When you’re involved in the design and development of a new building, how much time and effort can you really put into choosing a landscape partner? Any local landscape architect worth their salt will be able to put together a half-decent plan to get the scheme through planning and make it look good enough to sell. Right? Wrong.
Often landscape design is one of the last elements to be considered when putting a scheme together that includes new or renovated buildings. Typically the focus is on the architecture, with the outside spaces being relegated to one of the last elements to get any attention. Often, budgets are challenged by this point, and the project may be running out of stamina and steam.
Taking time to carefully select a landscape architect or designer could repay your efforts in multiple ways. Finding the right partner who understands your style and way of working will make the process much easier and make it much more likely that their design will work seamlessly with the architecture, elevating the whole scheme to a whole new level.
Illustrative Elevation for Residential Project by Aralia, working with Nicolas Tye Architects.
So what should you be looking for when choosing a landscape partner?
Past experience of working on similar projects is often sought after, but it may be worthwhile to look beyond this requirement – some design practices are willing to go the extra mile to prove themselves in a desire to stretch their creative skills and gain experience in new fields.
Evidence of creativity is key. A cut and paste solution that is tried and tested may be adequate to fulfil planning requirements, but don’t your buildings deserve better? A well thought-through and creative approach can lift a scheme and tie the landscape fluidly together with the architecture. In the current era of indoor-outdoor living, that’s going to deliver a finished product that’s far more attractive to clients and buyers.
3D Visual for a contemporary new build in Hertfordshire. Award winning design by Aralia.
An ability to envisage spaces that are not yet built is crucial. Not every designer has this skill in abundance. You should get a feel for how prospective partners are able to take your plans and run with them, settling the buildings into an appropriate setting that give them space to breathe and be appreciated whilst adding to their overall enjoyment.
Flexibility and openness are both vital qualities to embrace on both sides of the partnership. This is the kind of atmosphere that will allow creativity to blossom and where architecture and landscape can complement each other perfectly. Ideas should be able to flow between partners, and the building and landscape will each benefit from an openness to make changes to allow for better enjoyment of both.
Sketch proposals for an international residential development by Aralia.
Local may not always be best. Looking further afield can widen your reach and give you access to promising partnerships you may otherwise have overlooked. It comes back to creativity. For example, Aralia has been invited to work around the country and indeed internationally on major architectural and development projects. Restricting the search to purely local practices would have closed the door to award winning innovation and creativity at the highest level.
You’ve got high standards and expect that from all of your team. So why compromise on the standard of the exterior design for your buildings? When choosing a landscape designer, assess all of the contacts you have with them. Are they efficient, timely, responsive, uncompromising on quality, proving their attention to detail in every touchpoint, producing work that is not only attractive but innovative?
When you find a landscape designer who fits the bill, it’s worth investing in that relationship to create a sense of mutual understanding. Cultivating the partnership will ensure your joint creations are truly something to be proud of.
About the author: Aralia is an award-winning landscape design and architecture practice, based in South East England, working collaboratively on projects both nationally and internationally. We regularly partner with architects, developers and other professionals to bring schemes to life from a landscape perspective. Find out more on our website. Discover our portfolio of award winning designs.