Business Overview

Like landscaping, landscape architecture is a seasonal business; however, there is an important different between the two. Most landscapers provide clients with basic lawn services that help keep the property well-groomed. On the other hand, landscape architects are primarily concered with the design and layout of a lawn, such as where to place ponds, flower-beds, patios, and stone walkways. A good landscape architect can dramatically increase the value of a property.

Who is this business right for?

This is very much a hands-on business. Business owners who start a landscape architect business should be very good with math and comfortable working around computers. A lot of the designer's job is spent at a desk. However, many architects make it out into the field with the contractors and so they must be comfortable working with their hands and getting dirty.

What happens during a typical day at a landscape design business?

Day-to-day activities of the business include a variety of tasks. Client intake forms, invoicing, and meeting with new clients are a given, but the business must also coordinate with contractors, monitor its supplies carefully, and keep clients updated about the project.

What is the target market?

Preferred clients are corporate clients or customers who have signed seasonal or “evergreen” contracts. Large revenue projects are ideal. Bad clients are typically those that do not have the budget for ongoing landscaping work, those who want piecemeal projects with a high overhead, and those with accounts that have extended Net payment terms. An extended net payment term such as "Net-60" means that the client has up to 60 days after completion of the job to pay you for your services.

Landscape architects typically work with medium to larger companies. However, many designers start out with homeowners and small businesses.

How does a landscape design business make money?

They make most of their money by charging clients for design projects. These projects can be charged at either a flat rate or a per hour rate.

What is the growth potential for a landscape design business?

Small landscape design firms can be operated as "one man" operations but there's no reason a business owner could not hire an entire team of designers and contractors, turning it into a comprehensive design and construction company.

In fact, larger companies are typically full-service landscapers who also design and build custom lawn features as well as maintain properties.