Advice from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
Client's Request: We moved into a house that has a large yard (1 acre). It's 20 years old and could use some updating. The sprinkler system is not efficient and we have too much grass. ($1200 water bills.) Do you have anyone that you could recommend that could put together a plan for us to update the landscaping and irrigation?
Response from the Help Desk: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk with your request for a recommendation for a landscape professional.
Congratulations on your new home and large yard! It is an exciting proposition to update an older landscape to be more efficient and beautiful.
The UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County cannot recommend any particular landscape design, construction or maintenance company. However, the following organizations, listed in alphabetical order, provide references to these professionals. This list is neither comprehensive nor all-inclusive, and no endorsement of any business or professional is intended.
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is the national professional association for landscape architects. Landscape architects typically hold a degree in landscape architecture, covering a broad range of skills and knowledge including design, planning, grading and drainage, construction, and horticulture. California requires a landscape architect to earn a license to practice. The ASLA website maintains a searchable list of members as well as photos of award winning residential projects. http://www.asla.org/ISGWeb.aspx?loadURL=firfin and
Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) This 25-year-old self-governing organization established a peer reviewed certification program based on built projects. The organization also “encourages all members adhere to a code of professional standards, to actively participate in continuing education, and to be current with state-of-the-art developments and trends throughout the field.” Their website has a search function that will help you find a local designer. https://www.apld.org/
Rescape California is a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable landscaping. Qualified landscape professionals must complete a comprehensive training program and use sustainable practices. http://rescapeca.org/education/for-professionals/design-professional-training/ . (Information on their qualification program) and http://rescapeca.org/directory/ (online directory of Bay-Friendly Qualified Professionals)
Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is a local (Alameda & Contra Costa Counties) organization that seeks to educate and encourage the use of California native plants in home gardens. The organization provides contact information for those landscape professionals whose gardens have been featured in their tours.
http://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/find-a-designer (contact information and links to photos of gardens created by each designer)
California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) is a non-profit trade organization of state licensed landscape and landscape-related contractors and professionals.
http://member-clca.org/max/4DCGI/directory/contractor/index.html (directory of members)
Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) graduates have been trained in water-wise landscape practices including plant selection, irrigation system design and water management. QWEL maintains an online list of certified professionals in the East Bay. While the website lists all professionals under the category of non-residential, many perform residential services. http://www.qwel.net/ and
http://www.qwel.net/graduates/east%20bay/ (list of certified professionals)
While we can readily recommend you consider these organizations' members, they are only as good as their individual members, and you should also get recommendations from their clients to confirm their capabilities. Finally, we would also recommend that you pursue recommendations for these types of services from your neighbors, especially those with gardens and yards that you admire.
Hope you find the above information helpful! Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (SLH)
Note: The UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa's Help Desk is available year-round to answer your gardening questions. Except for a few holidays, we're open every week, Monday through Thursday for walk-ins from 9:00 am to Noon at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2d Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, although we will be moving this spring. We will notify you if/when that occurs. We can also be reached via telephone: (925)646-6586, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/Ask_Us/ MGCC Blogs can be found at http://ccmg.ucanr.edu/HortCoCo/ You can also subscribe to the Blog (http://ucanr.edu/blogs/CCMGBlog/)