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A landscaper is a specialist in horticulture who uses this knowledge to create various types of landscape designs, usually from the bare basics, and is an invaluable fund of information on plant-related matters. He (or she) is responsible for the choice of plants, shrubs and trees and their placement in the overall design, and oversees the implementation of the finished design. A landscaper differs from a gardener or garden service in that he is a designer, rather than a garden maintenance worker.
Landscapers work for a variety of clients. In the commercial sector, they are responsible for the design of the open spaces around buildings and complexes such as office blocks, shopping centres, hospitals and housing estates, and the subsequent implementation of the design. In this respect, they will work closely with the architect to ensure that the overall design fits in with the architect’s vision and use of the space.
Individual clients may employ a landscaper when creating a new garden for a brand-new house, re-designing or renovating an existing garden, or seeking answers to more minor problems in a garden which does not involve a complete overhaul of the existing layout. General matters may include obtaining advice on the choice of trees or plants to create a themed garden, asking for advice on the growth habits of certain trees, shrubs and plants over a long period, or even planning the placement of ground lighting and planting to create an atmospheric garden by night.
A landscaper is an invaluable source of knowledge when it comes to problems such as identifying and exterminating insect pests, sorting out the light needs of certain plants which are not performing well in their present position and may need to be moved, planning and designing seating areas in a garden, choosing the right variety of trees to plant around a swimming pool, so that the trees do not block valuable light and warmth or constantly drop leaves into the pool. ‘Hard’ landscaping, such as pergolas, gazebos, privacy fences, arbours, paved paths or built-in garden furniture and seating are best chosen under the guidance of a landscaper so as to avoid costly mistakes and to ensure the proper flow of the garden. A professional, experienced landscaper will work closely with you at all times, and will design and agree a garden layout on paper for you to see prior to going ahead. He will ensure that the garden will grow and beautify with age and time.
During annual garden shows, you may see the work of fledgling landscapers on display, and this is a very entertaining way of assisting you to make up your mind as to your needs. It is useful to actually visit gardens where the landscaper has worked previously, but if this is not possible, ask for photographs of his work and references from previous clients. Word of mouth from people you know is always an advisable recommendation, as this will give you assurances on design, timing, thoroughness and practicability. Alternatively, check their Uptasker reviews online.
You might start out with a vague idea of what you want your garden to look like and be used for, but a landscaper will make this a reality, and ensure that your garden will be functional, age beautifully and be an asset for many years to come.
For more tips, see our landscaper articles.