Six Cardinal Rules

Mountain Life

Get your landscape architect involved early in the process, and be prepared to spend about 10 percent of your house's worth.

Leave your building site alone until the landscape architect has had his or her say. You may want to cut an access road or clear a few trees, but good planning before a shovel is lifted may save money and make the most of what nature created.

Hire a landscape architect you trust. You may have a relationship with this person for five or 10 years as the landscape plan matures, so find somebody you click with.

Have a sense of how you would like to use your outdoor spaces. Hot tub? Garden parties? Think in terms of exterior rooms.

Be patient: Remember that you're working with an organic medium. It won't look finished at first, no matter what you do.

Plan meticulously¿but be open to change. After all, you're an organic process, too, and what you see and think and learn may well alter your desires.
3 Key Questions

Do I like this architect's work? We are talking about design, and design derives from vision.

Does your state require landscape architects to be licensed? (Some, like Vermont, do not.) If so, is your landscape architect properly accredited?

Check references. This is as true for landscape architects as for building architects.