How To Become a Landscaper in 7 Steps

If you’ve ever stopped and admired the gorgeous lawns and landscapes around buildings, homes, golf courses, and more, you’ve probably wondered who is responsible for keeping those areas beautiful, clean, and safe.

In short, people employed as landscapers — often called groundskeepers, landscape architects, maintenance workers, and more — are the ones in charge of handling those beautiful landscapes.

Landscapers don’t require (by law) too much formal training, education, or certification, but there are plenty of courses, education, training, and certifications that you can participate in to become one of the best landscapers in the business.

Want to learn more about how to become a landscaper, what sort of education is required to become a landscaper, what landscapers make, and more, read on!

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How to become a landscaper
  1. Earn a high school diploma. For many employers, a high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to work as a landscaper. …
  2. Learn a range of skills. …
  3. Apply for an apprenticeship. …
  4. Consider a trade school or degree. …
  5. Check licensing requirements. …
  6. Earn certifications. …
  7. Start your own business.

How To Be A Landscaper, Your Skillset

What does a landscaper do?

Landscapers analyze the space and land available to recommend or create design elements. Landscapers work in various conditions with the resources and materials available to them. In some areas, landscaping is seasonal work when summer weed trimming turns to winter snow blowing.

These professionals are safety conscious since they have a significant risk of injury. They work with hand and power tools for plant removal and lawn and feature maintenance. Landscapers may come in contact with pesticides or chemicals and frequently work in changing weather conditions.

Landscapers typically bid on projects, then meet with the client to work together to plan and budget landscaping projects. Landscapers might work with landscape designers or landscape architects in order to fulfill a clients vision. They prepare the land they work with, including conditioning the soil and installing irrigation systems.

What is a landscaper?

A landscaper is a professional who uses their knowledge of math, science and horticulture to design foliage, water features, paths and walkways for both form and function. They use creativity and imagination to design landscapes for businesses, private homes, golf courses and public spaces.

Some landscapers work for lawn services, civil services or commercial entities while others are self-employed. Ground maintenance and groundskeeper are similar terms for a landscaper. Landscapers work alone or in teams, and some may have specializations, such as:

How to become a landscaper

Aspiring landscapers learn and develop many of their skills by watching, learning and doing while on the job. Although there is no defined path to become a landscaper, here are seven steps you can take to start your career as a landscaper:

1. Earn a high school diploma

For many employers, a high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to work as a landscaper. Earn your diploma or equivalent and consider taking gardening or horticulture classes if youre still in school. Consider joining a gardening club at school to build your skills as a landscaper.

2. Learn a range of skills

Consider searching for landscaping or gardening groups and join to learn how to plant, use tools and operate machinery. You can find out if your local community colleges or extension services offer continuing education programs, or check with your state department of agriculture.

Volunteering at a community or botanical garden or joining a gardening club can help you find landscaping job opportunities. By varying your experiences, you have the opportunity to explore different types of landscaping to get a better idea of career paths you like best or where your strengths lie.

3. Apply for an apprenticeship

Often, local nurseries or landscaping companies may offer advice on where to apply for an apprenticeship or offer opportunities to apply. Consider asking if the company participates in mentoring or apprenticeships, then find out who to contact and send in your application.

Apprenticeships offer on-the-job training and experience that can result in a permanent position or provide the skills youll need to pursue a full-time, paid position. Choose an apprenticeship that will teach you skills like:

4. Consider a trade school or degree

Trade schools may provide an associate degree or certificate in horticulture, landscaping or starting your own landscaping business. For those who are advancing or expanding their careers, pursuing a bachelors degree is the next step. Trade schools and degree programs cover:

5. Check licensing requirements

Licensing requirements for landscapers vary from state to state. Some locations may require a license to install irrigation systems, apply pesticides or operate certain machinery. Check with your state to find out what the licensing requirements are and get details on how to maintain your license.

6. Earn certifications

To improve your chances of getting a job in landscaping, consider earning certifications. Search the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) or the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) for available certifications. Opportunities may vary by location, check with your local chapter or organization. Depending on the course, certification can take anywhere from six to ten weeks to complete. Available certifications include:

7. Start your own business

Landscapers may choose to open their own landscaping business. Landscaping business owners purchase their own tools, advertise their business and develop their skills to expand their services.

Some certification or degree programs offer courses specifically for starting your own business. If this is your preferred route, learn the details of a landscaping business, such as:

Skills for successful landscapers

Landscapers develop an array of abilities that serve them as they design landscapes, implement ideas and work with clients. Some skills are unique to the position, while others transfer to other jobs or roles. The most common skills of landscapers are:

Physical strength

Landscaping is a physical job that requires physical fitness. Landscapers do a lot of bending, lifting, digging or shoveling. Along with strength, manual dexterity and overall flexibility are beneficial to landscapers. The job often involves moving heavy equipment or debris, or working with power tools. Landscapers frequently use tools such as:

Safety consciousness

Landscapers are safety-oriented and take precautions to avoid injuries. This may include wearing protective equipment like helmets or goggles, or ensuring full knowledge of equipment before the landscaper or their employee attempts to operate it.

Organization

Landscapers set expectations for a project and ensure they meet the project milestones. Whether the project is large or small, landscapers keep careful records in the best interest of the client and the business.

Attention to detail

Landscapers are visual artists whose attention to detail is the hallmark of a successful landscaper. They must be conscious of color coordination, the ideal curve of a path or regulating proper irrigation settings.

Critical thinking

Landscapers are critical thinkers who find effective solutions to problems. They consult with other landscape or groundskeeper professionals to assess projects and find ways to execute their ideas.

Communication

Landscapers work with many different personalities and job roles, making them effective at communicating across a wide spectrum. Business owners, homeowners or government representatives each require a unique approach, and landscapers are adept at communicating with clients, colleagues and officials.

FAQ

Is landscaping a hard career?

Is landscaping a hard job? For the average person, yes. But it’s also an incredibly financially and emotionally rewarding career for many. If you dream of being a professional landscaper, then don’t let the prospect of physical labor scare you away.

What skills are needed to be a landscaper?

Here are six skills you need in order to work as a landscaper:
  • Lawn maintenance. Many times, people first seek out a landscaper to help keep up with their lawn. …
  • Soil and irrigation management. …
  • Tree and bush work. …
  • Attention to detail. …
  • Pest control. …
  • Hardscaping. …
  • Take an online course. …
  • Share your goals and find a mentor.

How do landscapers make money?

We asked members of the Pro Panel what they’ve found to be the best ways to do just that.
  1. Manage labor “to the minute” …
  2. Study, measure each job. …
  3. Differentiate yourself. …
  4. Look for upsell opportunities. …
  5. Seek out higher-margin opportunities. …
  6. Buy smarter. …
  7. Seek help, steal ideas.

Can you get rich doing landscaping?

Wealth from landscaping is a choice. And YES… it’s 100% possible to become very wealthy from the income you create while providing lawn & landscaping services. However, it’s also possible your company could crash and burn during the next economic meltdown.

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