Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need Paul Levine?

Contractors are Contractors – they just want to build what they are selling. The same is true for “pool guys,” “deck guys,” “pond guys” and “wall and patio guys“. Any of these elements installed by contractors individually without a cohesive plan can potentially hinder other usable aspects of your desired spaces. These elements should be designed together allowing your property’s spaces and textures to merge together as one entity. The flow of the entire property is critical to its success. It is important to take advantage of each usable area’s strengths while tying the strengths of other usable areas and textures together. Remember you’re going to live there and your total environment should merge together as one to satisfy the needs of your lifestyle.

Can your design plans be phased over time?

YES! Feel free to implement the proposed elements as you desire over a period of time or install at one time.

At what stage do I need landscape design services?

It depends on each project. A good rule of thumb is to call 3-6 months before you are going to start any outdoor project to determine the level of service you will need.

What is the difference between a Landscape Architect and a Landscape Designer?

A lot. An analogy would be similar to a doctor and nurse or a lawyer and paralegal. Both work in the same industry but have distinctly different responsibilities and capabilities. a. Landscape Architects: require 4-5 years of school, earn a bachelor’s degree, are required to have a two-year internship, and are certified. They have an understanding of people spaces, construction details, municipal codes, topography, and plant material and will work with you and other industry professionals (architect and engineer) to come up with solutions based on your lifestyle and needs. b. Landscape Designers: There is no education required. Anyone at anytime can become a Landscape Designer. There are some certificates of design programs available, but they only offer a small selection of plant, pruning and lawn care classes. c. Landscape Contractor: is the person who builds from the plans. He is the person with the trucks and crews.

Whom to Choose?

Although they all work in the same industry each one has different skills and abilities. YOU as the potential client must choose the skills and level of services you will need for your property.
Choose us: For properties that require a variety of usable spaces with elevations, extensive plant material, and proper drainage that will meet your local municipal codes. Paul LeVine, ASLA, will work for you to create spaces for your needs. Landscape Designers: For planting garden areas. They usually work for a landscape design build company. Their plans are less specific and since they generally do not display much detail, they are unable to be sent out for bid. The plans they develop are for their use in construction, rather than for your use to then look at other companies for the construction phase. Landscapers: For installation.

What are your fees?

See the fee section of this website.

What services do you provide?

See the design services section of this website.

Are your plans free if we hire you to build and construct the project?

No, plans require time and effort to create. Absolutely NO COMPANY gives you free plans, even if they say they will subtract it from the installation price. They will elevate the installation price to be able to display a credit. Anyone who designs something will be paid for his or her service.

Should I get Computer Plans (CAD Designs)?

If someone offers to do plans for your residential property with computer-aided design (CAD), refuse it! Computer designs for residential properties can be misleading and lack homeowner personality input. CAD is for commercial designs. The person using CAD for residential properties often lacks the ability to be creative with lines, forms, and textures. Traditionally, landscape designers and others who like to design with computers have no formal training in designing spaces. CAD drawings are only useful for large scale projects, such as: Multi-Use Community Development, Township Master Plans, Large Scale Site Grading, and Road Circulation and Design, just to name a few. For residential properties you need someone with communication and space-designing skills that work through the entire concept stage to complete the program elements. Computer designers do not offer this as they typically do not have the drawing abilities to communicate their ideas.

Should I hire someone to do concepts?

Never hire someone who will only provide you with concepts. You are getting RIPPED OFF. All concepts must be converted into implementation drawings. Concepts by themselves are useless!

What I Should Look for When Hiring a Professional?
  • Ask to see a pictorial portfolio of completed works. If they do not have a pictorial portfolio, that means this is a side job. Also, look for scope of work projects that would be similar to yours.
  • Ask to see project drawings of the completed works that are in the pictorial portfolio.
  • Ask for two references.
  • Compare their literature and website to that of their competitors.
  • Meet and talk with each design professional.
  • Look at your design professional’s own property. See if he/she practices what he/she preaches.

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