What's the Difference Between a Gardener and a Landscaper?

What's the Difference Between a Gardener and a Landscaper?

. 3 min read

Both gardeners and landscapers can beautify your garden, gardening and landscaping are closely related and of course, there will always be some cross-over, but at the same time there are important differences between the two professions.

Landscapers sometimes describe gardeners as 'plantsmen' because a gardener is focused on the health and well being of plants. Landscapers are typically involved in outdoor building work such as driveways, patios, walls and similar work known as 'hardscaping’.

An important difference between a landscaper and a gardener is the scope of work they are qualified to carry out. Landscapers normally need one or more specific trade licences. They might need a builder's licence to construct a gazebo or patio or they may need a paving or concreting licence to do ‘hardscaping’ work. Landscapers may also need to use heavy equipment. Having said this, some gardening partnerships or larger firms will have the skills and equipment to offer both gardening and landscaping services.

Should I Choose a Gardener or a Landscaper?

  • If you are looking to have your garden maintained or brought back to life through a horticultural sense, and focusing on plant life, then a gardener is the way to go.
  • If you want to have your garden completely designed or redesigned, or have a major new feature installed then a landscaping professional is what you need, or even a dedicated landscape designer for the design and a landscaper to do the construction.


  • Both will have the ability to put together plants and other features to create a desired garden.
  • Both landscapers and gardeners will have some knowledge about horticulture, such as lifespans of plants and which plants work better in some seasons compared to others.
  • A gardener will likely be happy to offer some 'softscaping’ such as fence repairs, applying decorative gravel and mulch.

What does a landscaper do?

Landscapers construct a garden for you, where there wasn’t a garden before. From the design of your project to the construction, they do everything for you. They put together plants, flowers and flora and combine it with landscaping constructions, such as pavements, decks, pergolas and water features like ponds and waterfalls. They design a complete garden all for you, based around your requirements and budget.

There are two landscaping types:

  1. A landscape designer / architect designs a landscape
  2. A landscaper or 'landscape builder' does the physical work of creating a landscape.

Landscape designers can also be landscape builders or can have landscaping teams that either work for them or that they have close working partnerships with. Many landscape designers supervise landscaping projects.

What does a gardener do?

Gardeners on the other hand, are more well versed in the plants and horticulture life, as opposed to landscaping design and installing features. They know all about plants, how they grow, what will make them last longer, what is the best position for them in the garden and so forth.

While a landscaper may also offer some garden maintenance, a good gardener will know what to prune, when to prune and how to prune. A gardener will also identify pests and diseases, apply feeds and herbicides, monitor the weather and adjust lawn mower cutting heights accordingly. A seasoned gardener will know which plants thrive locally, what are the fastest growing vegetables and where to buy good plants. A gardener is equipped for gardening whereas a landscaper is equipped for building.

Gardeners sometimes need trade licences, but in many parts of Australia, they do not. After a landscaper has constructed an outdoor area, a gardener will come in and maintain it. A gardener might mow lawns, prune plants, do your weeding or fertilise your soil. They will not, however, build a gazebo or large retaining wall. Nor will a gardener come in with a backhoe and sculpt your landscape.

Skills for Gardening businesses

Skills for Lаndѕсарing businesses

  • Prераrаtiоn оf рlаnѕ аnd drawings аnd ѕсhеduling lаndѕсаре соnѕtruсtiоn.
  • Prераrаtiоn оf ѕресifiсаtiоnѕ аnd quоtаtiоnѕ.
  • Arrаnging аrеаѕ fоr lаndѕсаре gаrdеning.
  • Anаlуѕiѕ оf the site аnd сlеаring dеbriѕ fоr lаndѕсаре gаrdеning.
  • Eѕtimаtiоn аnd оrdеring оf lаndѕсарing mаtеriаlѕ.
  • Sеlесting thе рlаntѕ аnd mаtеriаlѕ nееdеd tо сrеаtе lаndѕсареѕ.
  • Sеtting оut аnd inѕtаlling 'hаrdѕсаре' (е.g. briсk аnd ѕtоnе wаllѕ аnd раthѕ, timbеr fеаturеѕ) аnd 'ѕоft ѕсаре' (plantings) ѕtruсturеѕ.
  • Cоnѕtruсting аnd dесоrаting ѕtерѕ аnd gаrdеn wаllѕ. Lаndѕсаре gаrdеning аlѕо covers thе соnѕtruсtiоn оf fеnсеѕ, trеlliѕеѕ, реrgоlаѕ, роndѕ аnd fоuntаinѕ.
  • Cоnѕtruсtiоn аnd inѕtаllаtiоn оf еquiрmеnt likе fеrnеriеѕ аnd bаrbесuеѕ. Sоmе оf thе intеrеѕting thingѕ thаt уоu mау inѕtаll inсludе рlау ѕtruсturеѕ аnd gаrdеn furniturе.
  • Crеаting vаriоuѕ раthѕ, ѕtерѕ, аnd раvеd аrеаѕ. Thеу саn bе соnѕtruсtеd uѕing раving mаtеriаlѕ, grаvеl, аnd timbеr.


Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.

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