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The Importance of Hiring a Landscape Designer: An Interview with Bob Oelberg of Robert N Oelberg ASLA PA

By Bob Oelberg

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

After working for others for fifteen years, I started Robert N Oelberg ASLA PA in 2000. It's a Landscape Architecture firm providing a variety of services, from residential landscape design at a small scale up to land planning for residential development at a large scale. Since the beginning of the recession, I've gravitated more towards residential and small scale commercial landscape and hardscape design.

What are some of the services your company provides?

Regarding landscape design, I create renderings and to-scale plans of proposed landscapes. Depending on the project, I collaborate closely with the landscape contractor on the installation. But my company is not a landscape contractor. I work in the six county area surrounding Boone. In projects that are close to home, I work closely on most projects with Ground Effects, a landscape contracting and maintenance company in Boone.

In your opinion, why is it important to utilize the services of a landscape designer?

Working with a competent landscape designer can create opportunities that an inexperienced homeowner will probably miss if undertaking the design on their own. An experienced designer will have a clear vision of what the finished landscape can look like, and proceed methodically and deliberately to bring the vision to reality. Doing that takes knowledge and experience that most homeowners just don't have.

What sort of knowledge would a landscape designer have that a homeowner most likely would not?

A homeowner won't necessarily understand the best plants to use for various circumstances, or where to buy them. No retail nursery is large enough to carry all of the plants that are available through wholesale nurseries to designers. Competent designers also understand which plants require the least maintenance, are resistant to deer, and thrive in various microclimates.

How can hiring a landscape designer help to save money in the long run?

I believe that a designer's fee should be a relatively small percentage of the total landscape improvement budget. The real money that's spent on landscape improvements is spent on plant and other material expenses, site and soil preparation, installation and maintenance. A good design brings a coherent, aesthetically pleasing result that meets the practical needs of the owner; and which is optimally resilient and sustainable. The savings realized through a relatively small investment in design can be the difference between a desirable and compelling refuge and a nondescript arrangement of plants in the yard.

As a landscape designer, what resources do you have that would not be available to a homeowner?

Resources available to me which aren't available to most homeowners include formal training and nearly thirty years of experience working as a landscape architect. Other resources include access to wholesale nurseries and suppliers, access to continuing education programs and computer design and database programs that greatly leverage my effectiveness.

What is the best way to reach you or your company?

I can be reached by e-mail at; or call me at the office at (828) 264-4149 or on my cell at (828) 406-8218.

Robert N Oelberg ASLA PA
782 Little Laurel Rd Ext Boone, NC 28607
(828) 264-4149 (O) (828) 406-8218 (C)

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