When done right, a landscape design & build project will be a true reflection of who you are and what you love most about your property—giving you the most possible enjoyment from your outdoor space. It’s a personal piece of art that you can live in. It should also meet your needs and connect your home’s architecture to the site.  That’s why every project is unique…..because you, your home, and your property are unique. Whether you already have a vision of exactly what you want, or just some ideas, the finished landscape construction project should be a fully customized space that could be nobody else’s but your own.


Creative & Innovative Landscape Design Solutions

Unfortunately, many companies offering landscape design & build services in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT take a cookie-cutter approach, leaving you with a project that may look a lot like everyone else’s.

When you’re investing in an outdoor living project, you want to know that the space will be fully tailored to your wants and needs—not only aesthetically but functionally, as well. The last thing that you want is to invest in a project that is uncomfortable, doesn’t function well or reflects who you are.

overhead view of plantings in landscape design

Finding a Trusted Partner in Landscape Design

To ensure that you end up with a finished project that you love, you must partner with a trusted landscape professional. For design & build services, this means finding a company that listens and works closely with you from the very first day.

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we begin the design & build process with a complimentary consultation that helps lay the groundwork for a great working relationship. We’ll create a custom design program that defines the elements of your design. Once we have a program that you agree to, we will begin work on conceptual drawings.

landscape design and build

Ultimately, we’ll create a Master Plan that takes into account every detail of your project—and how to bring it all to life. 

At the end of the day, what that means for you is seeing the project that you’ve been envisioning come to life—perhaps even better than you thought it could be. Instead of being frustrated by details that didn’t come together as you wished, you can waste no time in getting outside and enjoying your space to the fullest.

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The Ultimate Landscape Design Planning Guide

Getting started with a landscape design and build project is an exciting endeavor. You’ll be transforming your Southwest Montana property in a way that will make it not only more aesthetically appealing but also more functional. That means you’ll soon be spending even more time outside. An outdoor living space with amenities like a patio, outdoor fire features, and more can really give you that dream spot to spend time.

Even if you have some landscape design ideas in mind, the process can feel daunting. You’re making decisions that you’ll live with for years to come and you want to feel confident that you’re choosing wisely. This is where the design phase is truly so important. Your choices now are what will ultimately take your dreams and make them a reality.

To help you get started, we’ve created this landscape design guide that will walk you through some of the most common ideas and considerations to keep in mind. We understand that you may have never gone through a project like this before and we want you to feel prepared. It is our hope that by offering this information, your process will go smoothly. Soon, you’ll be on your way to a space that you’ll love, right outside your home.

The Landscape Design & Build Process

At Blanchford Landscape Group, our landscape design and build process has three tenets, the final of which takes the finished project and seamlessly transitions it into the upkeep phase. These are:

  • Design
  • Build
  • Sustain

Let’s look at a brief overview of each so that you can know what to anticipate.


During the landscape design process, we are connecting with clients to determine their needs and their outdoors. We’re then meeting to discuss solutions, your specific property, and your landscape budget. For any project that we’re designing, we are aiming to respond to three primary elements.

  1. The lifestyle needs of the client.
  2. The architecture of the home.
  3. The immediate environment of the site.

We believe that when all three of these factors are weighted equally, we are able to create an authentic outdoor living experience.

patio design in Bozeman, MT

Once we’ve created that landscape design, we’ll go through a review process. We’ll develop and go over a detailed plan and the final pricing of your project.


Once the landscape design is approved, it’s time for your dream to begin to physically take shape. You’ll have a chance to meet the expert team who will be building your project. It will be exciting to watch as our creative experts transform your property. When the build is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to review your finished project for complete satisfaction.


The final element of what comes full-circle as a complete process is moving into the landscape maintenance phase. After all, a landscape is a living and evolving thing. Therefore, in order to truly continue to get the most out of your new outdoor living space, you want someone to help sustain it as well.

landscapers working in Bozeman, MT

At Blanchford Landscape Group, we have an entire Garden Services division dedicated to the services that your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT landscape will need to continue to look and perform optimally. With these tasks out of your hands, you’ll be able to fully unwind and enjoy your outdoor living areas as you’ve always wanted to.

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Patio Design & Hardscaping Options

There’s no question that the patio design is likely at the heart of your outdoor living area. A patio is the foundation of most outdoor living spaces. This will be the place where you set up an entertaining area, enjoy outdoor dining, and ultimately make the outdoors an extension of your home. The key benefit of a patio is that it makes your outdoor space more functional.

Making Important Patio Design Decisions

Given the importance of your patio, you want to feel confident that you are making wise choices during the patio design process. It will help to ask yourself the following patio questions to get a better sense of what you truly want.

  • What is the purpose of this space?
  • What inspired me/us to add a patio in the first place?
  • Will I/we entertain on the patio? How many people will use the space?
  • What outdoor amenities would help me use a patio even more?
Spending some time envisioning how you plan to use the space will go a long way in helping you make decisions that will allow you to maximize time on the patio.

Choosing Patio Materials

Among the decisions that you’ll be faced with for your patio design is the type of material used to build it. You’ll likely be comparing natural stone versus pavers. There are various pros/cons to weigh which you can read about in more depth in the linked article.

patio with fire pit

At Blanchford Landscape Group, our preference is generally toward natural stone because of the aesthetic difference. When you’re talking about blending a landscaped space with nature, natural stone fits in beautifully. However, we understand that there are reasons it may not always be the appropriate choice for a project. Whether it be budget-related or even style-related, we do also build paver patios for clients who would prefer this choice.

Some homeowners even ask us about concrete patios. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to patios and you must weigh the options.

Adding Patio Features

Finally, as you think about your patio design, you might also be considering the various amenities that can enhance that space. The idea is to want to use your patio as much as possible and the amenities and features that you add will play a big role in that.

Some of the features that will enhance your patio include:

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Adding Outdoor Fire Features to Your Landscape

Outdoor fire features are another appealing addition to consider in your new outdoor living space. As humans, we are intrinsically drawn to the light and the heat that fires produce, which is why they are such a welcome addition to many projects. They help create a special sense of ambiance.

patio with fire feature

As with any outdoor landscaping decision, the key is to narrow down what outdoor fire features might make the most sense for you. Some of the choices include an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, fire bowl, or fire table. This is a highly personalized decision and the choice that’s right for you might be incredibly different from another Montana homeowner. But generally speaking, we tend to do a lot more outdoor fire pits than fireplaces.

One of the main reasons is that an outdoor fireplace can potentially be obstructive to the view. Due to their height and size, an outdoor fireplace can also attract all of the attention when what you really want to showcase is likely your view. But there are some projects where an outdoor fireplace makes sense or where that’s what the homeowner prefers and that certainly works, too.

Another decision that you’ll have to make with your fire feature is wood-burning versus gas. There are pros and cons to each and you’ll have to determine which makes the most sense for you and your Southwest Montana landscape.

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Incorporating a Landscape Lighting Design

Landscape lighting is another important consideration in your landscape design and build project. When it comes to getting the most out of your new outdoor area, landscape lighting is critical. The right lighting will give you the opportunity to enjoy your space after the sun goes down. It also adds visual appeal, safety, and security.

landscape lighting on steps

While you can read much more about landscape lighting design considerations in the article linked above, we’ll sum up a few key points as you think about this important element.

Less is More

One of the most important things to remember with landscape lighting is that “less is more.” You want to be able to safely navigate your space in the evening hours but you should do everything you can to avoid excessive light pollution with too many lights. One of the most special things about having a home or vacation home in Southwest Montana is the gorgeous night sky. Excessive lighting can take away from the natural beauty of the stars.

Utilize Downlighting

One way that we can achieve the “less is more” objective is with a lot of “downlighting.” This type of landscape lighting simulates the light of the moon by having the lights shine down on your space from up above (such as in trees). It’s a lot more subtle than spotlights! But this kind of lighting takes an eye for design.

Choose LED for Your Landscape Lighting Design

Outdoor lighting technology has come an incredibly long way. At Blanchford Landscape Group, we have moved to exclusively offer LED lights, which are far superior to older technology. LED bulbs last longer, are more durable, and are more energy-efficient.

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Choosing Landscaping Plants

The plants that you choose for your landscape design are also a major consideration as they’ll not only enhance the beauty of the space but can also serve functional value. Certain plant selections might be made to increase privacy or to deter wildlife, just as examples.

plantings around walkway

While you might assume that any professional landscaper in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT would have extensive knowledge or plant choices available, this is not actually the case. In reality, some landscapers have more advanced horticultural knowledge than others. It’s so important that you’re choosing landscaping plants with wise guidance. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Choosing Native Plants

Native plants can be a smart choice for your landscape as they are already naturally adapted to the local conditions and therefore more likely to be drought-tolerant and hardy. These are important considerations in a low-maintenance landscape that won’t need a tremendous amount of upkeep to continue to perform well.

Here are just a few of the native plant choices that we like to use in our landscape designs.

  • Prairie Coneflowers
  • Blanket Flowers
  • Common Chokecherries
  • Prairie Sagewort
  • Bitterroot (the Montana State Flower!)

These are just a few examples and there are many different choices that could be a great fit for your Southwest Montana landscape.

Choosing Deer-Resistant Plants

Considering the abundance of deer and other wildlife here in Bozeman and Big Sky, MT, deer resistance should also be considered when choosing landscaping plants. While you may love watching the wildlife, you don’t want it to decimate your precious plant material. Here are some flowers that can help resist the deer from consuming them.

  • Echinacea
  • Dianthus
  • Elderberry
  • Sumac
  • Spirea

In general, wildlife control solutions should be part of your landscape design process. It’s not just wildlife eating your plants that can be a problem. When animals like deer rub their antlers on your trees, they can strip away the bark and cause damage. At Blanchford Landscape Group, we are constantly brainstorming wildlife control solutions that allow our clients to continue to have beautiful landscapes while also enjoying the local wildlife.

Considering Container Gardens

Finally, it’s important to mention that landscape plants can be incorporated in other interesting ways on your property, besides just plant beds, including container gardens. This might include various seasonal arrangements that are switched out at different times of the year.

Container gardens

We have also had a number of clients interested in edible landscaping grown in garden boxes. This could be herb containers or other arrangements that service both an aesthetic and functional purpose.

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Landscape Design & Build Pricing

If you are planning a landscape design and build project, you might also be wondering how much does landscaping cost?

There are a lot of different factors that can impact the cost. As with anything in life, it’s important to remember that you generally “get what you pay for.” In other words, if one landscaping company charges significantly less than another for what is supposed to be the same scope of work, you have to ask yourself why?

Here are a few major factors that impact landscape design and build pricing.

  • Labor Experience: Labor is one of the most significant factors in landscaping cost. You are paying for people’s time and experience. But the reason labor at one company might be more costly than another is the level of experience of the team. A landscape company can afford to charge less if they pay their people less. That could mean that they hire less-experienced workers. Unfortunately, this does a disservice to homeowners.

  • Materials: It’s important to recognize that not all landscaping materials are going to be created equally. Some are simply superior to others. If a landscape design and build bid is significantly lower, they could be using subpar materials.

  • Equipment: Similar to landscaping materials, you should also expect that the equipment utilized may differ from company to company. But investing in top-notch equipment can have a direct impact on your results. The last thing that you want is to hire a landscaper with outdated equipment who does a poor job.

These are just some of the many factors that can contribute to the cost of a landscape project. Even the support staff available should be a consideration. Can you get someone on the phone if you have to call your landscaping company and ask a question? If you’ve hired a really small company where the owner handles everything him or herself, and there’s no support staff, that might not be the case. While that may not sound like a big deal now, it can be frustrating later.

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Hiring a Landscape Design & Build Company

Now that you know a little bit more about what to expect with the landscape design and build process, you are likely thinking about how to choose a landscaping company in Bozeman or Big Sky, MT. Take your time to research the companies that you might be considering. With access to information online, you can easily start researching your options by looking at their websites and getting a better sense about the company and its services.

Landscape design and build team

We understand that research like this takes time but with a project as big and important as your new outdoor living space, it’s worth investing the effort. By putting in this research on the front end, you’ll feel confident that you’re ending up with the best landscape company for the work you’re having done. This is critical as it will be directly linked to your satisfaction with the finished product.

landscape with patios and walkways

Whether it’s a simple backyard patio or an extensive one with all of the amenities, you want to be able to feel confident that you are receiving the expertise needed to bring your dreams to life. While there’s no question this is a big decision, we don’t want you to stress. We’re here to guide you in any way that we can, including answering your questions. At the end of the day, by making a wise choice, we want you to feel confident that you’re putting the work in the most capable hands.

Are you ready to get the process of bringing your outdoor dreams at your Bozeman or Big Sky, MT home to life? Let’s connect and talk about your landscape project. Then, we can meet and begin talking about your ideas. We can’t wait for you to enjoy a beautiful outdoor living space.

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