Ask the Landscape Architect


Have you ever wondered what defines a Landscape Architect? What differentiates a Landscape Architect from general contractors and when you would need to retain one?

We sat down with our Landscape Architect, David Chewey and asked him when and why a homeowner should retain a Landscape Architect and what type of return on investment when using a certified Landscape Architect should one expect. Read below for great answers to these and more landscape architecture questions!

What is a Landscape Architect and what is the

david chewey
Custom Gardens Award-Winning Landscape Architect

difference between a Landscape Architect and “Landscape Contractor”?

A Landscape Architect has a tremendous influence on how people interact with their environment. We can be defined as artists who shape the world in which we live. We design spaces for people to experience visually, physically and psychologically through careful consideration of all outdoor components. Landscape Architects need to creatively blend art and science to ensure that a site not only looks good but that it also functions well. In order to become a Landscape Architect you need to obtain a 4-year college degree, have the appropriate amount of work experience, pass a licensing exam and then maintain that license with continuing education credits. Our schooling and extensive work experience allows us to knowledgeably coordinate with clients, architects, engineers, building professionals and government officials to ensure successful projects from initial design to final implementation. In contrast, a landscape contractor focuses more on the construction aspect of a project. Landscape Architects and landscape contractors need to work closely together. Effective project management of all the moving pieces results in a successful end result.

 What are the current trends in residential Landscape Architecture?

Current trends in residential landscape architecture suggest that homeowners are looking to create outdoor environments that bring all of the amenities from inside the home to the exterior of the home. Spaces that incorporate fireplaces, fully stocked outdoor kitchens, outbuildings with TV & audio capabilities, etc. A well designed space should be an extension of your home. The goal is to blur the boundaries and enhance the experience.

 Does the value of a home increase after using a Landscape Architect?

There have been studies to prove that a well planned and professionally executed landscape plan will in fact increase the value of your home. First impressions go a long way when selling a home and a well designed environment will bolster that first impression, as well as the overall experience. A homeowner can expect an increased sale value of up to 10% or more. The investment of using a Landscape Architect will not be wasted and 100% or more of the cost can be recovered.

What professionals do you work with when designing a residential property?

As Landscape Architects we are capable of managing all of the nuts and bolts of a complex landscape project. We need to coordinate with environmental specialists, architects, engineers throughout the design process. Once the design takes shape we pull the team together for construction. The team is dictated by the project scope and will contain members such as electricians, masons, carpenters, plumbers, plant specialists, irrigation contractors, pool builders and so on. A comprehensive landscape project can be overwhelming to a homeowner. Relying on a Landscape Architect skilled in project management will take the pain out of the process.

If you would like more information on becoming a Landscape Architect, check out the American Association of Landscape Architects at We would love you to call and talk more with David here at Custom Gardens if you have any follow-up questions. Also, if you are a student studying or preparing for a career in Landscape Architecture and desire an intern experience with an established Landscape firm that services the Williamsburg and surrounding Hampton Roads area, call us at 757-833-8110. We would love to hear from you!