There is Gardening and then there is Landscaping they both involve planting and the use of outdoor elements I guess the question would be is it gardening or landscaping? Many people use the word interchangeably but I believe that there are some very distinct differences between . Lets take a look at both and maybe you will then be able to decide.
Gardening Or Landscaping
I guess in the grand scheme of things this may not seem that important but to me it does make a big difference. I guess having been a groundskeeper for over 40 years I realize that while I have done both throughout my career that a groundskeeper is more closely related to a gardener that a landscaper is related to a gardener.
Gardening to me is not just the act of designing and installing gardens it is more like stewardship. A gardener is some one who tends to the plantings
nurturing them and watching over them. A gardener is not only concerned about appearance but the underlying things such as soil fertility and how to improve it to optimize the growing conditions and the environment for the plants they are growing.
There are many levels of gardening starting with the beginner and progressing all the way up to the Master Gardener the biggest difference between the two is time. A beginner will buy some plants or seed dig a hole and plant them, water them a bit and then wait and hope for the best with luck the beginner will have some success and they will be on their way to becoming a gardener. On the other side of the coin if the plants don’t survive or the seeds don’t grow and the beginner gets frustrated and there hopes of becoming a gardener withers and dies like the ill fated plants and seeds.
Once bitten by the gardening bug a beginner will start to research and experiment trying different techniques and formulas all the while gaining experience and knowledge. As with any interest or hobby the more time spent engaged the more expertise will be gained. This of course will not happen overnight but as the years pass the gardener will have gained the expertise to diagnose and solve problems without having to think about it because the vast amount of knowledge they have gained. This is how Master Gardeners become Master Gardeners.
When it comes to gardening or landscaping many gardeners can do landscaping but many landscapers can’t garden. Landscaping is more about layout and design then it is about caring and nurturing. When a landscaping project is completed the landscaper is on their way to the next project. The landscaper may come back and replace some plants that died but in general the involvement in the day to day care is left to the gardener.
Landscaping relies heavily on function and design more so than upkeep or care. There is a good deal of knowledge required to be a good landscaper aside from plant culture and care. A landscaper deals with site drainage, elevation, and end use of the area. Much of this work entails knowledge of construction materials and practices. Formal training is required to be sure that work meets local and state codes and safety requirements.
A gardener who does landscaping will generally draw up a design and work off that to achieve their goals. A landscaper usually will work from a set of plans which outline required specification for materials to be met, as well as exact placement of those materials. In order for the landscaper to successfully complete the project they must be sure the finished project meets all the criteria set out in the plans. So the landscaper must be sure that plants meet the size, shape, and variety when choosing them, and if the plants are not available they can not substitute with out a written change order or they risk not getting paid.
So I guess the way to sum up if it is gardening or landscaping is that while both deal with plants and plantings there are many differences in the process and the goals.