You've done everything you know how to do, and your yard still doesn't meet your expectations. You could spend another spring and summer trying to make it look like the one in the magazine picture you taped to the refrigerator, or you could hire a professional to truly match your outdoor space to your dreams and maintenance capabilities. Landscaping professionals may specialize in one or more of the following areas:DesignInstallationMaintenanceInstallation and maintenance may be handled by landscape contractors, while design is typically overseen by a landscaping architect or designer.What does a landscape designer do?According to the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, professional landscape designers are skilled practitioners of fundamental design concepts – proportion, unity, balance, perspective, color, texture – that can bring about a fully integrated design. They combine these skills with an extensive knowledge of plants and the local climate to design outdoor areas that meet your needs and maintenance abilities. Landscape designers are generally not licensed, and are generally limited to garden design and care.How much do landscape design services cost? Depending on the scope and location of the project, design costs can range from $300-$2,500 for a detailed plan for your property. With modest jobs, you might get 1-2 hours of onsite verbal consultation for $50-$100 an hour. Living large? “Big name" designers might charge $6,000-$16,000 or more for comprehensive plans and drawings.Landscape architectureIf you have a bigger job -- one that involves structures, moving dirt, drainage, or a large and complex site plan, you need a landscape architect. Landscape architects are licensed in 46 states, and advanced training is required. They manage any jobs concerning the design and use of outdoor space and land. The scope of the profession includes site planning, town or urban planning, park and recreation planning, regional planning, garden design and historic preservation.What do landscape architects charge? On average, fees range between $70 and $150 an hour or 5%-15% of your total overall project cost. Your architect should give you a written estimate of the fees involved and what services are covered.Working with your landscape designer or architectThe person or firm you hire should have the skills and knowledge to get you to the final destination, but will rely on you for an idea of what that destination is. Be prepared to discuss the details of what you want and expect. How much time do you have to devote to lawncare and maintaining your garden? When do you plan on relaxing in your garden? How do you plan to water your garden? What do you want do use the outdoor space for? Are there AC systems or outbuildings you want to hide? The more details you can provide, the better the match will be.Wouldn't it be great to have pictures of your yard on other people's refrigerators? Make this year the year you hire the professional help you need to achieve the outdoor look and functionality you dream of. Hire the right professional and take the summer off.Need More Help?If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a pro today!