How do I find a landscape architect who does low allergy xeriscaping?
April 29, 2018 2:32 PM   Subscribe

We recently bought a home in Phoenix, and we'd like to start looking into redoing the landscaping. We want to change some grading as well as replace the back lawn with something less water-needy than the current grass. But: we have no idea about cost, and have allergies, so we don't know how to start looking for a contractor that can handle the work we need!

Our house is on a plot between 1/8 and 1/4 acre in size. Currently the front is empty gravel, while the back is a dying lawn (our sprinkler system was malfunctioning so it is turned off, since we don't want to keep the grass anyhow). There are some minor grading problems, and the cinder block fence needs some fixing, so we are expecting to completely redo the space.

We both think it's highly stupid that so much water goes to the maintenance of landscape plants not suited to the area, so we're really interested in xeriscape; we're also not really into lawn maintenance so something that will require less upkeep is a good idea.

Both my partner and I have allergies, and we're apparently allergic to different things, so between the two of us if a plant can cause an allergic response somebody will probably have it. Since we're going to totally redo all the plant life on our little plot, we figure now is a good time to make sure the plants are as allergy-free as possible (we know about the OPALS allergy scale, but have no idea what's on it or how accurate it is, or whether any landscapers use it).

What we want: a well-regarded landscape architect who will draw up plans to fix the grading/fence issues, replace the grass in back, and put in some plant life both in back and in front, possibly at different budget levels (we don't really know what budget is appropriate here, and think we have enough money, but if not we'd be happy to purchase plans now and save up money to do the work when we can).

How do we find such a person/company?
Our priorities:
1) Low allergy plants. If it's going to make one of us sneeze, it's a no go.
2) Low water usage. We'd prefer to have no irrigation system at all, but we could be convinced to run a drip system (it would need to be installed too).
3) Low maintenance. I've already mowed enough lawns in my life, and neither one of us is a gardener (He will water plants when he remembers though).
4) Full service: it'd be perfect if the landscaper we hire can draw up plans, bring them to reality, and then also provide regular upkeep (especially in the first years as plants get established).
5) Cost. We have some saved up, but don't really know anything about prices; we'd rather do minimal work now and save up to pay someone else to do the rest later than do it ourselves now.
posted by nat to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Contact the Cooperative Extension Service in your area; they generally have a wealth of knowledge.
posted by theora55 at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2018

My mom xeriscaped her yard with a lot of help from the California Native Plant Society. The Arizona version is likely to be helpful.
posted by LionIndex at 7:12 PM on April 29, 2018

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