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The best designs are an incorporation of your ideas with input from an experienced designer.
What the professional brings to the design process is training and experience. Ultimately, the professional will help with design flow, the development of conversational areas and a balance of hardscape and soft scape elements that will make the space inviting to you and your friends.
The process of design should involve input from you and a design by the experienced professional. Typically the professional will get the majority of the design right in their first iteration, but it is not uncommon for the process to involve several attempts to create the final plan.
The professional then needs to provide the irrigation layout, the lighting layout, the drainage system, plumbing, electrical, water features, hardscape, etc.
Landscape projects are not an insignificant investment for most people. The best way to minimize cost and get the best value is to have a comprehensive plan before any construction begins. This will help you eliminate the opportunity for change orders. A well thought out plan will allow you to generate change orders for enhancements that you want to incorporate and prevent demolition of newly constructed elements to install something that was missed on the plan.