Your garden may need an overhaul. You may be wondering where to begin. You’ve searched online for garden design and you’ve happened on sites like this. So now you’re wondering: what is a garden designer? And why should I employ one?


A garden designer oversees the design of an outdoor space. The role can merge somewhat with that of landscape designer or landscape architect. In fact, it’s possible to start out as a garden designer and become a landscape architect, or vice versa.

This article at Bowles & Wyer clarifies the distinction as well as overlap between the terms garden designer and landscape designer/architect. It pivots on the difference in meaning between the words “garden” and “landscape”:

A garden is associated with a property, has boundaries and tends to be smaller in scale.

A landscape can be detached from any properties, may not have limits and can be large or small in scale.

What is a garden designer? The job of a garden designer is to consider all aspects from beginning to end. As private property owners, it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking and choosing to change aspects of the outdoors as time goes by. In this way, gardens lose focus, becoming unkempt jungles. Alternately, the wrong plant can be selected for a particular area of the garden, ending in its death and a barren outdoor space.

Your garden designer will help avoid these issues by looking at the bigger picture.

What is a garden designer? A garden designer may come from a range of backgrounds. Some head to university, gaining qualifications in garden design or landscape architecture, like our Design Director Paul Robinson. Other garden designers head into the role with practical horticultural and landscaping experience and a real passion for plants, such as our founder Lee Bestall.

What is a garden designer? Some garden designers are full-time, while others may pursue it as a side income, and in our experience there is a huge range in experience, style and professionalism.

As The English Garden says in its online article, helping distinguish “What is a garden designer?”:

‘Many [garden designers] are self-employed, creating or improving gardens for private clients. Others work with a business partner, or as a garden designer for a larger garden design company.’


Now that we’ve delved into What is a garden designer?, exactly why should you employ a garden designer or landscape architect?

First and foremost is the fact that few people have the time it takes to re-design a garden. This is more time-consuming that some will imagine. Dealing with contractors and project managing is also an element a client doesn’t want to deal with, or time-wise may not be able to commit to.

Add on to this consideration the need to understand your plot fully. Which part gets the most sunlight? Which gets least? What is the soil structure and pH?

Furthermore, a garden designer or landscape architect brings substantial plant knowledge the individual may not have. How tall will that tree grow? Which species of plant would thrive in the dry shade at the far end of the plot? Which appropriate plants will flower in succession as well as combination to give year-round interest?

Alongside this plant knowledge is an expertise in hard landscaping and design features, such as paving, walls, steps and water features. How best to construct that retaining wall for the level change? Where best to position the piece of art as a focal point? Which stone will best complement the house and the proposed planting?

The garden designer is inherently creative. They will look at your outside space with the eye of a painter before a canvas, or the sculptor with their hunk of rock.

On top of these is the objectivity of the garden designer. The owner of the land will have firm ideas on what they like and dislike, and these will then be passed onto the designer. The designer will then utilise and adapt these preferences fittingly. They can make tough choices the owner would rather avoid, to benefit the finished design.

The Society for Garden Designers published an article which highlights the all-encompassing role of the designer:

‘[the garden designer] can be involved in all elements of the design and build process, from surveying and creating a design to the hard landscaping and selecting plants.’


Employing Bestall & Co to design your garden ensures you experience a proven process from start to completion of what is a deeply personal project. Bestall & Co adhere to a clear series of steps to guarantee minimum stress and maximum quality for each client.

Choosing Bestall & Co. as your garden designers will leave you with a polished garden, taking inspiration from its picturesque northern base at Renishaw Hall.


We’ve looked at answering What is a garden designer? What about considering what a garden designer is not?

A garden designer is not simply a garden maintenance company offering pointers and tips. The customer would be well advised to avoid overenthusiastic maintenance firms and landscape contractors who feel their practical experience alone gives them the knowledge and skills to “design” a garden from scratch.

However, this is not to downplay the role of such professionals. Garden design companies must work closely with these businesses to complete projects.

The experienced garden designer will, however, bring in creativity and an overarching vision of the project. In the end, writer Lucy Masters sums up how a garden designer truly comes into their own in her article for the The Guardian, answering our question “What is a garden designer?” concisely:

‘To design a garden you have to create a whole, a dynamic narrative that leaders [sic] the visitor through the space in a coherent, cohesive way.’