While I acknowledge that I’m the type of person who wants to know “everything” and research the “double hell” out of everything I do, there are many things I either don’t have time for or don’t have enough interest in to get down to the really fine details about. Choosing the proper plants for a site specific micro-climate, integration of watering, nutrition, PH, soil weight, and drainage creates a complex matrix of possibilities that can make your head spin.
Having said that, probably like you since you’re reading this, when I do the research I want to buy as direct as possible. But believe me when I say: make a conscious decision not to use a Landscape Architect for larger projects because you WANT to go through the learning process, or because you have already been through the school of hard knocks, not because you want to save money. Mother nature’s miracle is making overwhelmingly complex systems naturally simple and available. However, an extensive container garden or green roof is a totally artificial environment vs a back yard. You are trying to mimic nature and chances are that over the long run you won’t save money on larger projects. I don’t want you kicking yourself later. There, somebody had to say that.
As in back-country powder skiing and mountain climbing, you don’t get all the information from a book. It takes years of experience to understand local conditions and seasonal changes to stay alive. The same is true for your plants. When property owners and customers of DeepStream Designs contact me about large planter projects directly we make a conscious effort to direct them to at least consider the services of a Landscape Architect. Believe me, if you have even a medium-size project, the slight mark up they may put on products in addition to their fee is money well invested if you, or your project, are the type that can’t live with expensive and time consuming false starts.