What’s the Difference Between Garden and Landscape Design?
Have you ever wondered why some people call themselves “landscape designers” and others are “garden designers”? Is there really a difference? Generally, both are used by people designing for residential properties. It seems that neither term is limited to those with a specific educational background or type of experience – in fact, pretty much anyone can call themselves a landscape or garden designer (although there is a certification offered for landscape designers through the Association of Professional Landscape Designers). So why choose one over the other??
According to Wikipedia, “Landscape design focuses more on the artistic merits of design, garden design more in the planting palette…” Hmmm, not too helpful.
So, here’s my take on the whole thing…
Landscape designers focus more on the ‘big picture’, including the hardscape and general site planning. Landscapes are best viewed from a distance, with plants massed in larger groups to create visual impact. Plants are frequently repeated in a design to bring continuity to a larger bed or garden space. Paths, patios, garden structures (e.g., arbors, fences), and water features are often included.
In contrast, the garden designer focuses more on the ‘up close and personal’, with an emphasis on diverse plantings that draw people into the garden. Gardens are pretty when viewed from a distance, but the true beauty only emerges as you get closer. Fragrance, interesting blossoms, and patterned leaves add interest. While colors and textures may be repeated, the garden designer often uses different plants to accomplish this. Hardscape and larger garden structures may be used, but are not emphasized.
Now, I realize that some of you may not agree with this characterization – after all, it’s based on my personal observations and I know there are always exceptions. So let’s hear it – how would you define garden versus landscape design?
p.s., Just so you know, I go by “garden designer” and I design “gardens”, not “landscapes”.
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