Landscape Gardener

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Landscape Gardener


With their 'green thumbs' landscape gardeners can turn a yard full of mud and weeds into a beautiful lawn with trees, shrubs, flowers and even ponds. It takes careful planning of both the building and the surrounding trees, gardens, and lawn to make a home truly wondrous. This is where the skills of a landscape gardener are needed.

Landscape gardeners are the individuals who work to restore those muddy fields, and create beautiful gardens full of flowers and plants. They work on private properties, public grounds, golf courses, greenhouses, and indoor gardens to create and maintain inspiring flower beds, lawns, and trees. Specially trained, they use their knowledge of botany, landscape installation, plant materials, soil science, and pest and disease identification and treatment, to work alongside landscape architects, nursery and garden workers, fulfilling the wishes of their clients.

They prepare the ground for planting, transplant nursery plants, use fertilizers and pesticides, seed and sod lawns, trim and prune hedges, trees, and shrubs, install rock gardens, ponds, decks, drainage systems, retaining walls, fences, and planters, and advise clients on plant care. They often work with tools ranging from small trowels to large ride-on mowers, tractors, and loaders, depending on the clients' needs. This means the landscape gardener also needs to be able to make some small engine repairs.

Landscape gardeners don't just putter around in sun hats, pulling weeds and planting bulbs. Landscape gardening is a tough job, involving elements of science and creativity in creating beautiful, functional gardens for all to enjoy.
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
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  Interests and Skills  
Landscape gardeners must love the outdoors and nature as they spend hours of each day with plants. They need stamina, strength, and a strong body for hours of hard work. Landscape gardeners need to have good eyesight, and a creative, artistic flair for design. They are patient, thorough, and sensitive to others' ideas. Landscape gardeners are respectful of the environment in which they work and they are willing to look for environmentally sound solutions as well as able to use chemicals when necessary. They need good communication skills and the ability to work alone and as part of a team.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Consult with landscape architects, clients, nursery personnel and garden workers about projects
  • Prepare the ground for planting
  • Transplant nursery stock
  • Use chemical and natural herbicides and pesticides
  • Sod lawns
  • Trim and prune hedges, trees and shrubs
  • Perform routine lawn and garden maintenance for regular customers
  • Raise plants in a nursery
  • Provide advice to customers on plant selection and care
  • The typical day of a landscape gardener will involve lots of exposure to plants. During the summer, most of every day will be spent outdoors, planning, planting, and maintaining gardens. The gardener will also spend some time in a nursery setting, raising and selling plants. They will also go to various meetings with clients, landscape architects, and garden workers, to discuss future projects. There will be some travel, especially if the clients are developing gardens in other cities or regions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Landscape gardeners spend most of each day with plants, working outside, or indoors in nurseries or botanical gardens. They can be exposed to dangerous chemicals, as well as required to lift heavy equipment and materials.
  • Landscape gardeners are usually employed by retail gardening centers, landscaping and lawn care agencies, indoor gardens and botanical centers, tree farms, cemeteries, greenhouses, or government departments (such as recreation and parks).

  Long Term Career Potential  
Landscape gardeners can advance to supervisory positions, or start their own gardening company. They can also return to school and train to be landscape technicians, landscape architects, or arborists. They can open their own nurseries or retail gardening center, or write articles and books about gardening and landscape maintenance.

  Educational Paths  
There are several routes to take towards becoming a landscape gardener. Some people learn informally, beginning as general garden workers, while some acquire skills through apprenticeship training programs which don't always require high school diplomas. They are often offered through local associations, and can on average four years to complete, including on-the-job training and some classroom study.

There is also the route of working towards a university degree or college diploma in horticulture, landscape architecture, or lawn care, and putting that education towards a career in gardening.

Landscape gardeners may also need to obtain certification which enables them to work with pesticides, depending on the area they work in.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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