What is a Landscaper?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

The word landscape comes from a Dutch word that joins the words meaning "land" and "condition or state." Like seascape, to which it is related, it refers to a single view or prospect. A landscaper is someone who designs, cares for, or improves the landscape. Usually, a large part of the work involves plants, grass, and trees.

A beautiful yard is often the work of a landscaper.
A beautiful yard is often the work of a landscaper.

A landscaper may work for a firm or be self-employed. The land that one works on is often, but not always, privately owned. Locales include homes, schools, and commercial property, and the person's work is often limited to lawns and gardens and the structures or bodies of water within them. That is, they do not typically work on or within residences or other large buildings and large bodies of water or forests, for example, but they do work in the areas of swimming pools, ponds, walls, patios, decks, yards, gardens, driveways, and entryways. Though there are landscape architects and engineers, these specialists would tend to identify themselves as architects and engineers with a specialty in landscaping. It is usually assumed that someone called a "landscaper" does not have expertise in architecture or engineering.

Landscapers can be hired to design and build swimming pools and decks.
Landscapers can be hired to design and build swimming pools and decks.

One area in which a landscaper may work or specialize is in design. This may be done when a building is first built or re-conceived if a property owner wants something new. Landscaping is always done within a set of constraints, including the climate zone, soil, and sun available on the property; the amount of care the property owners are willing to provide for its upkeep; the cost; the presence of children or animals who may interact with plantings; and special requests, such as particular color schemes, historical accuracy, etc. Adding lighting or running water and fences or walls to divide areas of the property are special features that may be requested. In the 21st century, employers may also have strong feelings about the types of pesticides they are willing to have used on their property.

A landscaper may also focus on caring for properties on which plants have already been established. This may include tasks that are weekly, seasonal, yearly, and done as needed. Such work may include irrigation, fertilizing, tree stump removal, snow plowing, planting bulbs or annuals, trimming shrubs, shaping trees, and mowing lawns.

Some landscapers specialize in pruning or removing trees.
Some landscapers specialize in pruning or removing trees.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


My son works as a landscaper for a golf course. It is his responsibility to make sure the course is well kept and looks great. This can be quite a challenge depending on how much rain we get during the year. I have a hard time just taking care of my small lawn, and can understand how a business as big as a golf course needs to hire landscapers to take care of everything.

I don't know how he got interested in this line of work. I never had much for flowers or a garden when he was young, but he has found this is something he really enjoys. He takes a lot of pride in his work, and it makes his day when someone compliments him on how well taken care of the golf course is.


@myharley-- I can understand how new homeowners need some landscaping help. When I moved into my new home, I was overwhelmed with what to do with all the yard space. I wanted landscaping that was pretty low maintenance but looked nice throughout the year.

I hired a landscaper to come and give me some landscaping ideas for what would work best for my property. I had very little shade, so I needed to plant flowers that did well in full sun.

I felt like it was worth paying a landscaper to come in and help me get started. Since then I have been doing the maintenance myself and have been very pleased with the plants, trees and flowers the landscaper recommended.


I have a friend who started his own landscaping company. We live in a state where we have cold winters, so in the off season he plows snow to keep busy. He started his landscaping business about 8 years ago and it has been successful for him. Most of his business comes from residential homeowners who have just moved into a new home and don't have any idea what to do about their landscaping.


I love flowers and beautiful landscaping but don't really enjoy all the work that goes along with it. Many times I have said that I would love to hire a landscaper to do it for me, but unfortunately, that is not in my budget.

I end up doing most of it myself and like to go online to get ideas for different types of landscape design. It is much easier for me to have a picture or guide to follow than to try to visualize it and do it all myself.


The rich couple across the street uses landscaping services. They have a few men come in during the spring to prune the shrubs and bushes and till the soil for adding new plants. They also have someone come during the fall to clear away brush and plant tulip and hyacinth bulbs.

I know that they pay someone to come and mow their lawn regularly, but I'm not sure if this guy is from the landscaping company or not. Is this a service that landscapers usually offer?


My boyfriend worked for a landscaping company for five years. This company catered mostly to businesses who wanted their small plots of ground to look ornate and attractive.

There was one bank that always had the landscapers come and switch out flowers every season. If any of the flowers died, they had to replace them. It was a weekly chore, though the majority of the work was done in between seasons.

They also had a contract with the university in town, and that was a massive job. There were plants all over the campus that had to be maintained.


@Oceana – Being a landscaper is hard work. My dad did it for years before retiring, and the hot summers were what really got to him.

High humidity and temperatures near 100 are bad enough, but when you combine those with physical work, the situation becomes unbearable. My dad had gotten used to it, but as he aged, he became more sensitive to extreme heat, and he decided it was time to retire.


I always thought it would be fun to be a landscape designer. I love gardening, and planning the layout of flower beds is one of the most exciting parts about it for me.

However, I really don't have the strength to use a shovel all day. Also, if the job involved using a bulldozer to really reshape the land, I know I couldn't do it.

I could be the brains behind the project, but I think a landscaper has to be able to do both the designing and the executing. I guess I'd best stick to my indoor desk job.

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