In a recent survey in the UK of landscape gardeners, landscape gardening was found to be one of the happiest and healthiest careers out there. It combines a creative and individual career, hard work and spending time outdoors. It is an all round interesting job for anyone who likes working with their hands, knows about plants and trees and wants to be outside.
If this sounds like you, read more to find out more about what a landscape garden does, and the pros and cons of landscape gardening.
What is landscape gardening?
A landscape gardener is involved in the structures and hard landscaping of a garden or park. They may work for
- Themselves, setting up their own business
- Landscaping services companies
- Botanical Gardens
- Individuals who want their private garden improved
- Businesses who want the grounds around their business developed and maintained
- Sports grounds
They create elements, such as
They will prepare the ground and soil so that it is suitable for the landscaping you want in your garden.
Landscape gardeners will also look at methods to control weeds, nourish the soil and irrigate the garden.
What Will You Do on a Daily Basis?
On a daily basis, a landscape gardener may do tasks such as -
- Use a plan created by a landscape designer to create the landscape the client wants
- Plant trees, shrubs, plants
- Sow lawns or lay or sodding turf
- Install water features, paths, rock gardens, decking etc.
- Maintaining the grounds and landscapes of businesses or private individuals
- Maintaining lawns, shrubberies, plants and flowers.
- Keeping soil and plants in good condition using fertilisers etc.
- Clearing away and tidying, such as clearing away fallen leaves, snow, dead plants etc.
- A landscape gardener may also be required to use heavy equipment, such as diggers and chain saws.
- Order supplies
- Communicate with their team
- Communicate with the client to make sure what they need
- Advise the client on ongoing maintenance of the garden
What Skills and Knowledge Do You Need to be a Landscape Gardener?
Landscape gardening is a varied roles and you will require a diverse range of skills, such as –
- A knowledge and understanding of plants, turf and flowers.
- An understanding of the planning and construction of landscaping features, such as decking, walls etc.
- The ability to create decking, walls and other landscaping features.
- Training in the use of heavy equipment, such as diggers and chainsaws, if required in their job role.
- Physical fitness to enable you to lift, bend and carry
- Able to work well your hands
- Ability to work in stressful situations
- Good team worker
- Good communication skills
- Good customer service skills
- Able to perform basic tasks on a computer or tablet or phone
- Good attention to detail
- The desire to succeed
Some landscape gardeners may be lucky enough to get full time work in a set location, for example, in the grounds of a Stately home or park, but many will have to travel from one client to another on a daily basis. They may have to work at one location for a few days or longer, depending on how complicated the job is.
The working hours can vary. It is usual to work during day light hours, perhaps 8 – 4, or 9 – 5, but landscape gardening is flexible. Also, you may be required to work at certain times to suit the client.
The weather can also affect when work is completed. For example, it may not be possible to work in heavy rainfall.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Landscape Gardener
- You will work outside in all weathers – hot and cold.
- You may need to wear protective clothing
- The work can be physically demanding
- It can be hard to get started. You need to make people aware of you and your business, do a good job and gain a good reputation.
- The hours can be long.
- You may have to work to reach deadlines.
- Punctuality is important.
- You may be affected by the weather. Eg. heavy rain, high temperatures or very low temperatures can affect what you can do.
- You will work outside, getting fresh air
- You will get exercise
- The work can be very physically demanding.
- The pay can be good if you work hard
- Other options – some landscapers may offer other options to their clients, such as ongoing maintenance, gardening generally or specific tasks. For example, clearing up after particularly bad weather.
- Landscape gardening tends to be flexible.
- You can work in a variety of settings, such as residential homes, parks, businesses etc.
- Landscape gardening can be personally rewarding
- You may need to balance multiple projects. This could be a pro or a con depending on how you prefer to work. Some people may struggle with this, whilst others may enjoy the variety.
There are also options for progression -
Side hustle – You can work as a landscape gardener as a side hustle. So you maintain one job, but do landscape gardening on the side. This can help you to gain experience, a reputation and build up your business before committing to it full time.
Own Business – You might set up your own business.
Management – There are options to move into supervision and management in larger organisations, such as parks.
Teaching – Experienced landscape gardeners might also consider moving into teaching.
How do you become a landscape gardener?
Training is usually required to become a landscape gardening. You might do this by –
- Taking a college course
- An apprenticeship
- A traineeship
- A specialist training course
- An online specialist training course
At ACS, we offer a range of landscaping courses to suit your needs whether you are just getting started in landscape gardening or want to develop specific and advanced knowledge in it.
All of our courses are studied by online learning, so you can study when you want, where you want and how you want with support from our excellent tutors.
You can view our landscaping courses here or contact us for more information.