6 Reasons You Need a Professional Landscape Design for Your Project (And Why We Charge for The Design)

It’s time for new landscaping, and we can sense your excitement from way over here.

So many questions!

Should I get a fire pit? Should we plan on new sod? How big should the patio be? Can we fit in a couple trees?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

You forgot a big one, right up front.

Do I need a landscape design?


If you’re just adding a few new beds out front, you don’t need a professional landscape design, says Outback landscape designer Kim Rubert.

“But if you’re redoing your existing yard or starting with a new house, you have to put some thought and planning into it, so it feels comfortable and natural,” she says. “So it’s a place you want to relax.

“A design can make or break a yard,” Rubert says.

Let’s find out how. 

1. Professional Landscape Design Keeps You on Track

Plants are tempting little buggers. It’s way too easy to want one of everything.

landscape with plants deigned by Outback LandscapePink Knock-out roses? Yes!

Giant fluffy blue hydrangea? Absolutely!

Variegated dogwood? Look at those pretty leaves!

Liatris? Gotta have it!

Boulder blue fescue? Twenty, please! 

You can see the problem.

A design makes sure you don’t stuff way too many plants into a small yard. You’ve already decided exactly what’s perfect, and you stick to the plan.

“I fall victim to that, too,” Rubert says. See? Even the pros can’t resist temptation.

“If you put too many things you love together, none of them will stand out,” Rubert says.

On the other hand, if you have a large yard, a design ensures there’s enough plant material, so it doesn’t look empty.

“It plans exactly what you need,” Rubert says, “to make your perfect yard happen.”

2. A Professional Landscape Design is About Function, Not Just Looks

Of course, your landscape has to look great. But it also has to work great.

A professional landscape design makes sure it does. 

residential landscape focused on function and privacyRubert starts asking about function before anything else when she sits down with a new customer to talk about their landscape design. 

How do you live? What do you like to do? 

Do you have kids? Pets? Does your family enjoy sports? Do you entertain a lot? 

The answers help her narrow in on how the yard should function — not just how it will look. 

Need privacy? The right plants can offer a nice natural screen. Have dogs? Sturdy ground covers stand up to scampering paws. Curious toddlers? Plants can’t be toxic.

Drainage and water management. Fire pit placement. Foot traffic patterns. 

There’s a lot more to this than what color roses you want on your trellis. 

3. A Professional Landscape Design Makes Sure You Plant the Right Things, in the Right Place

“A design makes sure all the plant material goes well with each other and goes well with your house,” Rubert says. 

She puts a lot of thought into where plants are placed.

Bad placement means your plants could be overcrowded, vulnerable to diseases and insect damage, or just plain die of thirst.

She doesn’t mix plants with different light and water needs. You don’t want a shade-loving plant next to a sun-loving plant. One of them will suffer. A professional landscape design clusters drought-tolerant plants together so they can share the same watering needs.

shrub-flowers-pergolaYou want plants that bloom at different times throughout the season, so you have color to enjoy for several months. 

Also, size matters.

“Some things will get too big when they’re full grown, and you would have to rip them out,” she says. 

That’s a huge bummer.

“Landscapes take so long to nature, and they look so beautiful when they do,” Rubert says. “It would be a shame to have to start over.”

4. A Professional Landscape Design Perfects Your Hardscape

Hardscapes can be tricky. A design makes sure they work.

“Hardscape is one of the few things we include in every single landscape design,” Rubert says. “With a plan, you get exactly what you want.”

It’s especially helpful if you have an odd-shaped yard, or obstacles you need to work around.

“Sometimes you have to think outside the box,” Rubert says. “Move things around. Try something different. Change the flow of traffic. Switch the positions of the fire pit and the pool.”

Patio with fire pit and fireplace You don’t want this happening on the fly, the day of installation.

Trust us.

“You’re spending a lot of money on pavers or stamped concrete,” Rubert says. “You want it to be perfect. A design can make it work.”

5. A Professional Landscape Design is Useful Down the Road 

Don’t toss that design just because your landscaping is installed. It’s helpful long after your first pool party.

Landscaping is often done in phases, over years.

“The design is important, so you don’t lose the vision,” Rubert says. It reminds everybody to continue to stick to the plan.

If you sell the house, the design is helpful for the new owners. They’ll know what all the plants are, so they know how to take care of them. What needs pruning. What should be divided. The location of the fire pit gas line.

6. A Professional Landscape Design Actually Saves You Money

“If you have to rip something out because it doesn’t work, you’re wasting a lot of money,” Rubert says. “One design fee could save you thousands. What if you lay pavers and you hate them?”

The base price for a landscape design is $700, she says. The average landscaping project costs $20,000.

Your professional landscape design cost is a small price to pay to ensure everything is just right.

The Reasons Behind Professional Landscape Design Cost

A professional landscape design is a completely separate service from the rest of your landscaping, so it comes with its own cost, Rubert says.

Why do we charge for it?

Landscape Designers are Skilled Professionals 

Sure, you can sketch out a rough design on the back of a napkin at Taco Tuesday. That’s not what we do.

“We bring a lot to it,” Rubert says. “We’ve been to school for this. We have professional training.” 

Outback Landscaping design and photosRubert earned a bachelor’s degree in landscape design at Brigham Young University. 

“We know design styles,” she says. “We know the plants that grow well here.”

You pay to have your eyes examined, right? Your car serviced? Your taxes done?

Professional landscape design cost is no different.

There’s a Lot of Time Involved 

Our landscape designers aren’t whipping out your landscape design while waiting for their oil change.

It’s a painstaking process that takes a considerable amount of time.

First, they meet with the client, talk about ideas, and get a feel for what they like.

Next up, they take lots of measurements on site. 

Three revisions are included in the fee.

“The whole process takes hours and hours,” Rubert says.

Just the initial design itself takes six to 10 hours to create.

Once the first draft is done, Rubert makes a large color print for the client to review at our design studio.

Ouback Landscape design imageThe first draft will have some revisions once you decide what you like and what needs tweaking. The second revision will be very close to what you want.

Next, you pick out materials so the work can begin.

All in all, there’s at least 15 hours just in the design process.

Would you work for 15 hours for free?

Trust Your Professional Landscape Design to Outback 

Here at Outback Landscape, we get a lot of questions about why a professional landscape design is necessary. We hope this helped answer them. 

We want your new landscaping to look fantastic, but we also want it to thrive for years to come and work perfectly for your lifestyle.

All that takes painstaking planning from day one. But we’ll make it easy, we promise. 

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220. Or fill out the contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

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