Designing vs. Cultivating: Understanding the Differences between Landscaping and Gardening

Landscaping and gardening are both related to the care and design of outdoor spaces, but they are distinct activities with different goals and techniques.

Landscaping refers to the design and construction of outdoor spaces, including gardens, parks, and other types of green spaces. Landscapers are responsible for creating and maintaining these spaces, and often work with architects, engineers, and other professionals to create functional and visually appealing outdoor areas. Landscaping can include a wide range of activities, such as grading and leveling land, installing hardscaping elements like walkways and patios, planting trees and shrubs, and creating water features like fountains and ponds. If you are curious about becoming a landscaper, here is some helpful information to help you get started.

Gardening, on the other hand, is the cultivation and care of plants. Gardeners are responsible for planting, tending, and harvesting fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Gardeners may also be responsible for maintaining the overall health and appearance of the garden, including pruning, fertilizing, and pest control. Gardeners may work in a variety of settings, including private homes, public parks, and commercial greenhouses. Gardening can be done on a small scale, such as in a backyard, or on a large scale, such as in a botanical garden. Just like landscaping, you always have to start somewhere, here is a little bit of information regarding becoming a gardener.

The Skills and Knowledge Needed for Landscaping and Gardening

Landscaping and gardening are both rewarding and challenging careers that require a diverse set of skills and knowledge. For landscaping, a good understanding of horticulture, design, and construction is essential. Landscapers must be able to assess a client’s needs and preferences, and then create a plan that incorporates plants, hardscaping, and other features to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space. They also need to be able to install and maintain the various elements of the landscape. For gardening, a solid knowledge of plant care and identification is crucial. Gardeners must be able to identify and diagnose problems with plants, and then take the appropriate steps to address them. They must also be able to select the right plants for a given space and climate, and then care for them properly. Additionally, both landscapers and gardeners must have good physical stamina, as the work can be demanding and requires a lot of manual labor. Overall, landscaping and gardening are both rewarding careers that allow people to work outdoors and create beautiful, functional spaces for others to enjoy.

One key distinction is that landscaping often involves the creation of new outdoor spaces, while gardening focuses on maintaining and enhancing existing spaces. Landscapers may be involved in the initial planning and design of a new garden or park, determining the layout, selecting plants and hardscaping materials, and overseeing the construction process. Gardeners, on the other hand, are typically responsible for maintaining and caring for an existing garden or landscape, which includes tasks such as planting, pruning, fertilizing, and pest control.

Maintenance: The Divide between Landscaping and Gardening

Another important difference is that landscaping often involves the use of large-scale design elements, such as water features, rock gardens, and outdoor structures like gazebos and pergolas. These elements are intended to create visual interest and enhance the overall aesthetic of the outdoor space. Gardeners, on the other hand, are more focused on the care and cultivation of individual plants, rather than large-scale design elements.

Another key distinction is that landscaping often requires a greater level of technical skill and knowledge of construction techniques, while gardening relies more heavily on knowledge of plants, their growth habits and requirements. Landscapers need to have a good understanding of grading and drainage, how to safely operate heavy equipment, and how to use different materials to create hardscaping features like patios, walkways, and retaining walls. Gardeners need to have a good understanding of plant biology, the ability to identify different types of plants and their needs, and knowledge of the best practices for maintaining their health and appearance.

Lastly, a landscaper may work on a construction site, making sure the project is done according to the design plan and building codes, while a gardener would work on maintaining the garden, making sure the plants are healthy and in the right place.


In conclusion, while there are similarities between landscaping and gardening, they are distinct activities that require different skills, knowledge, and techniques. Landscaping is focused on the design and construction of outdoor spaces, while gardening is focused on the care and cultivation of plants. Both are important for creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces, but they require different approaches and expertise. As always, if you want to learn more about gardening, please check out our blogs on various topics.