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Gardener vs landscaper: What are their key differences?

Comparing gardeners and landscapers based on project scope, service cost, and more

Hire a gardener or landscaper

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Key Facts

  • A gardener is responsible for growing and maintaining your garden to make it thrive. Their tasks include pruning, watering, weeding, fertilising, and pest control. 
  • A landscaper is an expert in both designing and building outdoor spaces. They integrate various elements, such as greenery, patios, pathways, retaining walls, water features, and lighting, to create aesthetically pleasing and livable outdoor spaces.

Differentiating landscaping and gardening services can be confusing. Professionals in these fields are often mistaken for one another since both jobs cross over so much. If you have some work on your yard or garden that needs to get done, you could always hire a pro. But if you’re not sure which to hire between a gardener vs landscaper, here’s what you need to know.

In layman’s terms, a gardener focuses on nurturing plants and performing maintenance tasks. In contrast, a landscaper takes a broader approach by designing and planning entire outdoor environments and taking on smaller or bigger landscaping projects. Understanding the key differences between a landscaper vs gardener is essential for anyone looking to transform their outdoor space into a captivating and well-balanced haven.

What is a gardener?

a gardener growing potted plants

What do gardeners do? Gardeners specialise in cultivating plants within a garden or a specific outdoor area. They’re responsible for plant care and maintenance, including seeding, watering, fertilising, pruning, weeding, and pest control. Their expertise extends to understanding different plant species and how to make them thrive locally.

A seasoned gardener may work in private gardens, public parks, botanical gardens, or commercial landscapes, and their skills contribute to the overall garden designs, aesthetics, and health of the greenery within these spaces. They often have a deep passion for nature, dedicating themselves to creating and preserving beautiful, thriving gardens.

What is a landscaper?

a landscaper laying sodWhat do landscapers do? Landscapers specialises in the design, planning, and execution of outdoor spaces, aiming to create visually appealing, functional, and harmonious environments. They often collaborate with clients to understand the intended use of the space and create customised designs that enhance the area’s beauty and functionality.

You might be wondering, ‘What does landscaping include?’ Well, landscaping work is on a larger scale than gardening, as its focus goes beyond individual plants to encompass the entire outdoor area. A good landscaper can transform outdoor spaces into well-designed, usable, and aesthetically pleasing settings. They integrate various elements, such as hardscapes (pathways, walls, and patios), water features, decorative gravel, and lighting, and even install irrigation systems. Landscape architects and designers also do outdoor building work and maintenance.

Gardener vs landscaper: Which is better for your needs?

It’s pretty common for people to confuse gardening vs landscaping since both jobs cross over so often that we often forget how they differ. Both gardeners and landscapers have some knowledge of plants and soil and are able to work in a garden, plant flowers, and identify pests. Whether you should choose a gardener or a landscaper depends on your specific needs or goals for your outdoor space. 

Both professionals offer valuable services, but their expertise and focus differ. In many cases, hiring a gardener plus a landscaper might be beneficial. For instance, you could start by consulting a landscaper to design and install the layout and features of your outdoor space. Once the design is in place, a gardener can be enlisted to ensure the ongoing health and beauty of the plants within that design.

In terms of project scope

The choice between a gardener vs a landscaper should align with the scale or complexity of your outdoor project.


  • Small-scale projects - Gardeners can complete tasks that involve maintaining or enhancing the health and appearance of existing plants, flowers, and shrubs within relatively small spaces or beds. Their projects include but are not limited to planting trees, flowers, and vegetables. Gardeners excel at providing specialised care for individual plants and ensuring they thrive.

  • Routine maintenance - Gardeners generally perform routine tasks like pruning, weeding, watering, and fertilising to keep your garden looking its best.


  • Medium to large-scale projects: Landscapes can handle the design and transformation of your entire outdoor space, including layout planning, hardscaping, plant selection, and aesthetic considerations. 

  • New landscape creation: If you’re starting from scratch or wishing to overhaul your outdoor area, a landscaper can conceptualise and execute a tailored design that aligns with your vision and requirements.

  • Functional enhancements: When your project involves adding features like pathways, retaining walls, patios, decks, fences, irrigation systems, outdoor kitchens, and lighting, a landscaper is invaluable.

Recommendation: Choose a gardener to work on small-scale projects, but choose a landscaper for middle- to large-scale projects. 

In terms of tool and material range

a gardener using a trowelGardeners typically use handheld tools, such as pruners, shears, rakes, shovels, watering cans, hedge trimmers, high-pressure hoses, and power sprayers. They mainly work with soil, compost, mulch, fertilisers, and pesticides.

In contrast, landscapers use a lot more tools than your typical gardener. Depending on the job at hand, they can operate heavy equipment, including excavators, compactors, tillers, and various construction tools for hardscape installations. They also use equipment for grading, digging, and shaping the landscape according to the design plan.
a landscaper with a hammer

Landscapers work with a wider variety of materials to create cohesive outdoor environments. These include stone, brick, wood, concrete, and gravel for pathways, patios, walls, and other structural elements. However, landscapers will often rely on seasoned gardeners, who are in the best position to choose good trees, shrubs, and flowers and make them flourish.

Recommendation: A gardener will have a basic set of tools, so a landscaper is ideal if you like having heavy equipment on hand.

In terms of training and skill level

Gardeners acquire training through horticulture courses, workshops, and hands-on experience. Their formal education might include certificates or diplomas in horticulture. Meanwhile, landscapers often undergo training in landscape construction, architecture, horticulture, and related fields. They may hold degrees or certifications in landscape design, providing a solid foundation in both aesthetics and functionality.

If you’re trying to choose between a landscaper vs gardener based on their skill, you may need to think twice. It’s not as simple as putting one against the other, like garden design vs landscape design. Since these jobs intersect a lot, you’ll need to hire a pro based on your needs. 

If you’re mainly concerned about plant care, a gardener’s specialised knowledge of horticulture is key. A landscaper’s expertise in design principles and spatial arrangement is invaluable for projects requiring comprehensive layout planning and outdoor feature integration.

Recommendation: Choose gardeners if you only require a working knowledge of plant care, but opt for landscapers if you value outdoor aesthetics.

In terms of service cost 

The average cost to hire a gardener is between $40 to $60 per hour. Gardener job prices can vary depending on your location and garden size. Residential and public gardens can also be priced differently. For more complex spaces, garden designers can cost much more, at $100 to $500.

However, landscaping services are generally more expensive. Minor projects could cost you an hourly rate of only $40 to $80. But the average cost to maintain a small yard could be $500 to $800. For larger installations, intricate landscaping designs, and top-tier pest management, landscapers might charge as high as $20,000.

Recommendation: Gardening tasks like pruning and trimming cost less, but choose a landscaper if you can afford a complete garden makeover.

In terms of availability

A gardener’s flexible schedule might suit your needs better if your project involves ongoing maintenance and care. For larger projects that require design, planning, and installation, a landscaper’s project-based availability is more appropriate. Landscapers and gardeners are typically involved with both residential and commercial properties. It’s imperative to plan well to ensure you can secure their services within your preferred timeline. 

Note that the availability of both gardeners and landscapers depends on their current client load, the time of year, and the nature of your project. Talk to your gardener or landscaper about your expectations to ensure that whoever you choose can meet your needs.

Recommendation: Choose a gardener for quick yet frequently required tasks. Pick a landscaper for one-off jobs that take longer to complete.

Achieve your dream garden with Airtasker

a well-landscaped residential garden

If you’ve finally chosen between a gardener and a landscaper, post a task to transform your outdoor space. On the platform, you can connect with skilled gardeners and landscapers ready to bring your vision to life. Whether you need meticulous plant care, a complete landscape transformation, or a mentor to start your journey in gardening, Airtasker offers a convenient way to find professionals who match your needs and budget.

Gardener vs landscaper

Project Scope
Garden care and maintenance
New landscape creation + functional enhancements
Tool and Material Range
Hedge trimmers, hoses, and sprayers; compost, mulch, fertilisers, and pesticides
Excavators, tillers, digging equipment; stone, brick, wood, and concrete
Training and Skill Level
Architecture + landscape design
Service Cost

Low: $40 to $60

Median: $270

High: $100 to $500

Low: $40 to $80

Median: $500 to $800

High: Up to $20,000

Regular and flexible schedule

FAQs on gardeners and landscapers

Not always. While gardeners may have some knowledge of garden design and basic landscaping, landscapers have more capacity to handle larger projects that require integrating different design and functional elements.

Gardeners have practical experience in gardening, such as planting, mulching, pruning, and growing. Though landscapers have basic gardening knowledge, gardeners will likely have more extensive knowledge in overall plant growth, use of proper soil, and maintaining overall garden health.

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