what is a gardener?

As a gardener, you work with plants. That means you grow and tend to various trees, shrubs and flowers. You cultivate and maintain the plants in their natural habitat while using them to improve the overall appearance of public or private property. Gardeners make over existing gardens or develop and maintain new landscapes using horticultural knowledge and creativity. Their job is to inspect the plants to ensure they are healthy and disease free.

Since you create a functional and attractive landscape, you should determine garden features that enhance the garden's natural beauty. For instance, you guide customers in planting vegetables, fruits or flowers to achieve the desired effect. You also recommend non-organic garden features like paths, fences and pergolas that enhance the landscape's aesthetic appeal.

As a professional gardener, you are experienced in cultivating all types of flowers and can work in public parks and private estates or residences. You also work in schools, sports grounds and public gardens to maintain the plants and flowers or improve the garden features to boost the beauty of the landscape.

While joining the role doesn't require educational skills, you need other qualities and soft skills to excel in the role. For instance, you should be creative and enjoy a practical outdoor lifestyle to bring a garden to life.

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average gardener salary

Gardeners provide their services frequently to ensure the gardens are well-maintained and beautiful. The average hourly rate for gardeners is between $23 - $30 per hour. The differences in earnings usually depend on the employer and the complexity of tasks. Most employers pay similar hourly rates for basic gardening services like weeding, hedging, lawn mowing and cleaning. However, specialised tasks may attract additional charges.

how to increase your salary as a gardener

As a gardener, your skills and experience influence your remuneration. While most gardeners can weed and prune plants and flowers, you need the expertise to organise gardens and improve their appeal. Creating non-organic garden features also improves your salary prospects. When you are new in the trade, you have minimal experience. However, the longer you work in the field, the higher your earnings. With experience, you can perform professional landscaping duties and offer specialised services to clients, increasing your remuneration prospects.

The complexity of tasks and the type of employer also impact your salaries. For instance, if the gardening duties only involve weeding, your earnings will be low compared to complex jobs like tree lopping and lawn care. Working for a private gardening service company also boosts your earnings compared to working for the government.

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types of gardeners

As a gardener, you can explore various specialisations, including:

  • landscaping gardener: as a landscaping gardener, you design and maintain public and private gardens to ensure they are aesthetically pleasing. You regularly renovate gardens, adding new plants and non-organic features to create a functional space for municipal parks or private gardens. You also develop plans for play structures or fences and incorporate arches and garden furniture.
  • garden designer: as a garden designer, you create beautiful and enchanting parks and gardens using architectural structures and vegetation. You use your skills to construct an interplay of shapes and colours or volumes and voids for a harmonious arrangement of plants and ornamental features.

working as a gardener

Gardening is an exciting career if you love bonding with nature and caring for plants. It also brings out your creative side and eye for detail. Let's explore other aspects of the role to help you make an informed choice about becoming a gardener.

cycling male, autumn
cycling male, autumn

gardener education and skills

There are no specific requirements or formal qualifications to become a gardener. However, experience or a National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4) may be useful. Those who want to further their career may study towards a National Certificate in Horticulture (Levels 1-3), National Certificate in Horticulture – Amenity Horticulture (Level 4) or a National Certificate in Horticulture – Landscaping (Level 4).

  • experience: find an entry-level role to gain relevant work experience working with different plants and environments. The experience gives you a competitive edge and improves your skills.

gardener skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of gardeners include:

  • patience: cultivating and caring for plants takes time and requires patience. Plants need time to grow. Making changes to the garden also takes time for the results to be visible.
  • creativity: as a gardener, you design the aesthetics of a garden and create unique arrangements. Creativity helps you develop appealing and beautiful gardens in parks and private residences.
  • attention to detail: it is important to keep an eye on the plants for minor changes. Your detail-oriented skills help you spot pests or plant diseases before they cause extensive damage.
  • organisational skills: as a gardener, you tend to various plant needs. Hence, you should organise your schedule to encompass all your duties. Organisational skills also help you arrange plants artfully.

FAQs about working as a gardener

Here are the most asked questions about working as a gardener: 

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