Florida is home to more than 49,000 landscaping businesses. Nationwide, roughly 300,000 workers are employed in this industry and the projections show continued growth.
Gardening companies vary by size and what types of services they offer. This can make hiring the right person a confusing task at best. Just as you would not build a home by yourself or even hire just one expert, many outside spaces require a team of experienced workers to implement the plan. To help navigate around the gardening world of hire, some basic knowledge is useful.
What’s the difference between a floriculturist and a horticulturist?
Floriculturists lean toward a retail or marketing stance when working exclusively with flowers and plants. Many floriculturists are floral wholesalers and designers that arrange, market and merchandise fresh flowers and plants.
Horticulturists have a scientific angle that directs their practice towards a research and educational aspect. Horticulture also has an expanded plant base to include turf, vegetables, fruits and trees. The group of professionals who can envision landscapes where there is either overgrowth or a lack of vegetation are often labeled ornamental horticulturists.
Do I need a land planner to redesign my yard?
Probably not. Governments and municipalities that own land consult land planners for their development. You also probably don’t need a land architect, who would have an advanced degree and be better suited for a large project that includes hardscape elements like paths and walls, along with plant selection and arrangement.
What you are looking for is a landscape designer, preferably one with credentials from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Association of Professional Landscape Designers and a Florida Certified Landscape Designer designation from the Florida Nursery, Growers, Landscaping Association.
OK, so I have an approved plan. What’s next?
Installers, who may or may not be associated with the landscape designer, transition the design plan from print into reality. They cultivate and prep the soil, order and transfer plantings into the ground layout. Then you may need to find a maintenance staff to care for the property by pruning, treating, replanting, fertilizing and, in some situations, harvesting.
Are groundskeepers, gardeners and interior-scape technicians the same thing?
Gardeners and groundskeepers are employed to maintain a cultivated space (lawn and garden) with plantings as needed. The space may be residential, commercial or public areas such as schools and cemeteries. When a hierarchy needs to be established, it is often the groundskeeper or grounds custodian in charge.
Horticultural technicians work exclusively inside buildings and homes. Their scope is limited to the design, planting and maintenance of potted plants and beds, living art, artificial plants and event or seasonal decorating.
What’s the difference between a nursery and a garden center?
Young plants are raised in nurseries by plant breeders, then sold and transplanted via wholesale or to the public. A controlled setting usually houses their inventory under tents, in greenhouses or buildings.
A garden center is a retail business that offers plants to all consumers. It also doubles as a store that sells gardening supplies, as seeds, plants, fertilizer and tools.
Who can care for my trees?
Tree service companies offer the basics of cutting and removing trees. Some also offer stump grinding, mulching, firewood procurement and bushhogging.
An arborist can also be called a tree surgeon. They practice in the field of arboriculture which includes trees, shrubs, vines and woody perennial plants. The International Society of Arboriculture is the national certifying body.
The work of foresters is based in actual forests, with the goal of protecting natural resources. Foresters are hired by state and federal governmental agencies but are also sought out by private sector timber and land development organizations.
Where can I learn more?
If you are looking for a checklist of the most important factors when planning a landscape, visit gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/ten-planning-tips-for-design.html.