In broad terms, a Landscaper is a type of Architect that specializes in creating outdoor sceneries, such as gardens, squares, or even parks. Landscapers are often confused with Gardeners due to the fact that they both work outdoors and with plants. While many Landscapers may have a green thumb or a personal liking to using vegetation in their designs, they do much more than that. These professionals usually use all sorts of elements (e.g. wood, stone, concrete, and artificial brooks, streams, or waterfalls) in order to create a harmonious outdoor space.
Many Landscapers may work for architectural or design firms where they may be hired to create or remodel outdoor spaces. In most cases they will work together with Architects from the same firm in order to create an integrated design where indoors and outdoors ambiances complement each other. However, it is also possible for Landscapers to work in firms dedicated solely to outdoor design, or they might as well work as freelancers.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Landscapers are required to complete.
- Designing, crafting, regenerating, and maintaining outside spaces:
- Asking clients about the designs or styles they would like;
- working alongside the Landscape Architect to sketch and design outdoor environments using all sorts of materials and elements (e.g. vegetation, stones, structures, and artificial ponds);
- liaising with Gardeners in order to plant and grow the desired vegetation according to plans;
- monitoring progress to ensure that everything is going according to design as well as filing regular reports based on progress;
- working with Gardeners and botany specialists when necessary to ensure the health of plants and other vegetation in site;
- purchasing and using the best manure available;
- adding extra elements to the landscape (e.g. torches, bridges, or other structures);
- following and adhering to laws and regulations regarding gardens and public spaces; and
- when commissioned to work on a golf course, adhering to regulations and maintaining a clear game path.
- Advising clients on plant selection and care.
- Placing elements according to design (e.g. gazeboes, decks, bridges, and artificial ponds, streams, or waterfalls).
- Placing irrigation systems for vegetation, maintain an adequate consumption of water.
- Liaising with contractors and building companies in order to hire the necessary qualified workers in order to realize the design:
- Renting the necessary power tools as well as ensuring that all safety precautions are followed when workers operate them.
- Removing snow from walking areas with the help of qualified workers, as well as spreading salt in order to avoid slippery roads.
- Designing and providing maintenance to outdoor environments.
- Working alongside the Landscape Architect to design a landscape plan, as well as showing it to the client for approval.
- Planting all kinds of greenery.
- Advising clients on plant selection and care.
- Renting the necessary equipment, recruiting additional workers when needed, and procuring all of the required materials.
- Using and installing irrigation systems.
- Using power tools and gardening equipment.
The average Landscaper salary is $36,586 per year or $19 per hour. This is around 1.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $26,000 while most experienced workers make up to $51,000. These results are based on 251 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding levels of stamina and creativity.
- Interpersonal, communication, and customer service skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients and colleagues; and
- providing excellent customer service to clients.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while managing a high volume of work; and
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Exceptional attention to detail.
- Continual focus on safety and client satisfaction:
- Wearing steel-toed safety boots, gloves, and safety goggles; and
- following the plans set by the Architect, as well as the requirements of the client.
- Self-motivated and willing to work independently with minimal supervision.
- Manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength:
- Having a full range of motion in the upper and lower body in order to bend, stoop, lift, carry heavy objects, pull, push, squat, and stand for long periods of time; and
- being able to work under strenuous weather conditions.
Aside from the skills listed above, Landscapers need to have a good knowledge of the plants that they are using and maintaining, the lay of the land, and dynamic strength. As there are no educational requirements for this profession, Landscapers usually receive on-the-job training.
Architectural and Landscaping firms often give more importance to past working experience over academic achievements when hiring new workers. This should not mean, however, that education is irrelevant in this field. Aspirants Landscapers must present a portfolio with past projects and designs, but they must also have acquired a degree in Architecture, Outdoor Design, or Landscaping from an accredited college or university. Most courses in Landscaping cover basic and intermediate knowledge of horticulture, botany, and agriculture,
Certification is also available for Canadian Landscapers who wish to acquire them. The Landscape Industry Certified Program of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CLNA) offers four certifications for landscape professionals:
- Landscape Industry Certified Technician;
- Landscape Industry Certified Manager;
- Landscape Industry Certified Retail Horticulturist; and
- Landscape Industry Certified Designer.
A landscaping team consists of the Architect and the Landscaper, as well as other workers. Landscaping requires intensive preparation as professionals must study and analyze the soil and terrain they’re working on. There are many other individuals that may be involved in the landscaping process as well, such as Botanists, Florists, and Gardeners.
With enough experience, a Landscaper can move up and take more managerial and administrative tasks within their firms, such as being project leaders. They may also start their own Architectural and Landscaping firms if they so desire.
Due to the nature of their work, Landscapers spend large amounts of time outdoors, meaning precautions must be taken when working during different seasons. They will also need to work early mornings and weekends to finish their projects. Landscapers need a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their tools to job sites within their designated area.