I'm so glad you asked that question...actually, its really a rhetorical question, because its never too soon to involve a landscaper in a project. Of course, the reverse is also true - Its never too late to involve a landscaper, but the overall effect achieved, is diminished the later we're involved.
Collaboration is key
The general mistake that is made by most people - home-owners and professionals in the associated industries included, is to bring a landscaper in as the project has really gained momentum.
But its at this point, that most of the key decisions have already been made. Money has been invested in a direction which usually means that this direction is now set in stone.
As I've mentioned before, I'm a big believer in collaboration. Architects and landscapers should be talking to each other from the start and all the way through a project.
The problem is that as long as we view the garden as an afterthought, this attitude will reflect in the final appearance of the garden. Rather than the garden being an integrated part of the whole home, it will look like something that has been tacked on.
It's never too soon
I can't tell you how many times we could have saved our clients a huge amount of time and money. Here are some examples:
- Like the project where we needed to hire a crane to move pots, rocks and palms in because a wall had been built already, which could have been moved by hand at the beginning of the project.
- Or the time where a retaining wall had been built to hold a bank, where we could have planted Vetiver grass which would have held the bank better (and more attractively) than any concrete retaining wall.
- There have been several instances in projects that I have been involved in too late where an environmental solution was available for a problem, which engineers and architects could only see an (expensive) engineering solution. You'd be amazed at how many problems rocks and plants can solve.
- Areas of natural water seepage can be controlled more effectively with plants and appropriate landscaping.
- Roof gardens and green walls can save thousands in insulation, airconditioning and heating costs.
- A regular problem I run into, is where a retaining wall has been built but has been filled with sand and rubble instead of topsoil resulting in us having to replace the sand with topsoil by hand.
- Topsoil can and should be stockpiled on site, rather than having to pay thousands to transport it in at the end of a project.
- Retaining walls are an expensive option, natural stone found on site can be used to create dry stack walls instead (provided its done properly). There is nothing worse than a badly built dry stack wall...
There are thousands of ways that an experienced landscaper could not only save money, but help integrate the house to its surroundings in a far more meaningful way. But if we are only brought in at the end of a project, its too late.