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FAQ About Working with Design-Build Landscape Contractors: An Interview with Page Hunter of Townline Design

By Page Hunter

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Townline Design is a custom landscape design and build company. That means our landscape architect interviews a customer and creates a unique landscape plan for him or her. We also have installation crews that will build the hardscape and plant the softscape.

What are some of the most important questions that a prospective client should ask a landscape company before hiring them?

How do you usually work (does customer go to landscaper office or landscaper come to home)? Are the custom plan fees refunded and how much cost is involved? Do you do the work yourselves or do you use subcontractors? Do you have references? How long are your warranty periods? Are plants warranted only or is labor part of the guarantee? How busy are you (how long is the wait period between initial contact and work commencement)?

Can you briefly explain the main differences between working with a design-build landscape contractor versus just a landscape designer or a landscape builder?

A landscape designer is a person who will draw a design for you to work off of. You will have to do the work yourself or find a contractor. A landscape designer is not licensed by the state of Illinois, but a landscape architect is.

A landscape contractor will only install a job that you or someone else designs. If there is no design, some will wing it, and it always looks like it!

A design-build company installs the designs they create. If there are questions or changes that need to be made (and there usually are), the designer is immediately available for answers. Usually there's less time between initial contact and work, because you are dealing with one entity instead of two.

When does the process of working together with the design and build landscaping company usually start? What does the process generally look like?

It is usually about a month to 6 weeks between the first interview and the beginning of work, though it is often longer in the spring. So if you want spring work, it's time to call the landscaper even though there's snow outside.

Who are good candidates for the design-build landscape process?

I don't understand this question. Do you mean customers? Anyone who wants a professional job or wants a design that they can work off of for years to come. It prevents many expensive mistakes.

What advice would you give to help prepare people for the building phase on their yard?

It's going to be a shock during the "napalm phase" when everything is torn up. Most of the design work is the base, which takes time to get right. You are going to worry that it will never look good. But then, it's done and you can't believe how good it looks. Be patient, don't panic, and ask questions if you have them.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Email or telephone are both answered quite quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.

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About The Author

Page Hunter is the primary Landscape Architect for Townline Design.

Phone: 847-244-4111

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