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Landscaping Contractor: Salary and Career Facts

Read on to find out more about what landscaping contractors do and the relevant education options for becoming one. See where landscaping contractors work and what they earn.

What Does a Landscaping Contractor Do?

As a landscaping contractor, you may be engaged in a variety of tasks, depending on where you work. Many landscaping contractors are involved in the installation of garden landscapes for homes or businesses. Their roll involves placing bids to get jobs and inspecting job sites to ensure the quality of work. You might even create the landscapes if design is part of your education or experience.

Other landscaping contractors focus on specialty areas, such as irrigation systems, plant propagation in a nursery setting or sustainable landscape development. Supervising gardeners and grounds keeping workers is another important role for landscaping contractors, along with business management and marketing, especially if you are self-employed. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Landscape architecture
Key Responsibilities Make bids, supervise employees, insure quality work and design landscape
Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% (for all landscape architects)*
Median Salary (2019) $59,000 (for all landscape contractors)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

How Do I Become a Landscaping Contractor?

No formal requirements exist for become a landscaping contractor. Some people start as groundskeepers and, with on-the-job experience, eventually move into contractor positions. If you want to enter the gardening profession at the contractor level, however, employers often look for someone with higher education. A landscaping contractor certificate or bachelor's degree program can give you experience with plants and design, in addition to offering valuable business knowledge.

In a landscape contractor program, your studies would cross many disciplines. In a plant science course, you'd learn about plant structure and physiology, as well as exploring plant classifications and identification techniques. The selection and use of plants, the management of soil and the practices of sustainable growing are taught in gardening courses. Landscaping instruction involves the exploration of design theory and drawing, as well as opportunities to practice presentation of designs to potential clients. Finally, you'd learn how to run a business, from estimates and budgeting to contracts, insurance and client relations.

Where Could I Work?

Landscaping contractors fill many niches in the gardening and horticultural industries. Depending on your interests, you might work in residential gardens installing landscapes or for a college maintaining campus lawns and gardens. You might also find opportunities at a garden store or nursery or as a consultant with a county extension service. You might also choose to work indoors, doing design work at a greenhouse or conservatory. Sports arenas, golf courses and arboretums are just a few more of the many choices available for landscaping contract work.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2018 and 2028, landscape architects could see a 4% growth in employment (www.bls.gov). Landscaping contractors fall into this category. PayScale.com also reported that the median salary for landscaping contractors was $59,000 as of November 2019 (http://www.payscale.com).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

First line supervisors of landscaping may also review contracts and oversee the performance of employees. Surveyors are responsible for taking measures of the land that are used when developing architectural or landscaping projects.