Open Colleges

What’s it really like to be a Landscaper?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: December 16, 2020

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Do you:

  • love spending time outdoors?
  • have a keen eye for detail?
  • enjoy showing off your creative talents?
  • not mind getting your hands dirty (literally)?

If you answered YES to the above questions, then a career as a Landscaper could be the ideal job for you.

Being a Landscaper is a great career choice for those who like working with their hands and who enjoy being outdoors. If you get more pleasure out of the sight of a gorgeous, green garden than a meticulous spreadsheet, then this could be the right career for you.

In this blog we take a look at what it’s like to be a Landscaper, the skills needed to become a Landscaper as well as the facts and figures behind the industry.

Landscaper Laying Turf

What is landscaping?

Landscaping involves improving an existing environment. This could be for functional purposes or to make the environment look more aesthetically pleasing.

Landscaping incorporates both softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping includes all the ‘soft’ elements of a garden such as plants, trees, turf and soil. While hardscaping includes the ‘hard’ elements like pavers, patios, walls, raised flower beds, water features and more. Generally speaking, hardscaping is the first part of a project to be completed. Then the soft elements are added in afterwards.

What does a Landscaper do?

A Landscaper’s job is to make improvements to an outdoor space by planting flowers, trees and shrubs, trimming hedges, watering and fertilising plants, controlling pests and adding hardscape elements such as gravel paths and pavers.

This can be a physically demanding job, so it’s important that you’re physically fit and not afraid of a little manual labour. But this is also a benefit – your job doubles as a workout routine and you get to stay fit while getting paid!

Depending on your role and your level of experience, you may also oversee landscaping projects, liaise with suppliers, meet with clients and ensure that all the right building approvals have been checked off before work begins.

Designing larger projects, such as golf courses or parklands, will usually fall under the domain of Landscape Architects.

Tasks and duties of a Landscaper:

  • Designing and constructing parks and gardens for both residential and public areas.
  • Maintaining healthy plant growth (including flowers, shrubs, trees, lawns, etc) and removing weeds.
  • Cleaning outdoor facilities.
  • Operating equipment such as ride-on mowers and chainsaws, and using both hand and power tools.
  • Co-ordinating with Landscape Architects or even Interior Designers to make sure that the landscaping meets client expectations.
  • Advising clients on how to look after their green spaces.

Skills you need to be a successful Landscaper:

  • You need to be physically fit and not mind working in different weather conditions.
  • You need a strong knowledge base when it comes to plants and their upkeep.
  • You need to be confident operating machinery, like ride-on mowers.
  • A keen eye for detail and a flair for creativity help when selecting the right kinds of flowers, shrubs and trees that will really make a garden pop.
  • Project management skills and the ability to co-ordinate with others will be important. You’ll also need to be comfortable working autonomously, as some projects may end up being a one-person job.

Lawn Mower

What does a Landscaper’s workplace look like?

Landscapers can work in a variety of different settings. Some may work directly for a local council, maintaining and designing public spaces; others may work for landscaping companies that are contracted to different clients. They may also work for themselves, consulting directly with clients.

Landscapers work across a number of different environments. Anywhere there is a green space, a Landscaper will be involved. Whether it’s a private residential garden, a university campus, a restaurant courtyard or a playground – all these spaces need a professional to help craft and maintain the perfect green space.

Some Landscapers may also have a special focus – whether they specialise in working with native plants, creating sustainable environments or working in inner-city environments.

Is there demand for Landscapers?

This industry is expected to have moderate growth in future years. So while the demand for Landscapers is not as strong as, say, healthcare workers, work is by no means drying up for those looking to pursue a career in landscaping.

The majority of Landscapers work full time, and the average work week is around 43 hours. The average Landscaper salary is around $1078 per week.

Do I need to study horticulture to become a Landscaper?

While you don’t necessarily need a formal qualification to become a Landscaper, the vast majority of people working in this field (more than 54%) hold a VET qualification.

Studying a horticulture qualification will give you a better understanding of the theory behind landscaping before you start your career. Plus, a VET qualification will make you stand out compared to other job applicants who don’t have any formal training.

In addition, a certificate in horticulture can help open up job opportunities in other jobs adjacent to landscaping that you might also be interested in.

At OC, you can study the AHC30716 Certificate III in Horticulture online, which means you can study at your own pace in your own time.

This course will teach you in-demand skills employers are looking for; and as the course allows you to specialise in open space management, it broadens your employment opportunities to include organisations such as governments and local councils.

What are you waiting for? If you’re ready to pursue a career in landscaping, then enrol with OC today.


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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