What’s the Difference Between a Landscape Designer and a Landscaper?

It happened again last week.  A client was trying to decide between my company and the company that mows their lawn.  The client hired the landscapers because my quote was a little higher.  Ugh!

This week I drove through the neighborhood and felt disappointment. The gardens had cheap wood mulch and it was not deep enough to suppress weeds.  Two great ways to keep a quote low.  As a landscape designer, I recommended bark mulch two to three inches deep to make sure most weeds will not germinate.

How do You Choose Between a Landscape Designer and a landscapers?

The answer depends on your needs.

If you want a creative landscape design and the proper horticultural methods followed, hire a landscape designer to design and carry out your project. Most landscape designers have an eye and passion for landscape design.  They have learned the right way to design, install and maintain landscapes because they couldn’t do it any other way.

Many landscape designers start out as landscapers and graduate to design because of their love of plants and design. That is how I started after college.  I began by mowing lawns while building my landscape design experience and knowledge.

Often landscapers don’t have extensive landscape design and horticultural knowledge. This spring I met a couple who asked me, “Do you pick out the plants?” I explained that, “The benefit of hiring me as your landscape designer is that I select the best plants to meet your needs and the site’s conditions.”  Landscapers they had talked to said, “Tell us what you want planted and we’ll plant it.”

Landscapers are masters at getting the job done quickly. If you have a routine project, hire a reputable landscaper.  Projects that landscapers excel at include mowing lawns, spring and fall cleanups and clearing brush.

If you are looking for someone to mow your lawn and clean up your yard in the spring and fall, hire a landscaper. However, if you are looking for a creative eye to recommend the best plants,  design the best landscape for your home and use the best methods to plant your garden, seek out a landscape designer.

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. – John Ruskin

Solutions for Frost and Freeze Damage on Tree and Shrub Foliage

Temperatures below freezing often cause frost and freeze damage on trees and shrubs from mid to late spring.  Often the damage is minor and effected trees and shrubs will grow out of it.

Look for signs of frost and freeze damage such as leaves on the tips of branches that are browning out.  The foliage will turn black or brown and may become gooey or limp.  If you are lucky the damage will only be on the tips of trees and shrubs where new growth is emerging.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum - Katsura Tree Frost Damage

Sometimes frost and freeze damage will affect growth farther back from the tips of trees and shrubs.  This is rarer but does happen.

If frost and freeze damage is minor the best solution is to wait and see if the plant grows out of the damage.  In about a month dead foliage will be gone and you should see new growth.  Prune out all remaining dead foliage after two months.

Clethra barbinervis Japanese Clethra Frost Damage

If the damage is more extensive, effecting growth deeper into the tree or shrub, the best course of action is to wait a couple of months and see if new growth emerges.  Often a branch that looks dead will have swollen buds and fresh growth emerging.  Have patience before you make drastic pruning decisions.

Some trees and shrubs are more vulnerable to frost and freeze damage than others.  The most notable example is the Laceleaf Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum ‘Dissectum’.  You may also see damage similar to the Katusura, Clethra and Pieris pictured.

Pieris japonica - Japanese Pieris Frost Damage

It is important to know what frost and freeze damage looks like so you don’t mistake it for a pest or disease.

By John Holden