It’s a question we’re often asked and as we’ve seen first-hand how choosing the wrong person for the job can cost a significant amount of stress and money to put things right afterwards, I thought it was about time someone gave a clear and simple answer. So here goes.
The world of outdoor aesthetics is a complicated one, not helped by the many areas of overlap between the professions that can be tasked with designing, building and maintaining your gardens and landscapes. However, there is a simple way for you to remember who does what (primarily).
A gardener can be an individual who mows lawns and tends to beds in residential gardens or a team of horticultural experts who plant and tend to the needs of the flora (aside from trees, which are maintained by tree surgeons or arboriculturists) for residential blocks and the gardens of public buildings and spaces.
A landscaper (or landscape contractor) installs gardens and any other green landscape projects (i.e. parks, public realm, streets, playgrounds, communal areas and roads). It’s important to work with a highly qualified landscaper with a deep understanding of landscape construction methods and materials as their skill and creativity are what translates a great landscape design into a stunning reality.
- Garden Designer
A garden designer specialises in designing gardens. This could be for a private, residential or public garden. While they are not required to be licensed or regulated they often have had specific training in garden design and horticultural best practices (i.e. knowledge of what to plant where and why and planting design).
They do not traditionally get involved in the installation of gardens though they can coordinate with landscapers to supervise their work. A skilled garden designer will have great attention to detail, excellent planting knowledge and will ultimately help make your dream garden a reality for you.
- Landscape Architect
A landscape architect is a qualified design expert in sizable outdoor projects, including gardens, residential landscapes, commercial outdoor spaces, parks, public realm, streets, playgrounds and communal areas – often coordinating with landscapers in the installation process. They prepare landscape and visual impact assessments and work with ecologists to create environmentally friendly private or public green spaces in the context of local ecosystems and biodiversity.
Landscape architects must have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture (BA) and must pass a chartered exam by the Landscape Institute (CMLA) to practice in Britain.
The line between these services is often blurred by the fact that any of the above may offer design as part of their service.
Some clients may even ask their builder, architect or interior designer to design their garden for them, assuming that it would be better to keep the whole job with one firm. However, it’s important to remember that a garden designer is a specialist in designing gardens (private and public) and a landscape architect is a specialist in outdoor space design – private and public gardens and public outdoor spaces.
So, if you want the best job for your money – one that not only follows best practices, but is best placed to translate your outdoor aspirations into beautiful reality – then always ask an expert.
If you still have any questions, or if you would like to discuss an outdoor space which requires the sort of vision that only a garden designer or landscape architect can give, then feel free to contact us on 020 7101 4699.