Some people I meet, when I’m out and about, seem to get gardeners and landscapers mixed up. Or to be more precise they can’t determine the difference between the two. I often get phone calls from people wanting me to maintain and weed there gardens on a regular basis. When I politely tell them that they need to call a gardener, they often reply “but isn’t that what you are?” The answer is YES and NO. Its a grey area, so let me clear up a few common misconceptions.
Landscaping is a 4 year apprenticeship, 4 days a week of on-the-job training and 1 day a week at Tafe. The landscaping tafe course encompasses garden design, construction and maintenance, with a specific focus on construction. Landscapers should really call themselves landscape builders, because that is exactly what they are. A landscaper will construct a garden for you, where there wasn’t a garden before. Starting at the beginning they will design your garden, construct it – build retaining walls, decks, pergolas, lay paving, lay turf, install irrigation, install lighting and lastly plant it out. Some landscaping companies (not all) offer the complete package and will maintain it for you as well, and this is where the lines between a gardener and landscaper are blurred.
Gardening is an apprenticeship also, and is usually undertaken by someone wanting to work in the plant nurseries or maintain parks and gardens. The Tafe course has a strong focus on plants, trees, turf, pruning habits of plants, soil types and the pests and diseases associated with plants. Gardeners tend to have a better understanding of plants, how they will grow, what position in the garden they prefer etc. than a landscaper, purely because a landscapers education is focused more on the building side of things. Thats not to say that there aren’t landscapers out there without excellent plant knowledge.
I hope this has made some clear distinction between what is a landscaper and what is a gardener? If you are looking for somebody to maintain your garden it really doesn’t matter if you choose a landscaper or a gardener as long as they have sound, practical plant knowledge.