Landscape Design

Landscape Design Rochester, NY

Design Quality Matters

Experience the difference...........that experience makes.

Over time, your landscape project will only turn out as good as the design concept on which it’s based. It is important that you understand the significance of a legitimate design so you can do some homework before committing time or money following a plan that may or may not be legitimate.

This first part of this page is an overview of landscape design and how it impacts your landscape project and Home Value, including:

Page Index. ....Jump Links:

Do you need a quality landscape design? Learn about our landscape design service for Rochester, NY homeowners, including pricing for 2D and 3D landscape plans……Or…

“Hi…… my name is Bill Carr, owner of Woodstream Landscape Inc. I am a NYSNLA landscape Designer in Rochester NY. I have been designing & building unique landscape projects for homeowners in the Rochester area for over 25 years.”

About this website

Maybe you're not sure where to begin.

On this overall website you will find helpful Information you’ll need in order to plan any Landscape Project.

The information is based on my formal education in Landscape Architecture combined with over 25 years of professional experience, designing & installing Front yard Landscaping, inground pools and backyard living environments in Rochester, NY and Hilton Head, SC.

Other pages on this website have helpful Information  including:

Other Pages on this website:

Be sure you're getting good quality design

Landscaping Adds Value....But it has to be done right

When your Plantings and hardscapes are skillfully designed and integrated with your home’s overall architecture, your landscape grows and becomes an asset, adding Real Value to your home.

But let’s say you do decide to leave the design up to a traditional landscape company. It is highly likely that you will get a basic drawing……but chances are that you are NOT dealing with someone who really understands design.  Especially when it comes to “planting Design.”

Everyone can “design” but not everyone is a designer

It can be confusing for homeowners because most landscape companies offer design. However, a landscape contractors specialty is installation, not design, and the typical result of that “limited design” approach is that your plantings often grow into a high maintenance mess.

The planting design is not “held together” by strong underlying design principles. As these landscapes mature, homeowners become frustrated, trying to maintain something that is never going to look right.

Overgrown Landscapes are a common sight in most home tracts

This scenario is very common and you can easily see this for yourself. Take a look at any home tract that’s been up for 10 years. The majority of these homes have very mish mash or overgrown landscapes. 

“…..Today’s homeowners & home buyers value outdoor living space, especially when it’s well designed. In fact, studies done by national association of Realtors show a high rate of return ( around 100% ) on outdoor living areas.”

“…..outdoor living space where ‘friends and family can connect’ adds ‘real value’ to a home. In fact, a mid range patio project, has a ROI of 102%….”

“…….In most modern housing tracts,  landscapes tend to be pretty similar………unattractive & high maintenance…..The plants are growing, even thriving, so why do the landscapes look so bad…..”

“…….it’s frustrating when you have to keep throwing money away on a Landscape that is never going to look right, no matter how much time or money you spend …….”

“…….If your project doesn’t add home value….but it could have…it’s called opportunity cost…….This can be 5%-10% of home value…..”

Bad expensive

The cost of poor design….. is REAL, it’s just that the the bill doesn’t come due until the job starts to really mature. Drive into any modern housing tract, and you can see this for yourself.

Often, the fast, cheap drawing you got ends up costing you the most money. The biggest cost comes from the reduced return on investment you get once you sell the house. But it’s even more than that.

The real cost of bad design

  • Opportunity cost: If your project doesn’t add home value….but it could have…it’s called opportunity cost. Research shows that this can be 5%-10% of home value…even a 1% difference would have justified paying more for a quality designer or architect.
  • Renovation Cost: Landscape renovations are popular and most of the jobs haven’t been in longer than 10-15 years. If you decide to renovate, get a quality plan this time around. It will ensure that your not wasting more time or money.
  • Higher Maintenance: Bad design typically causes a lot of extra maintenance. Not to mention the frustration of spending time or money on something that is never going to look ‘right’.

“If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design…..”

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover
New inground pool installation. designed properly and integrated into backyard living space. Adding to home value

Landscape Quality

impacts home value

Does an exact Return on investment exist for Landscaping ?

Several University studies have done research on the relationship of landscape quality to perceived home value. As well as looking at a landscape’s factors/qualities that had the biggest impact on perceived Home Value and selling price. The conclusions are revealing.

I will have some abstracts of these studies on our front yard page soon. For now, the links to the studies are below in case you want more specifics. In a nutshell, the studies conclude that :

  • The quality of a Landscape Design had the biggest impact on overall Landscape Quality.
  • The quality of the overall landscape had a very high impact on a Home’s Curb Appeal.
  • And finally….Curb appeal has a big impact on perceived home value & selling price.

Landscape quality determines curb appeal......

And.........curb appeal impacts perceived home value

The fallacy of landscape Design

It's much more than choosing which plant goes where

Sources of information regarding landscape design, including most online sources, have a very thin definition of what landscape design really is. A typical definition would lead you to believe that landscape design is mostly Horticulture. The interpretation is…….

“……Choose some colorful shrubs which can survive your site conditions and you’ll have a great landscape…..”


But, that is a misconception about what it takes to create an appealing & long lasting landscape project. It costs homeowners time and money because those types of landscapes will never really look right, especially as they mature.

Here is proof. Simply drive into any modern housing tract and you will see house after house with very similar and unattractive landscaping. The key takeaway is that a Bad Design usually leads to a poor outcome. Here are a couple of things to know:

  • For the most part, all the plants are growing & living…so from a Horticulture perspective, the plants selected did their job. Landscape Design is not selecting which plant goes where.
  • Many, if not Most of these projects started with a plan.
  • If choosing plants which live was all there was to it, every home would have attractive landscaping that improves with age.
  • Choosing plants to survive your site’s conditions is fairly easy and straight forward.

Design Matters.......Make sure you use a good plan

The quality of the finished project is highly dependent on the design. If you are about to invest in an outdoor project, it is vital that you understand the importance of a legitimate design. Do some homework before committing a lot of time or money following a plan.

“…….These front landscapes will never look right no matter how much time or money is spent. There just isn’t an underlying design framework to visually hold it together……”

“…….Designing a yard or project, without an understanding of Core Design Principles almost never works………the project will not have lasting appeal”

“……….It’s helpful to think of landscape design as a recipe. If the recipe is substandard, then it won’t matter how much money or time you spend……it
will never taste right and possibly it could be downright awful…….”

“………Design is the skillful use of art elements (color, line, form,etc) & Design Principles (scale, balance ,etc). These tools form the basis of all visual design and their creative application is what sets work apart.”

The Basic principles of landscape design : NC State University

Landscape Design is about 'creating Space'

Below is a short abstract from a North Carolina State University article on Landscape Design. Warning:You may find it a little dry, but it is very accurate.”

Landscape design is both an art and a purposeful process. It’s the creation & arrangement of outdoor space to maximize human enjoyment.

A designer should work to maximize your property’s use and enjoyment of it by creating space that is:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Maximizes overall functional
  • Creates comfortable outdoor spaces for friends & family to socialize and ‘connect’.
  • Enhances the neighborhood
  • Adds to the property’s value.
  • Contributes to overall Home Value.
  • establish a visual relationship between the house, site.

All while saving time, effort, and money on maintenance.

Finding a Good Designer is key

Separating the.... wheat from the chaff

  • An overview on how to hire a designer, options, average cost, misconceptions
  • what the 3 most common options are for finding a designer 
  • what I recommend as the “safest bet”
  •  average cost of a Landscape Designer

…” You miss the opportunity to maximize your investment, which could have provided more value and function for the same price.”….

Final word...

Landscaping Adds Value....But it has to be done right

Hopefully this page has provided you with some helpful information on starting a Landscape Project, either here in Rochester, or elsewhere.

Even if you don’t consider us in the project, you hopefully will avoid the costly mistakes that too many other homeowners end up making.

Best of luck in designing your Project!

If you are interested in hiring us to design your project, our pricing is here. we make it easy to get started here, or you can fill out the contact form down below.

To learn more about our design service check out the rest of this website.  

“If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”

  • Ralf Speth. CEO Land Rover


Woodstream Landscape Inc.

Landscape Projects

“Lets Talk………We can get you started on a quality landscape project”

"See how we use Boulders to add impact to landscape projects"

Learn about Boulders / natural stone

Landscape Design

2D Plan view

This is the classic architectural “floor plan view” layout. A 2D plan is like a floor plan for an outdoor area. A landscape design creates a visual representation of a site using scaled dimensions.

It allows for “take offs” when estimating the materials during cost estimation, ensuring accuracy in bidding. It is also important for laying out site features during the installation phase of your project.

I provide accurate linear and square foot measurements for Hardscapes which is better than relying on “take offs” from a third party. It helps eliminate uncertainty, which can cause bids to be “padded”. Just by having me do that, it usually more than covers the cost of a plan and you are assure of getting what you paid for.

Cost for 2D Plans

  • Backyard Landscape Design is usually $295 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Inground Pool Design: Backyards that include an inground Pool are a little more. Usually $395 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard Landscape Design is $250 for an average Rochester homesite.
Custom Pool Design Example Rochester NY

A couple Notes for 2D Plans

  • Note: Some Renovation Plans for existing homes can be a little more. It depends on the amount of existing trees & site features.
  • Note: Sites with larger than normal grade changes can cost more to design if hardscapes or pools are being implemented.
3D design rendering for an inground pool installation in Buffalo NY
3D design rendering for an inground pool installation in Buffalo NY
3D design rendering for a Backyard in Greece NY
3D design rendering for a Backyard in Greece NY

Landscape Design

3D Renderings

One of biggest challenges when looking at a traditional landscape design is to get a real “feel” for what a complex design would look like in the actual space where the project would be installed.

3D renderings can be used in the design stage of a project to help visualize the overall layout. They are not used for project layout so you can consider them as optional.

A 3-D design can give an “in the landscape viewpoint” that helps give you a sense of ‘scale; and ‘proportion’ because it shows you the actual height of plants, walls or pergolas & other elements.

It is a worthwhile investment that is not meant to merely wow you with technology, but to aid you in truly envisioning the landscape.

A 2D plan is needed before a 3D Rendering can be accurately put together. A 3D plan is not needed to layout your project, therefore you can consider it as optional/add on.

Cost for 3D Plan/Rendering

  • Backyard 3D plan/Renderings are usually $250 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Inground Pool 3D plan/Renderings: Backyards that include an inground Pool are $300 for an average Rochester, NY home site.
  • Front yard 3D plan/Renderings: are $250 for an average Rochester, NY home site.

we can help you design your space

Why are our projects always so different? Partially it’s the quality of the materials we use and the care we take in our installations, but mostly it is about creative and thoughtful design.

The right design will maximize the overall function and appeal of your entire property. It helps clarify your expectations, establish your budget and helps you to visualize and prioritize multi-phase enhancements.

Extensive time and detail is put into these plans so that your landscape will continue to add curb appeal, function & increased Home Value, Not maintenance and frustration.

It is for this reason we charge a fee for design work, which is around $200-$400 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most front or backyard landscape Projects.

Backyards that include a Pool run about $395 Total due to the extra time involved, such as measuring and laying out grades, drainage, setbacks etc.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out.
  • (585) 202-0623

Frequently Asked Questions

Around $295 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most backyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $250 extra.

$395 for a traditional 2D architectural plan which is what is used for planning and layout of the pool and surrounding spaces for your project. 3D Renderings are usually $300.

Around $250 for a traditional 2D architectural plan for most Frontyard landscape Projects. We do offer 3D renderings for about $250, but it’s more for visualization and not critical for planning and layout of the project.

We do Planting, Landscaping & Hardscapes installs, (other than concrete).  We will provide estimates for any of that work. We don’t accept every install inquiry. It mostly depends on our backlog, distance, type of work.

Not at this time. Since we don’t accept every installation project we’re offered, ( even though we might have done the drawing ) we instead opt to keep the design fee reasonable across the board, in order to keep it “Fair”.

You choose the pool builder. They will install the pool, including backfill, rough grading and fence.

On projects where we are doing some of the installation work (like landscaping)….. we lay out fencing and concrete so it gets done according to plan.

We actually will be working for you. We manage a project with your best interests in mind. With that said, we work with whoever you choose as your pool builder.

No problem! As long as we are doing some of the other work (like Landscaping) I will layout the design for the mason to ensure it gets put in according to the plan.

Sometimes, yes. But it depends. More so in winter. Just shoot me an email. The fees will usually be a little higher because there is no installation aspect. I’m pretty familiar with plants in the East down to about zone 8. I worked in Hilton Head, SC. for 7 years.

Landscape Design and installation Project Rochester NY

Woodstream Design & Landscape

Over 25 Years Designing and Building Unique outdoor spaces

Woodstream Landscape Inc.

(585) 202-0623

Let's Talk.......We can get you started on your ideal landscape Project
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