Simply put, we are inspired by the natural beauty of our surroundings. We use locally quarried natural stone materials, native plants and design ideas derived from surrounding landscapes in our outdoor living spaces to ensure they are fitting and “of the place”. Of course, this regional inspiration is integrated with existing site features and architecture to create designed landscapes that are appropriate to the natural as well as the built environment.

A-When choosing a landscape architect or designer it is important to understand their experience, credentials, training and philosophy as well as their approach. The process of designing a landscape is different from many other skills due in part to the required multidisciplinary approach – a landscape architect or designer must be competent in art, engineering, horticulture, environmental psychology and other fields to be successful. At Formecology, LLC, our landscape architects and designers have additional training in ecology and have a deep background in natural resources, so we use the title of “ecological designer”. Because a landscape is such a personal space it is important to find a design professional who you feel you can trust and easily communicate with. Additionally, landscape installation is necessary to bring the design to life, so we recommend choosing a professional who can work closely with an expert installation team to bring your dream to reality.

A-Landscape architecture is a profession regulated and licensed by the state. A licensed landscape architect has met stringent educational standards, had on the job experience, participates in continuing education, and has proven the breadth and depth of their knowledge through a rigorous licensure exam. In contrast, there are no legal definitions for “landscape designer” in Wisconsin. Anyone can call themselves a landscape designer, regardless of education or experience. Rest assured that if you choose to work with Formecology, LLC, all of our landscape designers have a great deal of experience and training and work closely with a licensed landscape architect on all landscape design projects.

Because a design/build/ care firm has internal processes built to consistently coordinate each aspect of the project from start to finish, there is less likelihood of miscommunication, roles are well understood, and the client will not need to be involved in coordinating other various firms. Knowing that you only need one firm you feel comfortable with and can trust is an additional time savings as well.

Designs cost anywhere from several hundred dollars for a simple, small area, to several thousand dollars for more complex and complete landscape plans. At Formecology, LLC, place a high value on the importance of design as a precursor to any installation work because it is fundamental to the function and beauty of any outdoor living area. Our Conceptual Landscape Master Plan (CLMP) process includes all steps beginning with the data collection (site inventory/analysis) and complete with a landscape plan, client meeting and cost estimate. To ensure a project begins with sustainability at the fore we provide a client with a long-term vision for their site as well as a clear idea of the potential costs at the very beginning.


Landscape contractors run the gamut in their experience, credentials and level of service. This range is often evident in the quality of the landscape work available. We recommend working only with experienced landscape contractors like Formecology, LLC, who offer reasonable warranties and are bonded and insured. A good contractor should be able to provide you with current references and photos of recent and historic works. A close working relationship with a design professional will help ensure the all aspects of a project go smoothly for the landscape installation contractor. Consider Formecology, LLC for all your landscape design, build (installation) and care (maintenance) services!

Phasing an installation means a landscape project is divided into smaller parts or focus areas and constructed over a number of years. Because of a project’s size or a client’s budget we can install everything at once, but most often we build it one phase at a time.

A rule of thumb used by many landscape contractors is that a new landscape costs 10% or more of the price of the home and lot. This can vary greatly based on site topography, existing conditions, and constraints but is a good starting point for a flat, average sized home lot. To help work within budgetary constraints, Formecology, LLC often installs portions of a conceptual landscape master plan (CLMP) over the course of several years. We call this “project phasing”.

Care (Maintenance)

Depending on a clients aesthetic demands a sustainable outdoor living space can involve substantially less maintenance that a traditional landscape. By using elements like no-mow turf, landscapes can look great without any mowing throughout the year. The native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses we specify in our plantings, have evolved over thousands of years to thrive with little care. Our natural stone patios, walkways and other hardscape surfaces are also nearly care free.

To learn more about this exciting topic feel free to call us or see our Resources and Affiliations sections. We’re happy to share our knowledge with you.

Native landscaping is the use of exclusively native vegetation in a landscape setting. Sustainable Outdoor Living (SOL) involves the use of native plants, but is also broader in scope and includes so much more. The selection and placement of features constructed of local materials, sustainable landscape systems, and native vegetation are combined in many different ways to create a rewarding and sustainable landscape.

Landscape Elements / Sustainable Systems

Sustainable landscaping is the installation and care of landscapes that are environmentally beneficial rather than harmful to the environment. This is accomplished through use of local flora (native plants) and materials, reduced maintenance needs, appropriate management of site resources and stormwater, etc. Traditional landscaping is often environmentally damaging.

Certain aspects of environmentally friendly landscapes can cost more than their traditional counterparts, but most are comparable and sometimes less. For example, reusing materials like broken concrete for retaining wall construction can reduce material prices and environmental costs substantially. When maintenance costs are included in pricing calculations, well-built and sustainable landscapes are often very comparable with traditional landscapes. Of course, a great deal depends on site specifics.

Capturing stormwater from our rooftops and other hard surfaces and preventing it from causing damage downstream to our waterways is critical. Stormwater can pick up sediment, pollutants and nutrients from roads and landscapes and carry them quickly to our lakes and rivers, causing great environmental damage. This quick burst of water can also cause flooding because our waterways are not capable of handling such high water volumes. Any small contribution to managing (capturing) the stormwater on your particular site (i.e. through rain barrels and rain gardens, etc) is a great way to make a contribution.

Native plants are specifically adapted to the weather and geographic conditions of our area and therefore need less input of maintenance, water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Use of native plants also eliminates the chance of introducing highly aggressive invasive-exotic plants, which can damage natural areas and overtake home sites.

Use of local materials reduces the need for long distance transportation and the associated air pollution and costs. Locally quarried natural stone materials are never out of style and always look fitting to the site as well making them less likely to be replaced when landscape trends change.

Fortunately, sustainable landscaping can be incorporated with any aesthetic requirements for sites that are urban or rural, large or small. Careful selection and a more planned arrangement of refined native plants and materials can work well in formal design schemes. If a proper plant list of wildflowers and grasses are used, native trees, shrubs and perennials can provide much needed visual organization and legibility in these types of neighborhoods.