 


Question 5: What if I don't like the design? 

Landscape design services aim to create an outcome that meets your needs and tastes. So, a competent designer will work to get to know you and understand your goals before heading off to develop options for consideration. When concepts are ready for review, the designer will explain the thinking behind each concept and go over why certain aesthetic or material choices were made, what opportunities presented themselves, and what challenges were present and overcome through design.

This is the point where you enter the design process to evaluate these initial ideas.

Concepts in various stages of development give you something against with you can make decisions. Your feedback helps hone in on the right approach, and the design will evolve and be modified until it all works for you. What's important to understand is that you are always part of the process. Yes, the designer will gather all the required data, create concepts that consider quantitative and qualitative criteria, and edit the options before resenting them to you to help you make decisions more easily. But your opinions, concerns, and overall feedback are crucial to a successful outcome. In short, because you are integral to the process, the final result should be something you love.


We love when new clients go through the design process because we know how much they will love their new outdoor living spaces when we build them.

The Nest Outdoors Team

Question 6: What will I get with landscape design services?

With landscape design services, you can expect to get a customized and detailed plan that outlines the design and features of your outdoor space.

This will generally be a 2D plan that is developed to scale utilizing CAD software. (We use Landmark from Vectorworks). It may be accompanied by hand renderings or 3D models, which can give you an idea of the concepts under consideration. We find conceptual drawings and landscape 3D modeling very effective means of communicating ideas, as it's not always easy to understand complex solutions through 2d plans alone. Computer 3D landscape design also gives you a real sense of what the proposed space can look and feel like, as the plan can be accurately geolocated to get a real sense of sunny and shady areas and allows us to "fly" you through a design to see it from multiple viewpoints. 


The deliverables of design services will also include:

  • Additional detailed drawings as needed.
  • Plant lists.
  • A landscape construction estimate for when it is time to build. 

All of this serves as the roadmap for your project, allowing you to visualize the end result, which will enable the construction crew to coordinate with suppliers and any specialty subcontractors and avoid surprises or mistakes along the way.


Landscape design plan with deck and patio combination featuring an outdoor kitchen with pergola and perennial gardens by Nest Outdoors


Question 7: How long will my design take to complete? 

The timeline for completing a landscape design can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the project, the availability of the designer and the client, and other factors. 

Here are the Nest Outdoors Landscape Design Timelines: 

  • Smaller, simpler landscape designs take between 2-4 weeks.
  • Medium-sized designs without a high degree of complexity usually take 3 - 6 weeks 
  • Larger or more complex landscape designs take from 2-4 months.

Much of this depends on the design team's current workload, which can depend on the time of year. We deliver beautiful designs all twelve months of the year, but winter is a great time for landscape design services in New Hampshire, as construction projects have generally been put to sleep for the winter. Many of the designs we do in the spring are slated for late summer or autumn builds, with summer designs generally being slated for construction late in the year or the following season. 

A vital consideration in any design timeline is your availability and responsiveness in providing feedback and making decisions. 

(Read our full article on how long it takes to create a landscape design here.)



The principal goal of our landscape design services here at Nest Outdoors is to improve the quality of your home life. That's the mission; that's why we exist. 

It takes education and experience to create a landscape that meets your goals and your expectations. Ultimately, landscape design is an investment, not an expense, and it's the essential, worthwhile process by which beautiful backyards are created and enjoyed for decades.


Additional landscape design FAQ

Most certainly. For example, some landscape designers may focus on gardens, while some with formal education in landscape architecture are qualified to take on larger projects for municipalities, corporations, or developers. The best option for you is one experienced in the type of landscape improvements you are looking to make on your property.

At Nest Outdoors, we focus exclusively on residential landscape design-build services for homeowners who want to improve their quality of life through better outdoor living. Our projects typically include patios or decks, shade structures, outdoor kitchens, stone walls, perennial gardens, and outdoor/landscape lighting.

Hiring a landscape designer before a pool installer or other specialty contractor is smart because a pool is a major outdoor living project. It involves a lot of considerations and usually needs to coordinate with multiple landscape features or elements like patios or decks, adjacent gardens, recreational areas, and outdoor structures. The design process can determine the ideal pool placement, size, shape, and elevation. Working with a landscape designer creates a cohesive design that integrates your pool and outdoor living areas into a unified plan.

Not all. There are some landscape design companies whose services end in design. The design produced gets outsourced for construction by putting it out to bid to other landscape companies. Conversely, some landscapers focus only on construction and either take on less complex landscaping projects or outsource the essential design creation. At Nest Outdoors, we offer complete design-build services because we know they bring our clients the most value. Our team is keenly aware of every design decision, its impact on the budget, and how a project needs to be constructed. As such, no detail slips through the crack or is left unattended, and every project is built to complete the design intent with maximum return for your investment.

In short, peace of mind. Many of our clients have spent countless hours thinking about what is possible in their backyard before contacting us. We know what it's like to be reminded that you want to improve your backyard whenever you look out the window from the living room or kitchen sink. It can seem overwhelming to consider what your new yard could look like and what features it could include. The design process clarifies everything, as it thoroughly vets every viable option and material and produces a perfect plan for you and your family. When the process is complete, all you need to decide is when you want to make it a reality and start enjoying it. That's a happy place to be. 

Wayne Lamarre is the owner of the Bedford landscaping and design company Nest Outdoors

About the author of this article

Wayne Lamarre

Wayne founded Nest Outdoors to expand great home-living experiences to your backyard. He combines his formal art, landscaping, and design education with over 25 years of project construction experience.

Learn more about Wayne

It's time for better outdoor living!

Contact Nest Outdoors for your landscape design

Cozy bluestone patio with stone sitting walls designed and installed by Nest Outdoors

This cozy patio was designed for a couple in Bedford, New Hampshire, to enjoy with their two boys and the new family dog. The beautiful patio and other projects on the property gave the family a landscape with better functionality and utility for daily use and entertaining.

Bedford landscape designer Nest Outdoors

Nest Outdoors

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