When hiring a landscaper, most homeowners assume that every installer knows the ins and outs of their plant palette. In the industry however, there are plenty of contractors who don’t keep up with the ever-shifting nursery business. It’s a challenging scene to navigate but having a deep-rooted interest in your tools of the trade yields better projects made to stand the test of time.
Aesthetically, a good landscape is designed to highlight the property and build on its strengths and conceal its weaknesses. This process begins with a thorough understanding of your local plants and their cultivars. Quality designers are able to construct complimentary plant palettes to create varied layers, specimen focal points, rotating seasonal interest and promote longevity as the landscape evolves. Careful planning and good judgement allow us to increase the value of the final product as it ages without bloating the bottom line.
On the other end of the spectrum, it’s common to see a of lack of plant acumen wreaking havoc. A common misstep is not understanding growth rates and overall sizes of the plants selected. We commonly see professionals installing varieties of trees against the foundation that will grow to be 50’+ tall behemoths. Simply not understanding cultivars of what you’re planting can cost homeowners thousands in foundation repair, tree removal, and plant replacement.
Another common gaffe is planting non-hardy, invasive, or pest-ridden cousins of otherwise quality plants simply because the installer doesn’t understand exactly what they have. For example, crabapples are terrific for spring color and come in hundreds of cultivars. Many cultivars experience fatal issues with cedar-apple rust, and scab while other varieties are totally immune. It’s a perfect cameo of how a subtle nuance can make a world of difference in the landscape. With proper plant knowledge and planning, we can head off future complications and provide increasing value as the landscape matures.
Another benefit to hiring an expert for your project is aesthetic. Part of the appeal to the landscape industry is the variety and opportunities to be creative with. There are infinite combinations of materials that yield dynamic and exciting aesthetics beyond the typical suburban landscape. We can break away from the basic, repetitive pattern of one maple tree, three boxwoods, and a viburnum and explore different color and texture combinations to really make your project pop.
For example, we get requests for a “Colorado aesthetic”. While the plants that we see at our ski resorts aren’t always hardy here, with a little know-how, we can achieve that mountain look with a Missouri-appropriate plant palette with pitch lob pines and a low-altitude adapted aspen.
We pride ourselves on our nursery know how and have for the last 36 years. The possibilities are endless and having a plant person as a designer can ensure translating your vision to reality.