What is a Garden Designer?

What’s the Difference between a Garden Designer and other Garden Services

Firstly, before we get started – let’s work out what a garden designer actually is and what we actually do…

Do we cut lawns, prune roses, and advise on which mushroom is sprouting in your lawn? Absolutely not! A garden designer’s role is distinct and specialised. If you’re seeking services like lawn care, horticulture expertise, or general garden maintenance, you’ll want to look up professionals under those specific categories.

Likewise, if a gardener or maintenance contractor claims to offer garden design services, they might dabble in design, but it’s typically limited, often revolving around their knowledge, preferences, and profit-generating activities, mainly plant-related.

Garden Designers Vs Garden Landscapers?

A landscaper might showcase what they call “designs,” but these are often centred on hard landscaping, an area in which they excel.

To simplify it: a garden or landscape designer provides a service akin to an architect’s role in the construction industry. Just as a house can’t be effectively built without accurate and detailed plans, specifications, and creative design, a garden needs the same level of thoughtful planning and design. 

Builders, in this analogy, have the skills and know-how to execute the construction, but they rely on those detailed blueprints to ensure the end result aligns with the client’s vision.

The Versatility of a Garden Designer:

I’ve always believed that an experienced carpenter can make the best site foreman or project manager. Why? Because they’re actively involved at every stage of a build—from framing, stud work, and finally, the intricate second-fix finishes and furniture.

 They’re the ones fitting kitchens, stairs, cabinetry, and other detailed elements with precision and attention to detail.

A garden designer shares similarities with this versatile carpenter—they are a jack of all trades and a master of many. The skill set required to be an effective garden designer is broad, encompassing a wide range of disciplines, as shown by the Oxford college of Garden Designs’ Curriculum Garden Design Course.

This includes surveying, drafting, graphic design, 3D modelling, animation, artistic skills, computer proficiency, CAD expertise, project management, negotiation, horticulture, sales, photography, engineering, mathematics, architecture, and of course, design itself.

Distinguishing Garden Design from Landscape Design and Landscape Architecture:

Now, let’s clarify the distinctions between a garden designer, a landscape designer, and a landscape architect.

To start, let’s consider what a “garden” actually is. While the term is widely understood, there’s more to it than meets the eye:

  • A garden is commonly described as a piece of ground adjoining a house where plants, grass, and shrubs may be cultivated.
  • It can also refer to a space, often adorned with ornamental features, trees, and plants, used for public recreation, such as a botanical garden.

The Real Definition of a Garden:

A garden essentially implies boundaries and the act of cultivation by humans. Without human intervention, a garden naturally reverts to a landscape.

So, what does a garden designer do? They design gardens, a seemingly straightforward task. However, garden designers often branch into other related areas due to the overlapping nature of these disciplines.

Landscape Architecture:

This is a comprehensive profession that covers various areas of expertise, including landscape planning, environmental impact analysis, landscape character analysis, and master planning. Landscape architects typically cater to a commercial clientele and work on larger-scale projects.

Landscape Design: 

Landscape design is a subset of landscape architecture, focusing on design elements. Garden design is often considered a branch of landscape design, and the two are closely related but differ in some aspects:

  • Scale: Landscape design often encompasses larger projects, but it can also include small-scale designs.
  • Context: Gardens are typically associated with a building or house, whereas landscapes can exist independently.
  • Boundaries: Gardens usually have defined boundaries, while landscapes may not.

In Conclusion:

In essence, a garden designer specialises in creating outdoor spaces, and while gardens are their primary focus, their skill set often extends to landscape design. Garden design, however, involves a meticulous and detailed approach to creating outdoor spaces that align with a client’s vision, similar to how an architect crafts detailed blueprints for a building.

Here at ASD, we take pride in being a combination of all these aspects – garden design, landscape design, and landscape architecture. Our diverse team brings together a wealth of qualifications, past experiences, and expertise to create exceptional outdoor spaces, from small city gardens to sprawling country estates, check out our portfolio here. We don’t limit ourselves to one label; instead, we focus on delivering exceptional landscape design that transforms outdoor areas into stunning, functional, and harmonious environments. To find out more about how we as garden designers can help you transform your garden into something special, book a free discovery call at Andy Stedman Design Call Page.

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