Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

  • Why this rating is the most accurate.
  • Our editors gather deep company info.
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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Landscape Designers and Consultants Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a landscape designer and consultant that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified landscape consultant and designer. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated landscaping designer and consultant and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Contra Costa County – Landscape – Designers & Consultants CATEGORY

Paul Singh is a lifetime veteran of the landscaping industry and owner of Natural Landscaping Contractors, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 201-6127 or by email.

Paul Singh

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Paul Singh: A Natural Move

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — Paul Singh was raised in the landscaping industry, so it was only natural for him to combine his experiential background with his entrepreneurial drive. “My father was a landscape contractor, so I got involved with the field at a fairly young age,” he recounts. “Growing up, my goal was always to own a business one day, and since I already had knowledge and experience with landscaping, I decided it would be a good way to go. After studying business in college, I worked with my dad for a few more years before getting my contractor’s license and starting my own business.”

Today, as owner of Natural Landscaping Contractors, Paul says he enjoys staying on the cutting edge of his field. “This is the type of industry where things are constantly changing and you’re constantly learning, so I’m always in sort of a growth mode. I feel like I could keep going in this business forever and never get bored.”

Originally from India, Paul came to the United States at the age of 17. “It was tough coming here from India,” he remembers. “I feel like I lost a few years just trying to learn a new culture, but I think I got them back once I adjusted to life here.” Today, as a resident of Concord (where he lives with his wife, Baljit, and their three children), Paul considers the Bay Area a perfect place to be a landscape professional. “Besides the great weather, people here are willing to spend money on their homes and landscapes, so there’s a very good market for what I do.”

In addition to working outdoors, Paul likes spending his free time there as well. “My family and I love outdoor activities like hiking, boating and skiing, depending on the time of year,” he affirms. “We also like to travel, but since we’re a young, growing family, we haven’t been able to do as much of that as we’d like. I think it will happen more as life progresses.”

In his life and career, Paul espouses the importance of taking a thorough approach. “When addressing an issue, whether it’s with your family or a customer, it’s important to be thorough and not just take the easy route,” he explains. “Rather than putting a bandage on it, you need to uncover the real issues and deal with them, as well as be proactive about dealing with them in the future. I think that’s a crucial part of doing well in both life and business.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Paul says he’d get involved in charity work. “My wife and I have hopes of one day going back to India and doing charity work, particularly with the youth. I’ve always considered the teenage years as a critical formative time that can determine the course of one’s adult life. That’s why I’d love to help out in some way, whether by doing job training or counseling at-risk youth. I think that would be a really good use of my retirement years.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Our kitchen at home—my wife cooks really good food.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Any holiday that gives me an extra day off with my family.

Q: What’s your earliest memory?
A: Learning to walk. I can remember my family helping and encouraging me as I took my first steps. It’s pretty amazing that I can remember that far back, considering I can barely remember what I did yesterday!

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Vinyl records. I have a whole bunch of them, ranging in genre from electronic music to classic rock.

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: Probably the past, just to relive some of my chaotic, carefree youth.

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How to Establish a Drought-Friendly Lawn

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CONCORD — Due to the recent drought, many California residents are opting to replace their lawns with more drought-tolerant alternatives like rock gardens and synthetic turf. However, some homeowners aren’t as enthusiastic about the prospect of giving up the soft, lush lawns… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: How to Plant a Drought-Friendly Lawn

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Complete Video Transcription:

CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re torn between planting a lawn and conserving water, you’ll be glad to know there’s a way to do both. Today we’re… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Belgard

  • CalStone

  • McNear Brick and Block

Kim Lighting
Dixon Landscape Materials
Keystone Retaining Walls
Jain Irrigation Systems
McNear Brick & Block
Baselite Outdoor Lighting
Calstone Landscape Paving
FX Luminaire Lighting
Rain Bird Irrigation
Unique Outdoor Lighting
Hunter Irrigation
Toro Landscape Equipment
Monrovia Plants
Irritrol Irrigation Systems
Kichler Landscape Lighting
Intermatic Landscape Lighting
Hampton Bay Landscape Lighting
Hadco Lighting
Orbit Irrigation Systems
Netafim Drip Irrigation
DynaSCAPE Landscape Design Software

landscape design
patio landscaping design
hillside landscaping plans
small landscape garden designs
privacy landscaping design
front yard landscaping design
garden landscaping designs
landscaping rock designs
landscape edging design
pool area landscaping designs
commercial landscaping design
residential landscaping design
xeriscape design & consulting
water-efficient landscaping plans
hardscaping / hardscape design
flower garden design
new landscape installation consulting
landscape lighting design
yard irrigation & drainage design
backyard landscaping design
garden plant selection

Alamo
Antioch
Bay Point
Bethel Island
Blackhawk
Brentwood
Briones
Byron
Canyon
Clayton
Clyde
Concord
Cowell
Crockett
Danville
Diablo
Discovery Bay
El Cerrito
El Sobrante
Hercules
Hilltop Mall
Kensington
Knightsen
Lafayette
Los Medanos
Maltby
Martinez
Moraga
North Richmond
Oakley
Orinda
Pacheco
Pinole
Pittsburg
Pleasant Hill
Point Richmond
Port Chicago
Port Costa
Rheem Valley
Richmond
Rodeo
San Pablo
San Ramon
Tara Hills
Vine Hill
Walnut Creek
Walnut Heights
West Pittsburg

94506
94507
94509
94511
94513
94514
94516
94517
94518
94519
94520
94521
94522
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94802
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94804
94805
94806
94807
94808
94820
94850

ANLA American Nursery & Landscape Association (http://www.anla.org/)
APLD Association of Professional Landscape Designers (http://www.apld.org)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
ELA Ecological Landscaping Association (http://www.ecolandscping.org/)

IA Irrigation Association (www.irrigation.org)
IALE International Association of Landscape Ecology (http://www.landscape-ecology.org/)
LDA Landscape Design Association (www.ldaonline.org)
NLAE Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (http://www.nlae.org/)
PLANET The Professional Landcare Network (www.landcarenetwork.org)
WNLA Western Nursery and Landscape Association (www.wnla.org)

Know What You Want
What to ask before hiring a Contra Costa County landscape designer

The initial step towards designing a better landscape for your outdoor space is to understand exactly why you are seeking professional help with your yard. You have to know why you want to change the look of your landscape before a professional landscape designer can begin the process of transformation through a detailed design.

Being honest with yourself about the state of your budget for any outdoor project will also be very useful in starting a defined search for a Contra Costa CountyContra Costa County landscape designer. As with any home-improvement project, a budget must be tentative and allow for setbacks or complications, but you must have a number in mind before you begin. To truly be ready to answer the question of “how much,” you will need to clarify what exactly needs to happen with your space, how much of your landscape you are going to tackle and the basic idea of what you want the transformation to look like. You don’t have to come up with a design (that is why you are hiring a professional), but you do need to have some small idea as to what you are looking for so that you know how to plan, especially when it comes to creating a budget.

In order to help you create a tentative plan and budget, look at the questions below. If you answer them honestly for yourself, you will be well on your way to beginning the real process of hiring a good landscape designer in Contra Costa County, including from any of the cities of Concord, Antioch, Pittsburg, Danville and MartinezRichmond, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Brentwood and Pleasant Hill.

  1. Do I want a Diamond Certified landscaping designer that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  2. Do I want my landscape to increase the value of my property?
  3. Am I looking to make my outdoor space more user-friendly for pets and/or children?
  4. Am I looking to do more in my outdoor space (cooking, entertaining, etc.)?
  5. Do I have any idea what style I am looking for (English garden, new age tranquility, etc.) or do I need professional help with that step as well?
  6. What features am I interested in (water fountains, rock gardens, waterfalls, built-in barbecuing space, etc.)?
  7. What materials do I like best?
  8. How big of an area (in square feet) am I looking to revamp?
  9. What is the current state of my outdoor space (rough dirt and rock, basic grass, terraced, etc.)?
  10. How much am I willing and/or able to spend on this landscaping project?
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What To Ask In Person
Questions to Inquire of a Contra Costa County Landscape Designer in Person

Now that you’ve interviewed a number of Contra Costa County landscape designers over the phone, it is time to get out into your town, whether you’re in the larger cities of Concord, Antioch, Pittsburg, Danville and Martinez or the smaller towns of Bay Point, Clayton, Kensington, Port Costa and Walnut Heights, and visit with a select collection of designers in person. This face-to-face interview should provide you with the information you’ll need to hire the landscape designer that you feel most comfortable with and therefore get the best results from.

  1. How do you charge for your landscape designs?
  2. Can I see proof of any professional credentials or association memberships?
  3. May I review your portfolio?
  4. Can you provide me with at least 10 current references of projects that are similar to the one I’ve detailed?
  5. Describe in as much detail as possible how you go about understanding my landscaping wishes and needs and synthesizing them into your professional design.
  6. Tell me about your philosophy of landscape and design.
  7. Why should I hire you?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Landscape Designers in Contra Costa County

    The search for a trustworthy landscape designer in Contra Costa County can be a demanding process, especially when you can’t be sure that the one you end up deciding on will give you the best results. There is a way to have confidence in your choice, however. Choose a Diamond Certified Contra Costa County landscape designer!

    Here’s why it’s paramount to choose a Diamond Certified landscape designer: because all certified designers have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other professionals can’t pass. If you want quality from a landscape designer in Contra Costa County, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified designer. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified landscape designers. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified landscape designer within your area, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your landscape designer. Keep in mind, though, those references provided to you by the designer or his/her company are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Did this designer encourage open and timely communication throughout your project?
    2. Did you feel it was easy to address concerns and questions with this designer?
    3. Did you feel a comfortable level of involvement in the design process? Did you feel as though your thoughts, feelings and ideas were vital and validated?
    4. Did this designer keep ahead of delays as much as possible and give good warning if a delay was unavoidable?
    5. Was the design completed within the time frame and your agreed-upon budget?
    6. Were you satisfied with their service?
    7. Would you/have you recommended this designer?
    8. Would you hire this designer again?
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  • Review Your Options
    Basic Design: Knowing Your Own Opinions to Better Share with a Contra Costa County Landscape Designer

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Every landscape design starts with a consultation between designer and client. In order to get the most out of your initial visit with your chosen Contra Costa County landscape designer, broadly answer the following questions about your outdoor space and ideas for transformation.

    1. How am I looking to use my outdoor space?
    2. What are my landscaping goals?
    3. Is there anything about my current space that I would like to leave the same?
    4. What is the architectural style of my home?
    5. Am I planning to make any significant additions to my home or outbuildings?
    6. Which way does my house face? How much sun does the area receive?
    7. Do I know about any water, soil or irrigation issues? What are they?
    8. Do I have some favorite plants?
    9. Are there some plants that I can’t stand?
    10. What kind of style am I looking for (Zen, groomed, informal or formal, natural, etc.)?
    11. What are my tastes in landscaping as far as color, texture, space, materials, etc. are concerned?
    12. How much maintenance am I willing and/or able to do? Do I enjoy gardening or do I hope a garden will take care of itself?
    13. Do I have adequate outdoor lighting?
    14. Do I have a plan for watering or should a design include a sprinkler system?
    15. Do I plan on working with a contractor for the installation of a design or would I like to implement it myself?
    16. What is the estimated amount I am willing and/or able to spend on design and installation?
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  • How To Work With
    Who Is Interviewing Whom? First Exchanges with Contra Costa County Landscape Designers

    During that first phone conversation or appointment with your Contra Costa County landscape designer, you will be asking a myriad of questions to attempt to ascertain whether or not you feel you could work comfortably with the individual to come up with a design for your outdoor space. You’ll be making quick judgments about their work experience, their interpersonal communication skills and their philosophy of landscaping.

    But you also have to remember that the designer will be asking you significant questions that will help him/her to determine whether or not you understand enough about the process to be a client they can help or that they want to take on. They are essentially interviewing you to make sure that neither of you waste your time or resources.

    This does not mean that you have to be anxious about calling or visiting a landscape designer. On the contrary, you should be grateful that they are willing to interview you in addition to your discovery of their personality and talents. This can ensure that you really need their services and not simply those of a contractor or gardener. You should be ready and willing to honestly answer any questions they might have as well as to share your vision while remaining open to their professional opinions.

    You’re not the only one who can determine whether or not you and a Contra Costa County landscape designer are the right fit for each other. A trained designer with field experience can usually judge whether the client-professional relationship is going to succeed from that very first interaction and can be a great help to you as you make your decision.

    The Landscape Design Process of Contra Costa County Landscape Designers

    Now that you’ve chosen your Contra Costa County landscape designer, it is a good idea to have a clue as to what happens next. While not every designer works the same, there are basic fundamentals to designing a landscape that should show up in the design process. They are as follows:

    • First Consultation: This meeting takes place at your outdoor space and allows the designer to take a broad overview of the challenges and possibilities of your project. From this meeting, a tentative proposal for design and a budget should be able to be drafted.
    • Questionnaire: Most designers will have a series of detailed questions that they want you to spend a little time with to help them with starting the design of your dreams. They want to be as clear as they can be when beginning the detailed drawings.
    • Plan Development: The plan begins with deciding where all major elements are going to be located (things like water features, walkways, major garden plots, etc.).
    • Planting Plan: This part of the plan has to do with every living thing included in the final plan, including placement, type and quantity.
    • Master Plan Development: The final and complete design including all elements (hard and soft scape) as well as estimated installation time and cost predictions. This is what you will take to different contractors for bids on the actual installation of the landscape.

    Most designers will be able to help you locate trustworthy landscape contractors in your area, including the cities of Alamo, Briones, Maltby, Orinda and Vine Hill. If not, Diamond Certified is here to help you with that step as well.

    Benefits of Hiring Contra Costa County Landscape Designers

    You may be wondering precisely what benefits you’ll receive from hiring a Contra Costa County landscape designer and worrying that it may be an superfluous expense. However there are many benefits that make the process of hiring and working with a landscape designer completely worth it. The first is that the designer will provide you with a comprehensive design that you can then take to different contractors so that they are all bidding on the same project. If you skip the design step, each of these contractors will charge you planning time to even give you an installment estimate. You’ll save money in the hiring process and the installing process because you will know exactly what you’re planning on.

    Second, a landscape designer will take the time to hear your dreams and desires and put them into a usable plan for your outdoor space. They are trained and have experience in both the horticultural and design sides of the process and their knowledge is not something you want to live without when planning for your new and improved yard.

    Finally, Contra Costa County landscape designers, whether you live in the larger cities of Richmond, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Brentwood and Pleasant Hill or the smaller towns of Bay Point, Clayton, Kensington, Port Costa and Walnut Heights, hold a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hiring a good contractor. If you are diligent in your search, you should be able to locate a designer who has a good working relationship with a reliable contractor who will be able to implement the design efficiently and effectively. Plus, your designer will provide advice along the way so that you are never trying to figure out the process by yourself.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Being a Good Contra Costa County Landscape Designer Customer

    It's the landscape designer’s responsibility to design quality landscapes using the best possible methods. But you play a big part in the achievements of your landscape designer, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a Contra Costa County landscape designer.

    • Be clear and upfront with the designer. Let them know what you want from your design, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Before you hire a landscape designer in Contra Costa County, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the landscape design representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local landscape designers occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your landscape designer if you should call to check on the progress or if he/she will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re designing. The work will move along more smoothly if your landscape designer can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your designer contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the design on schedule.
    • Pay for the landscape design work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Landscape designers in Contra Costa County appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

    Payment and your Contra Costa County Landscape Designer

    Most landscape designers bill their clients in one of two ways. One, by charging an agreed-upon project price. This would include the consultation, time spent preparing the plan and for the rights to the final design. Two, they can charge separately for each piece of the puzzle, including a set cost for the initial interview, an hourly rate for the time spent designing and another set amount for the rights to the master plan.

    Due to the nature of designing, most landscape designers do charge a down payment so as to protect themselves from doing a lot of work and having a client decide they don’t actually need or want their services. You should be wary of anyone who wants more than 10% of the total estimated cost of design.

    Also, be sure to find out whether or not it is standard practice for the Contra Costa County landscape designer to work within a contract. You have the right to demand a contract and refuse to work with a designer who does not provide one. Contracts should include all the basic information about the landscape designer as well as provide contingencies for anything that may be subject to a change in price as you move through the process of creating a complete design. Remember, if your landscape designer doesn’t offer one up to begin with, request one and move on if one is not provided.

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Check The Work
Top Six Landscape Designs Used by Contra Costa County Landscape Designers

Landscape designers are not only taught to listen and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very good at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. An organized and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Contra Costa County landscape designers.

Landscape designers are not only taught to listen and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very good at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. An organized and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Contra Costa County landscape designers.

  1. Site Analysis: A diagram outlining the structures and elements that are currently present and will affect the final design.
  2. Bubble Plan: A simplified plan that uses bubbles to denote different areas of the landscape design including gardens, water features, etc. This design can also include bubbles to show where the best views are located, utility features and other areas of focus for the final landscape.
  3. Plot Plan: An overarching design of all features, structures, layouts and measurements of final landscape.
  4. Concept Images: Photographic examples of all features detailed in a plot plan to give the client more of an understanding of what the final landscape will actually look like.
  5. Designer Renderings: A plan that either the designer draws or crafts using a computer program to show color, texture, lighting and shading of the final landscape design.
  6. Planting Plan: A detailed, labeled plan showing all areas included in the softscape of the final landscape design. This will often include the total number of plants to be purchased and the specific types to be utilized.
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Written Warranties
The Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee

Diamond Certified landscape designers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the landscape designer is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by speaking with the designer or his/her boss if applicable, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Diamond Certified landscape designers are backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. If the landscape designer is Diamond Certified and you can’t resolve the issue by speaking with the designer or his/her boss if applicable, contact the mediation department at [email protected] or call 800-738-1138.

Easy Ways to Finish Conflicts with Contra Costa County Landscape Designers
Contra Costa County landscape contractors, for the most part, have your best interests in mind and want a positive outcome for your outdoor space as much as you do. But in some cases, despite your best efforts, problems can occur. Remember that communication is key—always attempt to clarify any questions or concerns you have along the way.

Of course, problems can sometimes arise no matter how much you may communicate all the way along, but you can sometimes end a problem by remembering the following pointers:

  • Stay calm, rational and polite.
  • If it is a larger company and there is a supervisor to speak with, request a meeting between you, your designer and that person.
  • Have a detailed outline of your complaint and expectations ready to present.
  • Be willing to compromise to a mutually agreed upon outcome and let the company know it.
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Top 10 Requests
Top Six Landscape Designs Used by Contra Costa County Landscape Designers

Landscape designers are not only taught to listen and interpret your landscaping wants and needs, they are also very good at getting those ideas on to paper and in to a plan that outlines the project, the lay of the land and the color palette. An organized and pre-planned design helps save everyone time and money as you move to the installation phase of your landscape. You’ll find it helpful to understand the most common types of design plans used by Contra Costa County landscape designers.

  1. Site Analysis: A diagram outlining the structures and elements that are currently present and will affect the final design.
  2. Bubble Plan: A simplified plan that uses bubbles to denote different areas of the landscape design including gardens, water features, etc. This design can also include bubbles to show where the best views are located, utility features and other areas of focus for the final landscape.
  3. Plot Plan: An overarching design of all features, structures, layouts and measurements of final landscape.
  4. Concept Images: Photographic examples of all features detailed in a plot plan to give the client more of an understanding of what the final landscape will actually look like.
  5. Designer Renderings: A plan that either the designer draws or crafts using a computer program to show color, texture, lighting and shading of the final landscape design.
  6. Planting Plan: A detailed, labeled plan showing all areas included in the softscape of the final landscape design. This will often include the total number of plants to be purchased and the specific types to be utilized.
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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Lanscape Designers & Consultant Terms

Landscape designers often use very specific and technical language to describe their process and to accomplish your design. The following list of terms should help you feel more comfortable when conversing with your chosen landscape designer.

base plan
A plan showing site boundaries and features, used as a basis for further development.

built environment
A man-made creation or alterations to an outdoor space, including its natural resources.

Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD)
A digital design program that produces precise plans for landscaping projects.

contour
The form of the land. Contour lines are map lines which are used to show and measure slope and drainage.

conservation plan
A plan for protecting natural or manufactured resources. Used as a tool in making decisions regarding soil, water, vegetation, manufactured objects and other resources.

design
The creative illustration, planning and specification of outdoor space for utility, value and beauty.

drainage
Where water escapes from a land surface or subsurface, through sewers or natural means.

easement
The legal grant to use an area of designated property.

grade
How the land slopes. Grading is the process of changing the degree of the slope in order to promote drainage and landscape design.

hardscape
Things that are added to a landscape, such as paving stones, gravel, walkways, irrigation systems, roads, retaining walls, sculpture, street amenities, fountains, etc.

landscape
The amount of land that can be seen at a glance.

landscape architect
A licensed professional who designs outdoor spaces from whole ecosystems to residential sites

Also known as:  planner, consultant

landscape architecture
The science and art of design of the land involving natural and built elements and concern for resource conservation to improve outdoor spaces. Effective landscape architecture makes the most of the land, adds value to a project and minimizes costs, all while minimizing negative effects to nature.

landscape contractor
A trained installer of landscapes who implements the plans of landscape architects.

landscape designer
An unlicensed person in the landscaping business who designs outdoor spaces.

manipulation of space
The organization of land for aesthetic or functional design. Refers to the building of small backyard patios to huge urban plazas.

master plan
An initial plan showing proposed development. Master plans show phases of work needing to be completed and are therefore subject to changes over time.

natural resources
Elements naturally occurring in an area that can be used to fulfill human needs, including air, soil, water, native vegetation, etc.

site plan
A drawing including dimensions that indicates the form and physical objects existing in an outdoor space and those still to be built.

softscape
The naturally occurring elements landscape architects work with, such as plant materials.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions For Landscape Designers & Consultants

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified landscape designer?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a landscape designer with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only landscape designers rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified landscape designer.

Q: What services can a landscape designer deliver?
A: A good landscape designer will be able to hear your vision and provide insight on what can work with your space. They will craft a plan that fits your specific needs and vision. Working with you, they will design an outdoor space that will be both functional and satisfying.

Q: When should we hire a landscape designer?
A: As soon as you are dedicated to landscaping your space, which means you need to know what you don’t like about your current yard and what you would want installed to make it more enjoyable, then you are ready to begin your search. Hiring a landscape designer early in the process can help you keep from making costly mistakes and heightens the chances that you will be pleased with the final outcome.

Q: How can I make sure I am hiring the best possible landscape designer for me?
A: Seeking out a Diamond Certified landscape designer is always the best place to begin. Beyond that you should ask around to see if any family, friends, neighbors or co-workers have hired designers that they would recommend. It is essential to hire a designer who is familiar with the type of project you are looking to complete. Pay attention to the services and experience of every company you interview.

Q: What is the best indicator that I have hired the right landscape designer?
A: Research indicates that the number one way people can tell they will be satisfied with the final results of their landscaping project is whether or not they were able to communicate effectively with the landscape designer from the beginning of their professional relationship. Your designer should make you feel comfortable to bring up any questions or concerns that arise along the way. In addition, you should be confident that your landscape designer understands from the outset what you believe your transformation should look like. Ask many clarifying questions as you work on a plan together to make sure that you are on the same wavelength as your designer.

Q: How much expense will hiring a landscape designer add to my project?
A: You will pay for the knowledge and ideas of a landscape designer, but hiring the right one can in fact save you a lot of money. The expertise you pay for will let you know exactly what features your outdoor space is suited for and you can achieve a design that will actually work for your yard. You won’t waste nearly as much money and they can also help you seriously reduce maintenance costs following the installation of a well-planned landscape because they understand the type of plants and design that will flourish in your space.

Q: How do landscape designers charge?
A: Landscape designers can charge based on time it takes to design a project or an agreed-upon project fee. You should be clear on how a designer charges before you enter into a professional relationship with them, ask for a detailed estimate and always work under a specified contract.

Q: What is my role in working with a designer to plan a landscape for my space?
A: You will need to clearly share your design wants, decide on a workable budget and provide insight into how the design will affect the livability and enjoyment of your space. A trustworthy designer will communicate with you throughout the process and be available to lend advice and design suggestions. You need to feel like a partner in the process and informed along the way.

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