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How Do I Become a Landscape Foreman?

A landscape foreman plans and oversees the beautification of gardens, parks, and other green spaces. Read on to find out job duties, required experience, licensure regulations, and salary information for this profession.

What Is a Landscape Foreman?

Landscape foremen are responsible for the maintenance and general upkeep of green spaces in residential, public, and private areas. They typically oversee groups of workers to ensure a project is completed properly and on time. To do so, foremen should be familiar with a wide range of maintenance activities, such as pest control, pruning, and soil maintenance, as well as factors for determining plant health. Additionally, foremen may be in charge of training new employees, requiring dedication and patience. They also perform administrative tasks, such as providing price estimates and reviewing contracts. For more about becoming a landscape foreman, check out the table below.

Degree Required None required; certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs are available
Education Field of Study Horticulture, landscaping
Training RequiredOn-the-job training
Key Duties Supervising grounds crews
Licensure/Certification RequiredLicense for pesticide/herbicide application may be required; voluntary certification available
Job Growth (2018-2028) 9% growth* (for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers)
Mean Salary (2018) $51,280* (for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers)

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

What Does A Landscape Foreman Do?

Landscape foremen supervise the maintenance of indoor and outdoor gardens and settings for residences, public areas, and private businesses. Generally responsible for supervising landscapers rather than performing actual landscaping, foremen plan and manage projects, ensure proper equipment and materials are available and delegate tasks for one or more jobs. Although duties are typically relegated to management, landscape foremen must be familiar with the methods and practices of garden and soil maintenance, pest control, and landscape design.

Foremen may specialize primarily on a specific type of vegetation, such as trees, lawns, or bushes, or in recreational landscaping, including public parks or residential gardens. However, expertise in a broad range of plant types and settings may provide increased job opportunities. Although a foreman assigns many physical duties to professional landscapers, they may be responsible for providing training in certain areas and evaluating employee performance.

What Kind of Training Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), college education is not usually required to be a landscape foreman, though experience is essential (www.bls.gov). Landscape companies typically train new employees through on-the-job apprentice programs. Employers of landscape foremen typically look for those with 3-7 years' experience in the field. Some training in business, sales, or landscape design may also be preferred.

Several schools do offer certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree programs in landscaping, horticulture, or a related area. Coursework teaches you how to design landscapes or improve on existing gardens or parks. Studies in planting, fertilizing, pruning, and other maintenance techniques provide a solid foundation for a career in landscaping. You may also pursue a business degree or certificate to acquire basic skills in marketing, computer operations, employee management, accounting, and problem-solving. If you're interested in landscape design, electives in mechanical drafting or computer design software may be beneficial.

Is Certification or Licensure Required?

According to the BLS, most states regulate licensure for contractors and landscapers who use pesticides or herbicides (www.bls.gov). Requirements vary, but many states mandate a combination of experience and training, as well as a certifying exam and licensing fee.

You can earn voluntary certification through a professional association, such as the Professional Grounds Management Society or Professional Landcare Network. Credentials, including the Certified Grounds Manager and Landscape Industry Certified Manager, generally require that you complete formal training or education in horticulture and landscaping. Continuing education, self-study and professional contributions to the field may be required for certification renewal.

What Kind of Salary Can I Earn?

In May 2018, the BLS reported average salaries of landscaping management workers were $51,280 per year. The majority of those were employed in the building and dwelling services industry and the recreation industry, though the highest paid worked for the federal government. According to PayScale.com, landscaping supervisors with 5-9 years' experience earned median salaries of $40,405, while entry-level supervisors earned median salaries of $41,203 as of November 2019.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Agricultural workers work on farms under the supervision of farmers and ranchers, doing much of the physical labor and maintenance involved in tending crops, raising livestock, and repairing the ranch. While many have a high school diploma, it is not required for this job. The same is true for the farmers and ranchers who oversee them, with many schools offering higher education in farming to teach them the basics of crop science, soil science, farm management and more. Forest and conservation workers monitor the growth and health of forests to try and improve their overall quality. These professionals work under the guidance of foresters and forest and conservation technicians, needing only a high school diploma for work.