The difference between a garden designer and a landscaper

Garden designed with new bricks expertly blended with old to give a consistent look to the terrace walls by landscapers Sussex Kent and Surrey

February 20, 2019

The difference between a garden designer and landscaper

If you’re looking to rework your garden into a masterpiece, it can be difficult to know where to start. Knowing the difference between the garden designers and the landscapers and checking they have the right qualifications can help so that you know who to call on to roll your plans into action.   

The role of a landscaper 

Although both landscapers and garden designers operate in the same field, they both have different key jobs which define their role when it comes to creating a beautiful new garden. To be a good landscaper you need to master the skills and trades of building gardens, these include: 

  • Drainage 
  • Paving 
  • Brickwork 
  • Carpentry
  • Electrics
  • Plumbing
  • Horticulture 

The role of a garden designer 

To be a good garden designer, you need to visualise space – both as it is and as it should be. To be able to do this, there are certain things that garden designers aspire to master: 

  • Understanding the principles of design, not just in two dimensions, but in three. 
  • Having a firm understanding of materials. This includes both traditional uses and potential new, creative uses. 
  • Excellence at really getting inside the head of the customer to discover what they truly want. 
  • Tapping into the potential of a site to achieve a creative step, something new which is tailored to that specific client and their garden. 

These skills, however, are not mutually exclusive, as Eugene Hill, founder of Dewlands Garden Design knows full well: “I value my hands-on experience as much as my design expertise when it comes to coming up with creative new garden ideas. If you are looking for someone to do a great job of creating a simple garden, and you have a set idea of what you want, then the landscaper is your first port of call and they should know when they need to pull in a designer. If you are looking to create something a bit special or have a difficult garden that needs some thinking through to make it work, and perhaps you’ve tried yourself but need some new ideas, then a garden designer is your first port of call. So, as a builder builds a house and an architect designs it and supports it through to completion, a landscaper will build a garden and the garden designer will design it and support it through to completion. If you are lucky, you’ll find someone who can do both, or at least works very well with their counterparts to deliver excellence.”  

Marks of excellence 

Typically, good landscapers will be members of the British Association Of Landscape Industries (BALI) or Association of Professional Landscapers (APL). A good garden designer will be professionally qualified with a degree in Landscape Architecture or a Post Graduate Diploma and will be registered with the Society of Garden Designers. Our founder, Eugene, has a distinction in his Postgraduate Diploma in Garden Design from the Oxford School of Garden Design and is pre-registered with the Society of Garden Designers and is working towards full accreditation. But, as with most things, getting good at what you do comes down to the number and variety of projects you’ve experienced; check out a garden designer or landscapers’ portfolio before using them and beware of those in either profession who perhaps have a passion but have had little practice; they may get there but equally they may not.

To discuss how our garden designs could add value to your house

call 01892 577371 

or send us an email using our online form. 

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:  

Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill  

Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex  

Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.   

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.


We use cookies, just to track visits to our website, we store no personal details. ACCEPT COOKIES What are cookies?