Type of work/when to contact:
Projects that will require layout and planning of spaces. Projects requiring multidisciplinary teams.
Registered/Professional Landscape Architect (RLA/PLA). Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in landscape architecture or landscape design and contracting.
Where to find a landscape architect:
Can vary greatly depending on type of work and size of project. Typically billed hourly, often with a not-to-exceed total for the project.
What to ask:
Experience with similar projects, experience with required permits, timeframe for work.
While there are many types of civil engineers, there are specialized categories that work specifically on stream systems. Water resource engineers and geomorphologists deal with a variety of water related issues and many specialize in river restoration and channel design. These engineers often design projects that restore streams, increase flood resiliency and balance other objectives such as protecting property and enhancing the riparian environment. Water resource engineers balance the dynamic hydrology and hydraulics of a site with ecology and biology, as well as public safety. Engineers also provide a wide range of services in support of stream restoration work, including floodplain evaluations, detailed design of structures and utilities such as water and sewer lines.
Landscape architects and designers can play a key role in your project when it comes to defining spaces, vegetation, access and aesthetics. Depending on your project, the landscape architect can help you figure out how to organize your property, or they can create a planting plan that is beneficial to the stream corridor while meeting your view, aesthetic and access needs. Often, they can also assist you with applying for certain permits and any required local design reviews such as HOA or city submittals. While landscape architects are required to hold a license for commercial property designs, residential design work does not require a license. Licenses are required for commercial design work in order to ensure the design accounts for the public’s health, safety and welfare.
When looking at landscape architects/ designers, you will want to make sure they have multiple years of experience designing similar types of projects. They should be able to share pictures of the finished projects with you. If you are hiring them to create a riparian corridor planting plan, make sure that they have successfully completed other similar projects in the area. Riparian vegetation can vary greatly from area to area and its success will depend on how close it is planted to the water. Not knowing these details can mean the difference between a healthy area of vegetation and an area that will die off. As mentioned above, you may want to consider hiring a licensed landscape architect; this will depend on your project. In either case, their company should carry commercial liability insurance, general liability insurance and professional liability insurance (often called errors and omissions insurance).