What is the difference between a landscape designer and a landscape builder?

outdoor room with vertical wooden panel and swimming pool

It’s possible to find a landscape professional that offers both services, but design and building are distinctly different, requiring unique expertise and skill. Both specialities are crucial for a successful outcome. Without the other, everyone’s job gets harder, so seamless collaboration is a must.

Here’s how to tell the difference…

What does a landscape designer do?

Landscape designers are usually the first professionals to come on board during a landscape makeover. They meet with clients and help put their ideas on paper…which is sometimes the hardest part! Landscape designers in Auckland take into consideration elements such as balance, texture, spatial awareness, and colour in addition to functional and budgetary requirements. 

Creating successful landscape designs involves a lot of skill and nuance. A healthy dose of back and forth with clients over multiple review sessions and design iterations is often necessary to land on the perfect landscape, such as the transformation of this overgrown yard in Greenlane into a beautiful semi-formal garden, complete with pebbled pathways, colourful plantains and a statement stone wall.

But even though the design may be finalised, a designer’s job isn’t done. They must now collaborate with the builders to bring it to life. 

a Zones landscape designer showing design for clients

What does a landscape builder do?

With a well-laid out landscape design in hand, it’s time to bring the concepts to life! Enter: the landscape builders. Their job is to follow the plans and execute them to a T. And while it’s not within their scope of work to come up with the designs, an experienced landscape builder will have a thorough understanding of landscape design. Without familiarising yourself with at least the basic principles, it’s hard to decipher the plans, let alone deliver them effectively.

Examples of landscape builder responsibilities:
  • Hardscape installation (decking, patios, pavers, louvres, lighting, etc.)
  • Softscaping (lawn installation, garden planting, etc.)
  • Excavation and earthworks
  • Providing expert advice and quick problem-solving 
  • Establishing and maintaining trade relationships with suppliers and specialists

Landscape builders helped to bring this complete landscape renovation in Stonefields, Auckland to life, creating a private backyard sanctuary that included the installation of a louvre roof, spa pool, outdoor shower, additional decking, and strategically placed plant beds. 

pergola on a deck surrounded by a stone garden
Check out this private backyard sanctuary in Stonefields, Auckland, completed by professional landscape builders

Landscape builders and landscape designers are different. What about landscape architects?

They’re different too! Many landscape architects are also, or have been at one point, builders. But the reverse isn’t necessarily true. Architecture is closer to engineering than it is to the physical job of construction. This includes tasks like urban planning, assessments for consent applications, resource allocation, and using advanced design software. 

Becoming a landscape architect also requires advanced education. At minimum, individuals must obtain a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree, but programs are available to further their education with a master’s or speciality. Landscape architects in Auckland can be successful working in both commercial or residential settings. 

How to work with a team of landscape professionals in Auckland Central

Every job is important, and none exist in a vacuum, so having everyone – designers, builders, and architects – collaborating as early as possible is the key to success. At Zones, we believe in this model wholeheartedly and have based our approach on making the process easy and straightforward for homeowners. 

To keep everyone on the same page, there needs to be a project manager. We refer to our Zones professionals as Landscape Consultants. But they offer so much more than traditional project management. Whether your landscape design project is on a grand scale or a smaller scale, like this Xeriscape landscaping project in Remuera, our Consultants are there from the very first consultation through to your project’s final delivery, coordinating every step of the landscape design process and navigating obstacles along the way. 

Your Landscape Consultant will work diligently to bridge the gap between the designers, architects, and builders that are toiling away behind the scenes to bring your vision to life, all while ensuring your experience is seamless and stress-free. 

small backyard with black pergola and low maintenance stone garden
A small-scale Xeriscape landscape in Remuera, Auckland

Want a stress-free landscaping experience in Auckland Central?

We’ve got you covered. Just get in touch with a local Auckland Central Landscaping Consultant to arrange your free consultation and discuss your garden landscape design.

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