How to Become a Landscaper
Landscaper Careers & Degrees

Landscapers are professionals who mostly work outdoors to provide maintenance and upgrading to a client’s business or home.

Landscapers are skilled in a variety of aspects including planting trees, shrubs or other plant life to applying fertilizer and creating hardscapes and xeriscape.

Individuals who want to become a Landscaper will have a natural interest in the outdoors and improving outdoor settings.

Professionals in this field will mainly work outdoors to improve aesthetics to lawns and homes providing their services during the warmer months of the year, mainly spring, summer and the fall seasons.

Education Requirements to Become a Landscaper

Individuals who want to become a Landscaper are not required to complete any formal education.

However, this requirement will depend on the employer.

Some employers offer on the job training while others require individuals who are certified or have completed formal education.

In addition, individuals must also have personal characteristics that will help them succeed in this profession.

Individuals pursuing a certification or formal education in order to become a Landscaper will benefit from studying arboriculture, horticulture or landscape design.

In addition, individuals will benefit from learning the basics in landscaping including: using mowers, small tractors, leaf blowers, trimmers and other landscaping equipment.

Individuals who are hired at an entry level position will need to learn their profession with on the job training.

Depending on the employer and how much they want to invest on training, individuals will receive hands on experience on basic landscaping techniques such as planting trees, mowing and using other landscaping equipment.

Some individuals may also be required to seek a license.

Licensure is required for individuals who will be working with and applying pesticides.

Individuals may visit the Professional Land Care Network to learn more about the seven types of certifications in landscaping and grounds maintenance.

Landscaper Job Description

Landscaper professionals are responsible for improving a business, homes and parks outdoor landscaping.

This includes assuring a lawn is healthy and attractive throughout the year.

Landscapers will make a lawn healthy by weeding, removing dead trees or foliage, applying fertilizer and watering lawns.

Landscapers will also mow and edge lawns, trim small trees, hedges or shrubs and plant new trees, shrubs, lawns and flowers.

Landscapers are also knowledgeable in installing sprinkler systems and installing special agriculture, such as xeriscape, which is a type of landscaping that requires little to no irrigation or watering.

In addition, Landscapers are also able to install or construct hardscapes including:

  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Walkways
  • Arbors
  • Gravel paths

Landscapers are knowledgeable in several areas and are able to work with not only vegetation, but with installing a variety of hardscapes that enhance a home or business’s curbside appeal.

Landscaper Salary and Career Path

In 2012, the median salary for Landscapers was approximately $11.53 per hour.

Exact wages will depend on a variety of factors including level of experience, specialization and the length of the season.

For example, individuals specializing in tree trimming and pruning can expect a higher wages at a median wage of approximately $15.54 per hour while individuals specializing as Landscaping and grounds keeping can expect a median salary of $11.33 per hour.

In addition, annual wages will also depend on how long a season is.

Individuals working in colder climates will only work seasonally as the weather prevents landscaping professionals to work outdoors.

The amount of time an individual works during the year will impact total wages.

The job outlook for landscaping and grounds keeping workers is projected to grow by 12 percent through the year 2022.

This growth is considered as fast as average when compared to other professions and is attributed to the demand being placed for lawn care and landscaping.

This demand comes from a variety of sources including: corporate campuses, universities, large institutions and busy or aging homeowners not able to provide maintenance themselves.

More job opportunities will be available in locations that experience moderate climates where landscaping services can be provided year round.

Individuals interested in a profession as a Landscaper can find that this profession offers a healthy job outlook and advancement opportunities.

Individuals who pursue a postsecondary degree will have the opportunity to pursue a career as a Landscaping Architect.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$32,360
$21K
$25K
$32K
$37K
$46K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$27,520
Alaska$38,000
Arizona$29,990
Arkansas$26,400
California$36,420
Colorado$35,020
Connecticut$37,890
Delaware$33,890
District of Columbia$37,800
Florida$29,090
Georgia$29,890
Hawaii$37,960
Idaho$31,570
Illinois$33,390
Indiana$30,290
Iowa$31,400
Kansas$30,870
Kentucky$29,920
Louisiana$27,890
Maine$32,940
Maryland$33,250
Massachusetts$39,720
Michigan$30,910
Minnesota$35,720
Mississippi$25,630
Missouri$32,240
Montana$32,000
Nebraska$31,430
Nevada$31,310
New Hampshire$33,240
New Jersey$34,810
New Mexico$29,100
New York$36,110
North Carolina$29,310
North Dakota$35,200
Ohio$30,870
Oklahoma$28,400
Oregon$35,330
Pennsylvania$31,600
Rhode Island$34,880
South Carolina$29,030
South Dakota$28,630
Tennessee$27,560
Texas$29,480
Utah$31,620
Vermont$36,040
Virginia$31,190
Washington$38,120
West Virginia$25,590
Wisconsin$32,390
Wyoming$32,860
Guam$21,860
Puerto Rico$20,790
Virgin Islands$30,840

The top earning state in the field is Massachusetts, where the average salary is $39,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Massachusetts - $39,720
Washington - $38,120
Alaska - $38,000
Hawaii - $37,960
Connecticut - $37,890
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, OCC Code 37-3011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is a landscaper?

Landscapers maintain exterior environments and make them more aesthetically pleasing.

As a landscaper, you may specialize in improving the layout of an existing garden, or you can choose to design water gardens and fountains, lawn sprinklers and drains or orchards and farms.

Landscaping is a broad term that includes a lot of different possible careers; some landscapers plant trees and flowers while others design golf courses.

Depending on the project, their job duties may include sod laying, mowing, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, or sprinkle installation.

Landscapers can be employed by cities or towns, zoos, and theme parks but also by large companies, schools or universities.

QuestionHow much does a landscaper make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for ground maintenance workers was $14.13 in May 2018.

However, rates vary depending on many factors; for example, tree trimmers and pruners earned a median hourly rate of $18.36 in May 2018, while landscaping and groundskeeping workers made $13.94 an hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a landscaper?

There are no formal education requirements to start a career in this field but most states require workers who apply pesticides and fertilizers to hold a state license.

Some employers prefer to hire workers who have training or certification in horticulture, arboriculture, landscape design or a related field.

Costs vary depending on the school you choose and the program itself.

For example, a certificate course in horticulture will cost you, on average, around $7,000.

QuestionWhat is the demand for landscapers?

Landscapers will continue to be needed in the future to provide lawn care and landscaping services to busy homeowners, universities, parks, and corporate campuses.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for ground maintenance workers is expected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This demand varies according to the worker’s area of expertise.

Tree trimmers and planters should have the best prospects because many municipalities are planting more trees and need the services these workers provide.

Job opportunities depend on the region and more openings should appear in areas with warm, temperate climates.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a landscaper?

The answer to this question varies depending on the educational route you choose to pursue.

Most workers in this field learn through on-the-job training but some employers may require you to hold a certificate or diploma in landscape design or a related field.

A certificate in horticulture can be obtained after 1 year of post-secondary training.

If you want to apply pesticides or fertilizers you will also need a state license.

Some credentialing institutions such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the Tree Care Industry Association, the International Society of Arboriculture or the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society are offering professional certification in this field.

In conclusion, you can start a career in landscaping with no formal education and you’ll learn on-the-job how to plant trees and how to use power tools, such as mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, and small tractors but if you want better job prospects you should also complete a few months of training at a community college or trade school.

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