Is Landscaping Considered Construction? (Explained With Examples)

Savanna Stanfield

Landscaping and construction can both be used to update and change the appearance of your home or business.

Building, installation, and removal of certain features are all characteristics of landscaping, but these are characteristics of construction as well.

Is there a significant difference between the two? 

As it turns out, landscaping and construction are actually very similar.

There are a lot of instances in landscaping that involve doing construction, but are you always considered to be doing construction when you’re landscaping?

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between landscaping and construction to determine if they really are one and the same.

What is Considered Construction?

Construction refers to altering land or existing structures according to a specific process or plan. 

So by that definition, construction includes doing all of the following actions to a piece of land or existing building:

  • Building
  • Demolition
  • Installation 
  • Moving

Doing construction on a structure can take one or multiple forms, including:

  • Adding or deleting features
  • Building roads or pathways 
  • Excavating 
  • General site improvements 
  • Installing drainage systems 
  • Improving the general structure 
  • Landscaping
  • Modifying existing features
  • Utility work

Construction doesn’t just refer to building things.

It takes on many different forms depending on the needs of the people who want improvements made to their land or building.

Why Landscaping Falls Under Construction

Landscaping refers to making improvements to existing land.

These improvements usually involve adding new features to the land, but it could also mean taking features away.

Landscaping involves doing any of the following actions to a piece of land:

  • Building structures
  • Creating new drainage systems
  • Destroying existing features
  • Excavating
  • Installing new features
  • Making general improvements

Under the different types of construction listed in the above section, landscaping is listed as an individual type.

When you compare the other forms of construction to the characteristics of landscaping, you may notice that they are pretty much the same.

It makes sense that landscaping would fall under construction, considering that landscaping basically just means that you are doing construction to the land itself.

7 Types of Landscaping Which Are Considered Construction 

Any time you have to build something on an existing piece of land, it is considered construction.

We’ve gathered seven common landscaping methods that involve building or installing a feature on your land.

  1. Adding a patio, veranda, or lanai
  2. Building a pergola or gazebo
  3. Building a deck
  4. Building a fence or retaining wall
  5. Creating an outdoor kitchen
  6. Installing a water feature
  7. Installing a driveway, sidewalk, or pathway

Anytime you do construction, you expect the result to be permanent.

Of course you can alter or demolish it eventually if you choose, but for the most part you want whatever you build or install to last a really long time.

Any of the seven things listed above are going to last for a long time as long as they are installed properly. The intention is for them to stay in one place and not be moved easily.

These things all involve using materials that are considered to be hard, which is why performing any of the landscaping methods above is called hardscaping.

Any type of hardscaping is considered construction.

7 Types of Landscaping Which Are Not Considered Construction 

There are some aspects of landscaping which could change over time.

These seven landscaping features are not considered construction because they can be easily changed or removed if you wish to do so.

  1. Flowers
  2. Trees
  3. Shrubs
  4. Food gardens
  5. Planting beds
  6. Lawn/Grasses
  7. Soil

Anything that you plant in your yard, whether that be flowers, trees, shrubs, or ornamental grasses can be removed very easily if you decide you no longer want them as part of your landscape.

Gardens, including those for vegetables and herbs, and planting beds can be changed seasonally.

You can also alter the look of your lawn by placing sod or planting different types of grasses, and make changes to the soil on an as-needed basis in order for your plants to grow better.

Other than soil, all of the landscaping methods listed here involve things that are living. Soil plus live plants are considered to be softscapes

Softscaping is not expected to last forever and probably will change over time, so it is not considered to be construction.

Is Landscaping Part of New Building Construction?

For most new building constructions, the builder will excavate the land surrounding the building after the construction is complete.

Construction can, and probably will, make a mess, and the builder will usually clean up the mess and level out the ground in places where it is slightly higher or lower.

In some cases, the builders will also lay sod in the yard surrounding the home or building.

But usually, any landscaping that you want done will be an extra cost on top of the expense of building a home.

Grading, planting, and installing drainage or irrigation systems are things that typically aren’t covered in a standard build package.

This is because they require city approval in most cases, to make sure that what you’re wanting done doesn’t interfere with the rest of the neighborhood or city in any way.

So if you are planning a new construction project, it is important to do thorough research and include the cost of whatever landscaping you want done in your budget.

What Are Similarities Between Landscaping and Construction?

When it comes to adding permanent fixtures to your land, landscaping and construction are very similar.

Landscaping is considered to be construction because some aspects of landscaping include removing some features of the land and building new structures.

When you think in terms of how you want to use a space to make it more functional and then plan around those ideas, it will most likely involve building something to make the space more useful.

The main similarity between landscaping and construction is that you are creating something that serves a purpose, is permanent, and meant to last in whatever space you have available.

What Are Differences Between Landscaping and Construction?

The main difference between landscaping and construction is that landscaping involves making changes to both the living and nonliving features in your yard.

Construction refers to only the nonliving aspects. Remember that construction refers mostly to building or altering the land to make it functional.

Changing the land by flattening it, raising certain areas, or improving drainage is considered construction because you are making it more functional.

Building structures onto the land, such as a patio or deck, are also intended to increase the functionality of the land.

Landscaping doesn’t have to make the land more useful.

You can landscape simply by adding plants or creating flower gardens. These don’t necessarily make the land more functional, only more decorative.

Vegetable and herb gardens do increase land functionality, but they aren’t intended to be permanent fixtures on the land itself.

Landscaping does not always have to mean construction, and construction does not always mean landscaping.

Are All Types of Landscaping Considered Construction?

For a specific type of landscaping to be considered construction, it usually has to involve increasing the functionality of your land, home, or garden.

Increasing the functionality of your land will usually involve making additions to the land, whether that means altering the land itself through excavation, or building something onto the land that makes the land more useful.

Installing fences, watering systems, patios, or outdoor kitchens are just a few of the ways that you can increase the functionality of your land or outdoor space.

But landscaping construction can also involve removing existing features from the land.

If you have an old gardening shed, deck, or gazebo that is falling apart or unsafe, then demolishing the structure in order to replace it with a new one is also considered construction.

Landscaping Construction Careers

There are some landscaping careers that are also considered to be construction careers.

Architects and contractors are usually involved with construction in some way, but there are landscape architects and landscape contractors as well that are licensed and primarily focused on landscape construction.

Landscape architects aren’t involved in the physical construction, but they are responsible for planning and designing landscape features for both residential and commercial landscaping.

These are the people who are usually responsible for designing city parks and playgrounds, but they can also be hired to design residential landscapes as well.

Landscape contractors perform the actual construction work once the architects design the landscape.

These are the people who are responsible for grading and excavating of land, building permanent features, and planting.

Non-Construction Landscaping Careers

There are a couple of careers in landscaping that aren’t considered to be construction-related. These careers are horticulturalists and landscape maintenance professionals.

Horticulturists are professionals who are familiar with different types of plants.

They know which plants will grow in certain areas and how to care for them, but they aren’t usually involved in the actual planting.

Landscape maintenance professionals include people who perform lawn care and tree services. They mainly perform work on the living parts of the landscape.

They cut grass, cut limbs, prune shrubs, remove leaves, and clean water features, but don’t actually build, remove, or maintain any hardscape features.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Landscaping does fall under construction, but that doesn’t mean you’re always doing construction if you’re landscaping.

As long as you’re building something useful and permanent on a piece of land, you’re performing both landscaping and construction.

But planting trees, flowers, shrubs, and gardening is strictly landscaping. The difference depends on if the changes you make are living or not.

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