Landscape Gardener: Salary and Career Facts

Landscape gardeners, or grounds maintenance workers, decorate yards, lawns and outdoor areas by planting and maintaining flowers, trees and shrubbery. Continue reading to find out more about becoming a landscape gardener, including education and training options, typical job duties, work environments and annual salaries. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Landscape Gardener?

A landscape gardener works outside on private yards and gardens, school campuses, parks, and public spaces. They are in charge of planting, trimming, weeding, and maintaining landscape designs. Depending on your level of experience and skill, you may work under the supervision of a manager or landscape designer or architect, or you may be involved in the design process yourself. The table below provides some more details about this career.

Degree Required Entry-level work requires only a high school and on-the-job-training; optional certificate and degree programs are available
Education Field of Study Landscape architecture or landscape gardening
Key Duties Working with grounds crews, performing lawn and soil care, mowing, pruning, watering, possibly assisting with landscape design
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%*
Median Salary (2015) $25,030* (for all landscaping and groundskeeping workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Education Will I Need For a Career as a Landscape Gardener?

Entry-level landscape gardeners generally need only a high school education and on-the-job training. If you would like to advance, you can enroll in a landscape gardener training program at a community college, and acquire a certificate or an associate's degree.

Another option is participating in an apprenticeship program through a local organization. This type of program might last up to four years. You could also obtain a bachelor's degree in horticulture or landscape design. This route could be useful if you'd like to eventually become a landscape designer or landscape architect.

Certificate training programs will likely consist of courses in basic landscaping techniques, pest management and laboratory work related to gardening. In an associate's degree program, you'll study subjects such as landscape design, vegetable and fruit production and greenhouse operations, along with general education courses in humanities, geometry and social science. A bachelor's degree program in landscape architecture will cover topics such as landscape architecture ecology, plant design and landscape engineering.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Some of your job tasks may include watering, mowing and maintaining lawns, trimming walkway edges, planting trees and flowers, and fertilizing grounds. You'll confer with customers or landscape architects regarding work projects. Part of your job might entail working in a nursery setting, where you will cultivate and sell plants.

Additional responsibilities might include trimming trees, weeding lawns, installing lighting systems and sprinklers, and advising customers on proper plant care. It will be important that you learn to use the equipment and tools of your trade safely and correctly. These will include riding lawn mowers, power rakes, chainsaws, loaders and tractors.

What Kinds of Environments Could I Work In?

Landscape gardeners can work in a variety of different settings, among them parks and recreation areas, botanical gardens, apartment complexes, private homes and office parks. Other opportunities may exist in lawn care companies, retail garden centers and tree farms. In some cases, you might work on golf courses and athletic fields.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscaping and groundkeepings worker who worked in the recreational industry earned average annual salaries of $24,820 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Landscape gardeners who worked for local governments earned annual average salaries of about $31,550 that year, according to the BLS, while gardeners who provided landscape services for buildings and dwellings earned an average of $26,940 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you enjoy working with your hands in an outdoor setting, you may also be interested in a career as an agricultural worker. This job involves working on a farm or ranch and helping with crop planting and harvesting and general upkeep. You could also work as a forest and conservation worker, which entails working to maintain and preserve forests.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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