What is a Landscape Architect and What that Means to Your Project

What is a landscape architect? As the title implies, a landscape architect is a person who is trained in landscaping architecture. This field of expertise includes tasks like land planning, recreational planning site analysis, site inventory, sustainable design, planting design, storm water management, construction specification, and building code compliance. Because of the nature of their work, landscape architects need to be well-versed in a wide array of related fields, such as of ecology, geography, soil sciences, industrial design, fine arts, and of course, architecture. They specialize in designing public art, parks, plazas, gardens, green roofs, fountains, and other outdoor projects. In fact, due to the broad nature of their work, many people may be confused as to what landscape architects actually do. To separate the myths from the facts, here are a few things you need to know about landscape architects.

Landscape architects are designers, not builders. They primarily collaborate with clients, architects, and building contractors to get their part of the job done. Their projects are designed in a way that not only makes the property look good, but also feel good to be in.

The landscape photos presented to the public are much more than pretty pictures. They are carefully thought-out plans that make the property suitable for relaxation, recreation, and socialization. The ultimate goal of landscape architecture is to come up with a design that brings out the best of the property in terms of both looks and functionality.

Another common mistake is to confuse landscape architects with gardeners. As mentioned before, landscape architects are designers31. Their job does not include the construction and maintenance of landscapes. They do not prune, transplant or mulch for the project. Most of their time is spent on the drawing table and in front of the computer, designing and managing ongoing projects. If they have any more time leftover, chances are that they’re spending it in client and contractor meetings.

Landscape architects are trained to view the landscape as a system. They do not go into much of the details, but instead, they work on the big picture. The natural flow of water through the property, the amount of natural light that the trees and other fixtures allow in, and the effects of the local climate and watershed are factors that the landscape architect needs to consider.

Lastly, landscape architects are experts in sustainable practices. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects often uses the phrase “green since 1899” to emphasize the fact that its members have long practiced environmentally friendly work. Many of the profession’s best practices are centered on ecologically sound principles that account for climate effects, existing material use, storm water management, and vegetation use.

Considering all of the aforementioned, the question that naturally follows is, “should I hire a landscape architect for my project?” Well, if you want to bring out the best in your property, we highly recommend that you do. However, do note that some landscape architects may focus on a particular type of property, such as urban estates, small garden lots or vast rural estates. Therefore, you may want to approach several of them before you decide on one that best fits your needs. Don’t settle for second best. Hire a landscape architect.




The true value of a perfect home garden goes far beyond the tangible products growing in it. Although studies have shown that a picturesque garden can easily improve the market value of a piece of property by up to ten percent, it also has a certain intrinsic value that cannot accurately be measured in dollars and cents. To help you appreciate the perks of having a perfect home garden, we’ve compiled a list of benefits that most homeowners often overlook.

Relax and Relieve Stress

There are several studies which confirm that simply sitting in a thriving garden will help reduce stress. The Netherlands even have a special term for the practice of designing stress-relieving gardens, which they refer to it as “geo-sense gardening.” However, this trend is actually far from being new. Its roots can be traced as far back as ancient Persia, China, and Egypt, whose wealthy and influential personalities attempted to incorporate nature into early urban environments.

Hospital gardens are yet another good example of the importance of the outdoors to mental and physical health. In a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, it was discovered that roughly 80 percent of architects and directors of assisted-living homes believe outdoor space to be one of the chief considerations in the overall design of their facilities. In another study, which was published in the early 1980s, Dr. Roger Ulrich of Texas A&M University also came to the conclusion that gazing at gardens can speed up the healing process for infections, surgeries, and other illnesses.

Reconnect with Nature

Horticulture therapy refers to the study of the effects of gardening on patient rehabilitation. Several studies related to this field have suggested that simply experiencing pleasant, natural landscapes can already be beneficial to recovering patients. Most environmental psychologists believe this reaction to be caused by basic human instincts and genetics. The behavior is technically referred to as “biophilia” and is also the main reason for the existence of public parks and similar projects.

The opportunity to reconnect with nature can also be a fun learning experience for kids. A home garden can provide the perfect place to educate children about insects, ecosystems, micro-organisms, and basic biology.

Have Fun with Family and Friends

A spacious home garden can also be a great place for social events, such as birthday parties, neighborhood barbecues, family picnics, make-believe campouts, and more. Gathering in a natural environment near your home will help you connect with others in a more personal and relaxed setting.

Sense of Pride and Joy

Lastly, a luxurious garden can bring you a lot of personal pride and joy. Your garden will not only serve as a physical representation of your hard work and determination, but will also turn your neighbors green with envy.

Gardens stimulate all of our senses. Just imagining the sight of a well-maintained lawn, the smell of blooming flowers, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, and the touch of soil will already bring a smile to most faces – that smile is a prime example of an intangible benefit. It is a prime example of the true value of a perfect home garden.


Why Invest in Water Features

Why Invest in Water Features

Several homeowners are willing to invest considerable time, effort, and money to have their ideal water feature installed. While some people may disagree, we believe that the relaxing and therapeutic effects of most waterscapes to be well worth the initial investment.

No property, regardless of the size and extravagance, is truly complete without a water feature. Whether it’s a small fountain or a large pool, these luxurious amenities are real crowd pleasers that can easily make almost any landscape even more appealing. Whether you enjoy the relaxing sound of running water, are mesmerized by Koi, or simply admire the design, there’s definitely a water feature for you. To help you find your ideal water feature, here are a few factors you need to consider: (1) the amount of free space you have available, (2) the amount of money you’re willing to spend, and (3) the amount of time you’re willing to wait for its construction.

If you’re someone who is frequently on the go, you may want to look into small container-type features, which require very little space and almost zero maintenance, but will still allow you to enjoy the sight and sound of running water. Some models may even allow you to add water spitters, plants or a few fish.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to go big, consider installing a pool, pond or waterfall. For the more creative big spender, you may even want to look into multi-level water gardens. These amazing works of engineering offer the aforementioned pleasures of running water, as well as the natural look of a lush green garden and the captivating view of live fish. Whichever water feature you choose however, you’ll still need to have it cleaned and treated periodically in order to get the most out of your investment.

If designed and constructed properly, a water feature can blend in perfectly with the scenery. It will provide you with peaceful and tranquil atmosphere, while improving your lifestyle and the resale value of your home. Just remember to take your time in choosing the right landscaping firm to install your feature.  There are plenty of firms out there that talk a big game, but can’t back it up. The ideal landscaping firm will not only be creative and experienced, but will also give you more bang for your buck. So, even if hiring some firms cost more initially, the quality and speed they provide can easily make them worth every penny.


A Touch of Renaissance

A Touch of Renaissance

Building an Italian Parterre Garden in Your Home

Italy has been such a dominant force in several fields of design that it’s really no surprise that its influence is also apparent in professionally designed gardens and landscapes. During the renaissance, Italy’s gardens were famed for their elegant designs, masterful attention to detail, and unique use of hardscape elements like statues, grottos, and water features. In recent years however, the interest in classic Italian garden designs has been rekindled.

Today’s landscaping experts look to the unique charm of Italian gardens for some of their more traditional design elements. For example, these gardens often make use of restricted plantings, controlled shapes, and a very strong axis. They are often built on a flat surface and make use of symmetrical plant beds, which are connected and separated by gravel paths.

Renaissance style gardens often feature a theme regarding humanity’s control over nature. Because of this, Italian gardens traditionally have solid-looking structures and use symmetrical layouts and paths. While some grandiose designs may not be applicable in small residential gardens, the same symmetrical effect can also be achieved through other means like building a straight stone pathway bordered by various shrubbery.

Another way that the theme of control is emphasized by skilled landscapers is by incorporating clear-cut and discernable shapes into the design. To achieve this look, you don’t need to go over the top. Simple shapes like rectangles and squares will already give the holder the impression of a controlled and organized landscape. Moreover, this concept is not limited to the shaping bushes and other greenery, it is also applicable to the overall design of the garden, including its divisions, furniture, and hardscape elements.

Similar to gardens in other Mediterranean countries, Italian gardens generally have specific areas designed to shield you from the harsh midday sun. There are several ways to achieve this. While one of the most popular methods is by building a pergola or arbor to encourage the growth of beautiful and fragrant vines, you can also plant hard pruned and large leaf trees like the common lime. Aside from being able to provide the perfect amount of shade, these trees are also easy to shape and grow.

Lastly, to complete your Italian garden, you’ll also want to install water features to provide an element of sound and movement. Rills and spouts made of steel, which direct a steady stream of water onto a bed of pebbles will be sufficient for most home landscapes. Although most gardens won’t be able to accommodate the large grottos and fountains that were prominent in the Renaissance, just having a simple water feature should be enough to preserve the central theme.


How to Choose the Right Type of Custom Pool

How to Choose the Right Type of Custom Pool

There are plenty of benefits to having your own custom pool. Whatever shape, size or design you have, a custom pool can offer you countless hours of entertainment from the comfort and convenience of your own backyard. Moreover, it can increase the value of your home, enlarge the usable living space, and provide an easy means of exercise to keep you healthy.

If you’re planning to install your own custom pool, then it’s probably a good idea to learn more about its different variations.

Construction materials

In terms of construction materials, custom pool owners only enjoy a limited selection. While stock pools are generally made of fiberglass, concrete or vinyl liner, custom pools only have the last two options available. Very few custom pools are made of fiberglass, because the material needs to be shaped through a mold. Consequently, property owners are left with the shape, size, and design specifications prescribed by the manufacturer. On the other hand, vinyl liner and concrete pools are highly customizable and can be built according to your specific needs.

Despite their similarities, however, there are also significant differences between vinyl liner and concrete. For example, concrete pools will require the use of more chemicals to prevent algae buildup, while vinyl liner pools are more easily damaged by rough use. To help you make a more informed decision, it’s highly recommended that you first consult a landscaping expert before you start your project.


One great advantage to having a custom pool is the ability to choose your design. There are plenty of options available when it comes to shape, size, and design elements, but here are a few of the most common ones:

  1. Freeform. Choosing a freeform design will allow you to make the most efficient use of your available space. These irregularly shaped pools can be made to fit a variety of spaces, equipped with numerous water features, and designed with different depths.
  2. Traditional. Traditional designs are often preferred by homeowners who want a formal looking pool. That may sound boring to some, but the reality is that traditional pools are far from dull. In fact, some of the most elegant and classical looking pools are classified under this category.
  3. Geometric. While geometric designs also prefer the use of rectangular shapes, they should not be confused with traditional designs. Geometric designs usually give off a very modern vibe and prominently feature straight lines, sharp angles, and well defined spaces.


Light Up the Night

Light Up the Night

Why Build an Outdoor Firepit

Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces carry a unique charm that can improve the aesthetics of almost any backyard. In addition to this, it can also serve as a great place to entertain people, especially during the cool summer and autumn nights. Just imagine a night of bonding with family and friends, while cozying up near the fire under a star-filled April sky. What could be better?

Unlike other yard investments like outdoor kitchens or swimming pools, you don’t need to wait for just the right weather to use your fire pit. Aside from the extremely cold winter nights, you’ll be able to comfortably use your fire pit for most of the year. That’s partly why these fixtures are such a good investment. If you’re still not convinced, here’s a short list of reasons why you should invest in a fire pit or outdoor fireplace.

Instantly improve your get-togethers. If you’re tired of the same old party settings, a fire pit can offer some welcome variation. Once you have a working fire pit, just call over a few friends, get yourself some quality meat and drinks, and – voila – instant barbecue with the perfect ambiance.

Make a statement. As we mentioned right at the start, fire pits carry a unique charm that significantly improves almost any backyard setting. For fire pits with a more permanent nature, you can choose to use a wide range of materials, such as brick, stone or clay. Note that different materials have different colors and textures. So, it’s important that you determine which material best fits the overall aesthetic of your landscape before installing the fire pit.

Get ready to cook. While you may not enjoy the same functionality as you would from a grill, it’s still possible to cook a wide variety of foods using the fire pit. Fruit kebabs, corn on the cob, hot dogs, and s’mores are just some of the delicious dishes you can roast. Guests can enjoy the experience of cooking their own food, while you can enjoy the night without having to clean your kitchen. Now that’s a win-win scenario.

Natural pest control. What can motivate you stay indoors more than winter’s chill? Bugs. More specifically, the bugs that seem to appear out of nowhere just as the weather warms up. Fortunately, smoke is actually a natural bug repellent. Even the occasional use your fire pit will produce enough smoke to drive away these annoying little critters. So, if you’re planning to enjoy the night on your patio, a fire pit or outdoor fireplace can be a real godsend.


Building Your Castle

Building Your Castle

The Benefits of Adding a Stone Wall to Your Property

The ideal home garden should feature a variety of elements and textures. You’ll want a good balance between softscape and hardscape elements. It’s not all about a well-manicured lawn, vibrantly colored flowers, and lush trees or shrubs. The landscape also needs pathways, patios, and other structures made from varying materials like wood, metal, and stone. If you’re planning to add a hardscape element to your garden, we suggest looking into stone walls.

Stone has been used a construction material for thousands of years. In ancient architecture, one of the primary reasons for building with stone is its innate durability. The same concept holds true today. Stone walls are incredibly durable structures and often require little to no maintenance during their lifetime. Unlike wood fences, they require no repainting or resealing. In short, stone walls are built to endure.

Another advantage to building with stone is the unique way it blends in with the natural look of your garden. Stone easily looks amazing when arranged next to flowers and other greenery. You can use it to create a functional yet beautiful division to separate different parts of your garden or direct foot traffic to preferred areas. With the right planning and construction, stone walls can even be arranged in layers to make the landscape even more appealing. When used as a fence between neighbors, the thickness of a stone wall also offers a lot of privacy from prying and unwelcome eyes. Moreover, because it is placed near the border of your property, it can even double as a charming background that highlights the main features of your property.

Despite what some homeowners believe, there’s actually a variety of designs to choose from when it comes to stone walls. Different stones. for instance, may come in different colors and textures. Moreover, a skilled landscaper or architect can easily come up with several ways to use the stones, resulting in wide range of wall shapes, sizes, and designs.

Stone walls are blessed with a long-lasting appeal that becomes immediately apparent from day one. Even if they’re newly built, stone walls look like they’ve always been part of the landscape. If you want to make it look even more natural or aged, you could even encourage moss growth. But even without this additional step, most homeowners would already agree that stone walls make an incredible addition to almost any property. The classic, natural look that just exudes strength and stability will not only beautify the landscape, but will also increase the privacy, security, and resale value of your home.


Why Invest in a Custom Pool

Why Invest in a Custom Pool

Whether you want to build your family’s dream home or just want to improve the value of your property, swimming pools are the way to go. Pools are a great addition to any backyard, especially if you frequently host gatherings for family or friends during the summer months. Aside from their potential entertainment value, pools can also significantly improve your landscaping and overall visual appeal.

While stock options are usually good enough for common uses, we highly doubt that you’re looking for something “good enough.” If you want the great, better or best option, we highly recommend that you look into custom pools.

Custom pools are often considered a much better investment than stock designs. This is primarily because they are better able to suit the homeowner’s particular needs by considering all the relevant factors, such as the amount of free space available, estimated number of regular users, and, of course, the homeowner’s design preference.

If you still aren’t convinced, here are a few more reasons to opt for a custom pool. Are you ready to dive into them? Good! Then let’s get started.

You get to take full control. It goes without saying that stock pools are limited to the manufacturer’s prefabricated shapes, sizes, and designs. Consequently, you may need to change your entire backyard to accommodate the pool.

In sharp contrast, custom pools let you take full control of your project. You’ll be able to choose whatever shape, size, and design you want for your backyard. Just imagine the possibilities. You can have your pool shaped as a dolphin, palm tree, guitar or whatnot. You could even install various water features like a slide, diving board, and waterfall.

You can overcome landscaping issues. Don’t let the terrain beat you into submission. By opting for a custom pool, you’ll be able to design a feature that can easily adapt to the particular terrain you live in. You can build on flat or sloped ground, take twists and turns, or fit the entire pool in a very tight area.

You’ll be able to supervise the process. Your ability to customize doesn’t stop with the pool itself. You’ll also be able to choose the contractor that you want to work with. Do note that your choice of contractor can make or break your project. So, it’s highly recommended that you choose carefully. Though you may need to consider several factors, the contractor’s level of skill and length of experience should be prioritized. Highly skilled contractors may cost a bit more, but you’ll definitely be able to get your money’s worth when they deliver top quality results.


Britton and Associates Named Best Of Dallas for Design

Britton and Associates of Dallas

Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,

Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

Dallas, January 15, 2016Britton and Associates in Dallas TX has won “Best Of Dallas for Design, on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The well-known Dallas landscape architect was chosen by the more than 35 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 35 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“I love that my clients allow us to showcase our ability to be creative.” Britt Johnson,
“Anyone building, remodeling or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We’re so pleased to recognize Britton and Associates, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”  

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit