A gardener versus a landscaper

Posted by on November 1, 2012

Gardening with Confidence

When talking with clients about a project, I often make it clear that I’m a gardener, not a landscaper. But then they always want to know the difference. I usually quip, A landscaper works in a landscape; a gardener works in a garden. That quip requires some followup to define the difference between a landscape and a garden.

I think of a landscape as a perfectly placed design; one that remains stagnate most of the year.  A garden is ever-changing. While both can be of good design, a garden is like a playground, a place where there is action and interaction most days. A landscape is like an underused formal living room–nice to look at, but little spent in there.

You know you garden if….

You’re done for today, but tomorrow starts a new gardening day.

Bed beds are made for sleeping, garden beds are made for reaping.

There are chairs in your garden, but you never sit in them.

You top-dress you beds with composted leaf mulch–a mulch to add nutrients to the garden beds, not something to make it look pretty.

Your vacations are centered around gardening with other like-minded gardeners. 

When you are out of town, you miss your garden.

When you are out of town, you call home to see if it rained.

It’s nothing to hold a plant in your lap on a 6 hour ride home.

You name each garden bed like you would your children.

When you wake up in the morning to can’t wait to see if something new is blooming.

You want to be the first on your block with a new hybrid…and it’s not a car.

You start you day reading about other people’s gardens.

You learn the difference between good bugs and bad bugs.

A mow, blow, go business has no business in your garden.

You come home with a plant (or three) with no idea where you’re going to plant it, but you always find a home for it.

You marvel at the details of color and happy accidents.

You know the back roads to every garden center in a 50 mile radius.

You are on a list serve to receive a message that a particular nursery just stocked up.

You plan plant buying outings with friends. (Each has a guarded list, lest you get to her plant first.)

You are a member of at least 3 garden clubs.



Helen  Yoest is an award winning writer and speaker through her business Gardening with Confidence ®.

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10 Responses to “A gardener versus a landscaper”

  1. I had to giggle at some of these since they are so apropos for today. We’re planning a birthday vacation for this weekend and headed to 2 botanical gardens. We had to compromise with the kids and go to a zoo as well. Thanks for a great post today!

  2. HelenYoest says:

    I hear that, Modern Mia! I really lucked out this summer when I took my kids to Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden. It made everyone happy! lol

  3. Shirley says:

    Check, check, check….except the garden clubs. I’ve been considering it though, there’s one in my neighborhood and they seem like serious gardeners.

  4. Janice says:

    I agree with that, I never get to sit in my chairs. My husband over sees the front flower bed and lets me know when he thinks it needs manicuring…lol I stay too busy in the backyard tending to the edible garden and the flowers that attract the bees!

  5. sherryocala says:

    Wow! Thanks for the definition. I was always afraid I was being pretentious to call my yard a garden. Thanks for helping me to see the light and be confident.

  6. So funny you should mention this… Was thinking along the same lines recently in a new blog that needs tending as much as the garden!

  7. Veronika says:

    Discovering my style would be great. I love plants with color and scent.

  8. Joni Holland says:

    And there are some of us that are both! How about a follow up article….can you be a landscaper…and not be a gardener? Loved this article!

  9. It saddens me to read such a shortsighted theory on being a gardener vs a landscaper and the roles that gardens and landscapes play in the lifes of people.
    I’m perplexed by the limit of thinking.

  10. HelenYoest says:

    Michelle, I garden for enjoyment and renewal. My garden is my muse for both my mind and my soul. My writing tends to be tongue-in-cheek, and in order to do that, limited thinking is not helpful nor allowed. H.

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