Landscape Design & Construction: How it Works

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Landscape Design & Construction: How it Works

By Mark Hogan, MCLP, NHCLP

Design Construction Manager, PLTS

The advice I received early in my career was to find your passion and follow your heart. For me that has always involved working with the Natural World. I started work on a vegetable and apple farm. I worked  for many years with the State of  Massachusetts Forest and Parks. After traveling the country I came back to New England and started my career working for landscaping companies as a stonemason installing many styles of stonewalls, patios, steps, walks etc. With each new landscape project installation I continued to learn new skills such as sitework, running heavy equipment, horticulture/installing trees, shrubs, perennials, and irrigation. 34 years ago I moved to Kittery, ME and started my career at Piscataqua Landscaping & Tree Service. Here at PLTS, we work with many talented Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers and General Contractors

I’ve been doing this work for a while, and there are some key things to understand if you’re looking to expand or enhance your outdoor living space.

If you have a project in mind, the first step is a phone call to the PLTS office so we can get an idea of what your landscape interests, needs and project timing are. If it sounds like we’d be a good fit, we will set up a site visit on your property and from there we’ll determine 1 of 3 paths to help define your landscape project by way of design. 

Depending on the size of your project, we’ll decide if we may need:

  • A Landscape Architect. (L.A.)
  • A Landscape Designer.
  • Keep it in-house with PLTS.

The first two options will be essential for projects that may need wetland permits,  that have permeable surface and drainage challenges, or for more complex projects. PLTS will refer you to trusted landscape architects and designers who will work with you to draw up a detailed plan that brings your vision to life, and can share the details needed for a proper estimate/proposal. Please note that an L.A./Designers can work with a civil engineer to obtain permits if needed. The L.A./Designers often provide a first pass conceptual drawing to share and you’ll be able to weigh in on what you like, don’t like and discuss any changes that may be needed. Typically, the drawing is finalized after two reviews, but sometimes a third is needed. 

 For smaller projects, our in-house design service can provide landscape ideas, sketch out a simple plan, provide a budget and implement the plan. 

Ball Park Design Hourly Costs:

  • Landscape Architect costs: $150.00 – $200.00/ hour 
  • Landscape Designers costs: $110.00 – $150.00/ hour 
  • PLTS Design costs: $85.00 – $100.00/ hour 

A word about permits: On the NH/ME Seacoast there are land use permit rules that protect the shoreline and wetlands. It can be confusing to know if you need a permit on your property. Below are some resources, but the simplest way may be to call your local Code Enforcement Officer.  

Landscape Design Complete. Now the project can be estimated and a proposal created to review with the customer. The sales/estimating person can walk you through the types of materials and discuss the scope of work. Below are the 4 areas of landscape work. 

  1. Sitework
  2. Hardscaping
  3. Planting
  4. Irrigation & Lighting

Each step in the process has its own specialized crew, all the work will be clearly outlined in our project estimate, which includes costs for labor, materials, and equipment. The sales/estimator works with you to best adjust the scope of work to fit  your budget. 

So, there’s a lot that goes into designing and executing a good landscape construction project that will add to your quality of life and improve the value of your property. Having a team who understands the needs for permeability, drainage, erosion control, and other elements key to our area, is essential to a smooth project execution and completion. 

We are always happy to talk with homeowners about what we can do to enhance your property. You may be dreaming of putting in a pool, patio, stone wall, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, plantings, turf, irrigation, lighting or a play area for your kids. Whatever you are envisioning we can help you create a beautiful landscape. We are just a phone call away to get the conversation started.

In my next blog post, I will go into more details about the steps of a project and some of the current trends we’re seeing in landscape design and construction.

Mark Hogan is a Certified Landscape Professional in both Maine and New Hampshire, who has 40 years of experience in the landscape construction field. 

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