What are landscape gardeners?
Landscape gardeners specialise in the planning, construction and maintenance of outdoor spaces.
They can work in both the commercial and private sectors from small residential gardens to expansive public landscapes. However the type of knowledge, skills and projects landscape gardeners undertake varies hugely.
Some landscape gardeners specialise in plants and living landscapes such as lawns and planting. Others are more focused on external construction building hard surfaces and garden designs.
Most of the time landscape gardeners fall into three main categories.
Professional gardeners are generally more focused on maintaining and managing existing landscapes.
This type of work generally includes grass cutting, hedge trimming and weeding. The scope of education, knowledge and skills for professional gardeners varies greatly. Some may only cut grass while others are experts in horticulture and estate management.
Professional gardeners at the top level may run teams of other gardeners managing, golf courses, show gardens and stately homes.
Professional gardeners generally have a good knowledge of horticulture.
Soft landscapers specialise in the design and installation of soft landscaping.
Soft landscaping includes non hard landscaping elements such as planting and laying lawns. Most soft landscapers are employed by larger, commercial companies installing large scale landscapes.
New theme parks, shopping complexes and housing projects all require soft landscape installation.
Public parkland and open spaces will also typically have a soft landscaping division to upgrade and develop new spaces. Most landscape gardeners will be familiar with both gardening and soft landscaping practices.
Hard landscapers are experienced in external building and familiar with all types of construction.
Many hard landscapers will build new gardens building walls, fences, decks and surfaces. Many hard landscapers regularly work alongside garden designers working off plan.
This means most hard landscapers have a familiarity with technical drawings and landscape specifications. In smaller, residential, landscaping projects there is a higher chance projects will be more varied.
Therefore hard landscapers may need to know skills such as brickwork, rendering, paving and woodwork.
What is the difference between landscapers and gardeners?
Landscapers are more specialised at building and altering landscapes while gardeners generally work on maintaining, existing, gardens. However, most gardeners will be experienced at many landscaping tasks and vice versa. This is because landscape gardeners skills have to be as varied as the environments they work in.
Most landscape gardeners will carry out all the typical garden landscaping tasks. Some of these include; installing patios, decks, paths, lawns, edging, fencing, raised beds, ground works, planting and drainage. Most landscape gardeners will be experienced in all of these types of projects.
How to become a landscape gardener?
There are normally no specific entry barriers to becoming a landscape gardener. However entry level employment generally needs an eagerness to learn and a willingness to work hard.
The more gardening and construction knowledge you have will enhance the probability of finding employment. If you wish to become a skilled landscape builder it is best to learn an associated trade such as brickwork or carpentry.
However starting off as a landscaping labourer or being an apprentice for a company is a good start.
Why not visit our article on how to become a landscape gardener here.
Is landscape gardening a good career?
Landscaping is a great career if you have an interest in gardens and want an active lifestyle.
Landscape gardening was recently ranked as one of the happiest and healthiest professions. If you are more interested plants soft landscaping and horticultural roles are a good choice.
If you prefer the design and construction of landscapes perhaps becoming a hard landscaper is more for you!
There are many positives and negatives to any career and landscape gardening is no exception!
Why not visit our extensive article on ‘is landscaping a good career’ here.
Are landscape gardeners expensive?
Whether somebody thinks a service is expensive or not will depend on their experience on hiring contractors. The truth is landscaping involves the movement and skilled installation of durable and heavy materials.
Landscaping is indeed quite expensive however generally landscape gardeners are very underpaid for what they do. Landscape gardeners will normally have to acquire many skills, be fit, strong and very hard working.
Landscapers can run at a significant loss if they suffer injury or bad weather. Therefore to be even moderately economically viable they need to factor such risks into their pricing. Most western economies have underinvested in skilled trades for many decades.
This has led to a huge skills shortage where even finding a single trade can be challenging. Particularly hard landscapers will generally need to know at least two, highly skilled, trades.
This means depending on what type of work you need doing, do not expect landscaping to be cheap. Be very cautious of those who offer prices which seem to be too good to be true.
How much do landscape gardeners charge per hour in the UK?
In the UK there is some, regional, variations in labour rates. London and the Southeast of the country command rates which are generally higher.
However for soft landscapers expect to pay between £150 – 180 per day and for hard landscapers expect between £180 – 280 per day.
These rates will also vary upon individual reputation, local supply and demand fundamentals and economic conditions.
How much does landscaping a garden cost?
Obviously the specific answer to this question requires a monumental ‘it depends’! However for a rough idea we can say:
If you have an average sized garden and want a traditional layout of patio, lawn and flower bed you will need to allow about £10,000. So a garden around 100 square metres will cost about £100 a metre.
If require a full design and more complicated installations expect to pay more. Below we explain some of the type of work landscape gardeners undertake with some predicted costs for each.
What services do landscape gardeners provide?
It is very common for some properties to be built on a gradient. This normally means a sloping garden which is far less useable and easy to maintain.
Therefore landscape gardeners are regularly called upon to level gardens. This typically involves re-grading existing soil levels, brining in new topsoil and building retaining walls. Why not read our article on how much garden levelling costs here.
Retaining walls are regularly needed in sloping gardens for terraces and garden levelling. These are traditionally built from brick, concrete or timber. Landscape gardeners generally have good experience at installing such retaining features. Here we have included our article on how much garden retaining walls cost.
Most garden owners prefer defined edges to their various outdoor spaces. This is especially so between lawns and other features such as flowerbeds.
This not only looks good but can also aid during maintenance tasks such as mowing. Retaining edging may be needed if you need to raise your gardens soil level.
Most landscape gardeners are very experienced at installing many types of external edging. To know how much garden edging costs to install view our article here.
Landscape gardeners experienced in hard landscaping will be familiar with laying paving. Driveways, pathways and patios are often undertaken by landscapers.
If you want to know which paving is best for patios visit our resource article here.
Depending on what type of paving you choose expect to pay between £100 - £160 a square metre.
Decks are an attractive and quick way to create an outdoor living space. Most landscapers familiar with building gardens regularly undertake decking for clients.
There is normally a wide range of decking available from softwood to hardwood and also composite.
Depending on what type of decking material you wish to insall expect to pay anywhere between £60 - £120 a square metre.
Installing new lawns
Most landscape gardeners are proficient in installing new lawns. Very often new landscape installations such as patios and retaining features call for completely new levels.
This also, typically results in the need for a fresh, new, lawn. Visit our pricing article if you want to knowhow much a new lawn costs to install.
Artificial lawns are becoming an ever increasingly popular way to surface garden spaces. For many, the fast pace of working and family life makes mowing an extra chore.
Modern artificial lawn is extremely life like and durable. Many landscape gardeners now do offer an artificial lawn, installation service.
As some homeowners may have an increasing interest in gardening they may choose to add more borders. Creating new flower borders is a regular service provided by landscape gardeners.
Normally a landscaper will propose to dig out new borders deeply and mix in plenty of organic matter.
If you want to know how much it costs to install a new flower border visit our resource here.
Building raised beds
Building raised beds is an effective way to provide deep growing areas with added quality topsoil. Raised beds are very popular installations when creating vegetable gardens.
They are also very effective at creating enclosed spaces and for planting screening evergreen plants.
Landscape gardeners are typically the go to trades people to install raised garden beds. For information on how much do raised beds cost you can read our article here.
Building garden steps
Garden steps are an essential commodity when transcending uneven or sloping ground. Steps are generally built to provide small walking platforms between two levels.
These can be built up gentle gradients over a long distance or in a steeper more condensed fashion.
Garden steps can be tricky to build correctly if you have never attempted them before. We have put together a comprehensive guide on how to build garden steps here.
Landscape gardeners are no strangers to putting up garden fences. Very often fences and screens can topple over after a decade or two. Typically a new garden design or garden upgrade will require new fencing.
Prices of garden fences vary enormously but expect to pay around £70 a linear metre to supply and install with materials and labour.
That’s about £140 a panel.
Garden ponds are another service landscape gardeners traditionally provide. This includes wildlife ponds or more formal or modern water features.
Whatever landscape gardeners you choose make sure they have some experience in building the type of pond you want.
If you want to know how much the average pond costs we provided a case study here.
Even if a landscape gardener is not an expert on plants they will usually be experienced at planting.
Landscape gardeners frequently dig over new borders and prepare them for planting. Such services also usually include supplying soil improver and mulching.
If you need a detailed planting plan however you may need a garden designer.
The cost of the supply and planting of plants normally starts at around £40 a square metre.
Landscape gardeners are regularly called upon to undertake garden clearances. These are necessary when a garden has become completely overgrown.
This is often the case when a property has been vacant for a number of years. The cost of a garden clearance really will depend on the amount of clearing that needs to be done.
If there are large tree stumps and old trees you will also need a tree surgeon.
Do landscape gardeners know about plants?
It is not necessarily essential for landscape gardeners to know about plants. This is especially so if they are more specialised at landscape construction.
However the vast majority of landscape gardeners do have an interest and familiarity with plants. How much knowledge individuals have depends on the amount recreational gardening and research they undertake through interest.
Landscape gardeners specialised in maintaining very important places are more likely to have a substantial and specialised knowledge of horticulture.
How to choose a landscaper?
Landscapers and other trades people have been portrayed quite badly by the media over the years. Television programs like rogue traders have given people the wrong impression of your average white van man!
It is no wonder today we have a huge skills shortage with young people avoiding the construction industry like the plague. The truth is most trade’s people are excited by producing clean finishes and delivering great projects.
However it is true that there is a huge variation in landscape gardeners out there. As landscape gardeners require so many skills it is particularly difficult to find good all rounder’s.
I know no other trade which requires; Brickwork, rendering, surfacing, groundwork, tiling, fencing, woodwork, drainage, horticulture and in all weather conditions!
Being in the landscaping industry for 20 years I have a healthy respect for skilled landscape gardeners.
The best way to choose a landscaper is a good reputation and one who has great work examples. Normally if a landscape professional takes pride in their work they will have pictures.
Good landscape gardeners should have a readily available portfolio of work. This can be done via an online website or book format. The internet has provided a great way to research local landscapers.
Landscape gardeners who make use of online reviews systems such as Google maps allow you to view reviews from previous clients. Google maps is an effective way to find local landscape gardeners near you!
The review system in place provides potential clients previous customer reviews and ratings.
The better reviews people have the more likely they are to defend their good online reputation. Landscaping companies which put effort into their online presences and reputation will also produce good work.
An informative blog will also show you how knowledgeable they are and indicate a level of commitment to their profession.
Landscape gardeners near me
If you require a landscape gardener near you online search engines typically have a local map at the top of the page. These will show you all of the local landscapers near you!
Work your way through local landscape companies and choose a few who you like the look of. Research the name of their company and the person in charge.
Using online search it is now very easy to find good landscape gardeners with a great reputation.
Here at Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners we aim to deliver quality landscaping and informative landscaping articles.
We provide all the typical landscaping services including; paving, decking, fencing, planting, lawns, design, garden drainage, and garden makeovers.
We traditionally service a 10 mile radius including:
Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Berkhamsted, Chesham, Chalfonts, Denham, Gerrards Cross, Great Missenden, High Wycombe, Princes Risborough, Tring, and Wendover,
To enquire further on our landscape gardening services please contact us via email here.
Some of our landscape gardening work examples
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Paul Nicolaides has over 30 years of recreational gardening and 20 years of professional landscaping experience. He has worked for landscape contractors including design and build practices across London and the South East. In 2006 he qualified with a BA Hons degree and post graduate diploma in Landscape Architecture. In 2009 he founded Ecospaces an ecological landscaping practice which aims to improve social cohesion and reduce climate change through landscaping. In 2016 he founded Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners which designs and builds gardens across Buckinghamshire and the South East. This blog aims to provide easy problem solving information to its audience and encourage others to take up the joy of landscaping and gardening.