Gardener Job Description
Gardeners keep outdoor spaces healthy and beautiful. This position is ideal for people who enjoy being in nature, like learning about plants types, and have an eye for detail. Gardeners perform basic pruning and flowerbed cultivation. They mow lawns, pull weeds, and install landscapes. Gardeners work for a variety of employers including landscaping companies, horticulture design and installation firms, government agencies, universities, and tree nurseries. They are employed full or part time under the supervision of a crew leader and team. Gardeners operate in wet or humid conditions and varying temperatures. These outdoor lovers work hard and must be strong enough to perform a variety of physical activities during eight-hour days.
Gardener Duties and Responsibilities
Gardeners mow lawns and monitor the watering needs of the grounds under their care. They nurture lawns by weeding, aerating, and adding mulch where necessary. Gardeners trim lawn edges for neatness, remove lawn clippings, and clear other debris from the ground using rakes, brooms, and powered leaf blowers.
Prune Trees and Shrubs
Pruning trees and shrubs is an important task for gardeners. They use various tools to neatly shape bushes and trees to a desired design. By performing basic pruning and trimming, gardeners cultivate different types of plants such as annuals and perennials.
Monitor Plant Health Problems
Gardeners monitor tree and plant health problems. They grow plants of all sizes using seeds, seedlings, and plant cuttings. To maintain care for young plants, they prepare soil and planting beds. Additionally, gardeners perform pest control and manage weed control.
Apply Fertilizers and Weed-Control Agents
Gardeners encourage the right types of grasses and plants to grow on the land they manage. Applying liquid fertilizers and chemical control agents is another responsibility they take on. Weed removal is important to protect the attractiveness of the landscapes they work on.
Maintain Gardening Equipment and Tools
Preserving and maintaining gardening tools is a key responsibility of gardeners. On a typical day, they may change oil and replace filters on gasoline-powered mowers and trimmers. Before taking care of a property, a gardener often sharpens or replaces mower blades or changes sprinkler heads. An effective gardener keeps inventory of their tools and cleans them often.
Gardener Skills and Qualifications
People with physical stamina who enjoy working outdoors with all types of plants thrive as gardeners. Employers generally seek some gardening experience and a basic knowledge of common trees, shrubs, perennials, herbs, grasses, and bulbs. The following skills are essential to getting the job done:
- Landscape maintenance – performing basic plant cultivation, pruning, trimming, and weed removal essential for gardeners
- Soil preparation – gardeners regularly engage in laying sod and preparing soil and plant seedlings, bulbs, flowers, and shrubs. They place the greenery in proper soil beds, patterns, and chosen locations to achieve a lovely appearance of the grounds, while watering as needed
- Plant installation – gardeners install new projects and transplant a variety of greenery
- Horticulture knowledge – the ability to identify different plant species is important for gardeners because they must know which plants hurt or help their grounds
- Landscape design – gardeners learn how to plan and properly lay out plants and trees using gardening blueprints, sketches, and technical manuals
- Physical fitness – gardeners must be able to lift and move up to 50 pounds on a constant basis. They regularly lift objects such as soil bags, gardening tools, and powered landscape equipment. Gardeners must be in good physical condition in order to bend, walk, stoop, and travel long distances across grounds
- Communication skills – gardeners often work with team members or clients and must have effective communication skills to successfully complete their work
- Time management – due to the nature of their work, gardeners must multitask and properly manage their working hours to accomplish a variety of projects on a single property
Tools of the Trade
Gardeners work in diverse outdoor conditions and are comfortable using the following tools and equipment in a typical workday:
- Powered gardening tools (lawn mowers, edgers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, seeders, tillers, and leaf blowers)
- Fertilizing tools (walk-behind spreader, liquid sprayers, and mix applicators)
- Soil maintenance tools (shovels, hoes, rakes, cultivators, aerators, compactors, or dethatchers)
- Pruning tools (shears, hand pruners, pole saws)
Gardener Education and Training
A high school diploma and a minimum of one year of gardening, landscape, or nursery experience is required for most gardening jobs. Additional coursework in horticulture or landscape architecture is also helpful. Some gardeners also receive on-the-job training in junior positions on a gardening team.
Gardener Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for gardeners, categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as grounds maintenance workers, is nearly $27,670. Gardeners in the bottom 10 percent earn about $20,000 per year, and the highest paid make in excess of $42,000. Full-time gardeners employed by large companies typically receive a benefits package that includes health insurance and paid time off.
Industry employment for gardeners is expected to grow 11 percent through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as faster than average among all occupations. As demand for landscaping and lawn service care from large institutions and homeowners continues to grow, the job outlook remains positive.
We searched the web to find the best industry resources to help you explore a new gardening career. From national associations to career guides, this list is packed with resources to help you develop your skills and land an excellent job:
Careers in Horticulture and Botany – get invaluable tips for landing a job in the diverse gardening field and gain the horticulture knowledge needed to succeed
The National Gardening Association – learn how to successfully grow plants from this organization boasting over a million members
The American Horticultural Society – read trusted gardening and horticultural tips from one of America’s oldest gardening associations
Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations – this science-based book is packed with information all gardeners need to know, covering everything from perennials and bulbs to trees and soil cultivation
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Worker Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted – win your dream gardening job and learn how to get a promotion using the tips in this book
Gardener Resume Help
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