Landscapers survey and assess landscapes; draw sketches and build models of landscape designs; construct and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses, and other landscaped environments; advise clients on issues related to horticulture, such as irrigation; breed, cultivate, and study plants; and treat injured and diseased trees and plants. They are employed by landscape designers and contractors, lawn service and tree care establishments, golf courses, nurseries and greenhouses, and municipal, provincial and national parks, or they may be self-employed.
Using their talent for design and passion for practical work, Landscapers create functional, beautiful, and relaxing gardens for all kinds of clients, from private companies to individual customers.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Landscapers are required to complete.
- Designing, crafting, regenerating, and maintaining outside spaces:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their requirements for the landscaping project;
- working alongside the Landscape Architect to plan, sketch, design, and construct landscaped environments which may include trees, shrubberies, lawns, fences, decks, patios, and other landscape structures;
- planning and coordinating the growth and use of plants for landscaping, ornamental uses, and other purposes;
- surveying and assessing sites, preparing reports, and performing other duties to assist Landscape Architects in designing landscaped environments;
- planting trees, bushes, flowers, shrubs, and any other kind of greenery;
- examining trees and shrubs to diagnose problems and diseases, so as to apply various treatments such as pruning, spraying, repairing damaged areas, and injecting with treatment solutions;
- treating lawns and soil with nourishing chemicals;
- decorating the garden with lighting, furniture, and other finishing touches, if necessary;
- gathering and removing litter;
- maintaining public lawns and gardens by mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, and raking; and
- when working on a golf course, maintaining the health and appearance of the golf courses and their surrounding landscapes, planting and moving trees, as well as applying fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides.
- Advising clients on plant selection and care.
- Building fences, erecting gazebos, constructing rockeries, laying decking, positioning patio blocks, installing rock gardens, ponds, decks, drainage systems, irrigation systems, retaining walls, fences, planters, and playground equipment.
- Using irrigation methods to adjust the amount of water consumption in order to prevent waste.
- Renting the necessary equipment, recruiting additional workers when needed, and procuring all of the required materials, such as wood, cement, plants, pebbles, fertilizers, and soil:
- Using, maintaining, and repairing hand or power tools or equipment, such as power mowers, edgers, trimmers, electric clippers, shears, pruners, chain saws, shovels, rakes, tractors, snow blowers, and other gardening tools.
- Shoveling snow from walks, driveways, or parking lots, if any, and spread salt in those areas.
- Providing maintenance for outside spaces.
- 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 handling 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. Employers tend to place more emphasis on the importance of experience rather than academic qualifications. However, having a trade school degree in a relevant subject, such as Horticulture or Landscape Management will boost the candidate’s chances of securing the job. Developing a strong knowledge of pesticides, horticultural processes, and the basics of mechanics could also provide a strong set of skills to the applicant.
Landscapers can improve their marketability and stand out from their competition by pursuing a certification. 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. Landscape Architects are required to study, analyze, and plan the environment which they are working with, trying to realize the client’s vision. There are many other individuals that may be involved in the landscaping process as well, such as Botanists, Florists, and Gardeners.
Landscapers are likely to move into a managerial position while they progress in their careers. Furthermore, once they have gained enough experience, they could have the opportunity to start their own landscaping business or complete further studies to become a Landscape Architect.
Landscapers tend to work in the great outdoors all year round, so they need to be prepared to encounter all kinds of weather conditions, such as wind, rain, hail, and snow. 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.