Using a focus group approach, Midwest homeowners in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, with recent experience and exposure to landscape design services were interviewed to assess their perceptions of the quality of available design services. In general, participants were pleased with their design experience and the quality of service provided to them. Poor communication between participants and landscape designers or landscape architects was commonly voiced as a key service limitation. Lack of homeowner knowledge of the design process was also identified as a limitation to good design, but to a lesser extent. Additionally, participants identified a variety of correlations between their landscapes and the potential for enhanced quality-of-life (QOL). Although not typically perceived as a critical singular QOL enhancement factor such as availability of food or medical care, quality landscape design appears to cumulatively enhance QOL in a significant way due to the wide variety of human needs that well-designed outdoor spaces can address.

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Author notes

This research was funded in part by a grant from The Horticultural Research Institute, 1250 I St., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Gifts given as participant incentives were donated by the Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association and Campbell's Nurseries, Lincoln, NE. Published as Journal Series No. 12282, Nebraska Agricultural Research Division.

2Assistant Professor and Professor, respectively.