Exterior decorator and landscaper: what’s the difference?

Whether you hire an exterior decorator or a landscaper, both involve creating and maintaining functional and aesthetic outdoor spaces. Whether working in a garden or in a park, on a golf course or on behalf of a real estate complex, the two activities are quite similar. Despite the similarities, differences exist between these two professions, even if the dividing line between the two is often blurred and subjective.

Exterior decorator

The exterior decoration consists of imagining a space, of visualizing it by means of an image, possibly using computer software, with the aim of creating this space. Outdoor decoration can incorporate botanical elements such as trees, lawns and shrubs and other plants, as well as other elements, such as walkways, water points, fences, furniture, etc. . Exterior decorators are designers and contractors who provide a variety of services. In this sense, they are the “architects” of your exterior. These professionals work on a variety of types of projects and scales. This ranges from the design and implementation of a residential yard, to the planning of transportation facilities, to the development of the outdoor space of a resort. Exterior decorators don’t necessarily work with landscape contractors after completing the design process. The exterior decorator is responsible for coordinating all the trades that he involves. In addition to managing materials and the budget, he also manages human resources. And ensures the standards to be respected.


Just like exterior decoration, landscaping involves design, planning, and maintenance, but landscaping usually only concerns the green portion of the chosen space. Exterior decorators and landscapers can sketch a design for a garden and determine a list of plants, but only landscapers will plant, weed, grow, replace, and harvest the plants. Landscaping is a permanent activity because the gardens require maintenance and dedicated maintenance throughout the year. Landscaping also requires knowledge, through experience and learning during studies, of several natural processes, including soil ecology, climates, plant physiology, water drainage and possible infestations by species. pests. Landscape designers may have a degree in horticulture or botany.

The landscaper has a more technical job than the exterior decorator in the sense that his profession requires strength, endurance, thoroughness. It intervenes at the end of a project while the decorator-architect begins to work much earlier in the project.

Exterior decorator or landscaper: which professional do you need?

If you just want to modify your garden or landscaping, you should start by bringing in a professional landscaper or gardener. But for a complete overhaul, depending on the size of the project, you can hire an exterior decorator. Talk to different professionals in the field to find the right one for you.

Whether it is an exterior decorator or a landscaper, a good professional will always have examples of their work to show you. He can also give you the contact of former customers with whom you can discuss and who will share their testimonies with you. The best exterior decorator or landscape designer is the one who will create your garden the way you want it, respecting both the deadline and the budget that you will have communicated to him. In short, someone who will make you smile every time you contemplate your outdoor space.

Exterior decorator or landscaper: how to find the ideal professional?

Recommendations from friends, family or neighbors are a good place to start. Do some research online and consider professionals with lots of reviews and check out their business websites. Have they ever done similar work to the one you are considering? Do they have a specialty? If you notice a garden you love in a potential exterior decorator or landscape designer client portfolio, it is worth contacting the professional to find out if the client can allow you to visit. Or at least try to have him share his experience with you by email or phone. Legitimate professionals will gladly put you in touch with many of their previous clients.

Exterior decorator or landscaper: what to consider

What are you changing in your garden? If it’s a big overhaul, you can hire an exterior decorator. If these are only less consistent and more botanical aspects, then a landscaper would be the best option.

Try to make sure that you have a landscaper and an exterior decorator who work well together. They need to communicate well. You may be able to ask your exterior decorator if they are familiar with other landscaping professionals. This can be a solution because in this way, the trust between them is there and they already know how to collaborate having done so in the past.

As a customer, you determine what you want and how you want things to work. Remember, within reason you are able to determine how well your exterior decorator and landscaper interact. It often depends on the budget allocated to each of them.

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