Landscapers fill a variety of roles within the overall gardening community. They perform a myriad of tasks; including consulting with the landscape architect, and meeting with clients, nursery personnel, and other garden workers to clarify any points of interest. They are also required to prepare the grounds prior to planting seeds or young plants. This can be done with machinery for a large area, or using hand tools when a small yard requires a more delicate touch.
Since most of this work involves direct contact with plants and nursery stock in general, the normal day will be spent outside. Many landscaping careers benefit from the completion of a training program, which can leader to higher pay and more job opportunities. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Landscaping Job Responsibilities
There is a host of planning activity that must take place before any planting should be done. However, some time must be set aside for greenhouse duties if that is part of the business. Tending to stock, adding new species, and selling to customers are all items that require attention. Occasionally the job will require travel to another site. Important clients there may be in need of expertise for developing their own garden in a different state altogether.
Some other common duties involve the laying of sod for new home lawns, trimming trees, bushes, and hedges, and performing grass cutting and/or lawn fertilization for regular patrons. This also may entail the application of chemicals, or other pesticides, in order to control an insect problem that is affecting a part of the grounds.
Landscaping Training and Education Requirements
A professional in this area has many options to choose from in order to obtain the necessary training in this field. Some begin as general garden workers, applying the work habits through repetitive tasks until they become familiar. There are apprenticeship programs available too, that have a more rigorous approach that is structured, to better fit certain individuals. They are sponsored many times by local associations — who offer their expertise in order to safeguard the future.
Not all of these programs require a high school diploma, but they do necessitate an average of four years to finish, which includes on the job training in most cases, along with classroom study.
For the more studious individual, a degree in horticulture, landscape architecture, or lawn care is the ticket to a career in the gardening industry. They will use their education to obtain further certification in the application of poisons, pesticides, and other related chemicals, that are intended to protect a garden against dangerous infestation. Most states require a minimum certification licensure before an individual can even purchase the proper supplies for this type of work.
Landscaping Salary and Wages
People who do this kind of work are definitely not in it for the money. The average entry level salary is $19,781 per year. For the entire industry, the median wage is $26,416 annually, and the maximum pay tops out at $33,051 each year. It is certainly not for somebody who does not like to get their hands dirty, and is afraid of hard work.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
For those individual who are interested in a full time career with opportunities for further advancement, there are certifications that can be obtained online. A landscape design program can provide the proper training and education necessary to get a job in a large scale business. This can include such areas as pest control, soil management and identification, as well as plant health. There are jobs in natural parks that are in need of ground maintenance and beautification. Other areas of interest include colleges or universities in the public sector. Any building of note is physically more attractive with the addition of proper foliage.
With the proper certification or degree, landscapers earn a middle level annual salary which can vary depending on geographic location and/or shortage or workers. There are a wide variety of certifications types available, and many of these can be obtained through online sources. The state of Florida for example, has all of their programs offered this way, making it convenient for a potential applicant to quickly gain entrance to their system.
Another interesting certification subniche in the landscaping field is for landscaping inspection. It can be obtained for residential property, commercial property, site development, and zoning permits depending on the situation. This is relatively new, and it can also be obtained by filling out an application on the World Wide Web.
Landscaping Professional Associations
Landscapers can choose to join any number of professional organizations to further their education or simply to network with fellow experts. Among the many listed groups are the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), and the Lawn Landscape Association (LLA). These are just a few of the national enclaves that have formed a membership assembly in order to raise awareness of gardening issues.
There are also several local offshoots of these memberships such as the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals. It brings a professional presence to any office or business to be affiliated with these types of community-minded persons. Their intent is purely philanthropic, with the goal of helping to make gardening a larger part of the area.