Decorative Horticulture

Decorative Horticulture

Most people want gardens around their properties to look good, even if they don't like doing gardening themselves. In affluent societies, many people employ gardeners or contract gardening companies to maintain or develop their gardens to be presentable and attractive. However, finding a capable gardener to do this is often difficult.


There are currently fewer competent gardeners available for the number of jobs that need to be filled. Do you have what it takes to make a career as a gardener? Read on to find out more.   


About the Work

People working in the decorative garden industry:

  • Create and maintain gardens through soft landscaping and gardening. 
  • Are involved in planting design and plant selection.
  • Undertake planting, pruning, and plant identification.
  • Treatment plants for pests and diseases.
  • Feeding, weed, and water plants. 


The best contractors may offer additional services as well, such as lawn repair and renovation, installation of components like trellis and garden features, rubbish removal, and perhaps some hard landscaping services.

Related businesses in the private decorative garden industry include garden consultants, garden designers, nurseries, mowing services, equipment supplies, garden centres.


What Should You Learn?


  • Plant knowledge – naming plants, plant uses, types of plants, trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, annuals, bulbs.
  • Cultural plant management - pruning and rejuvenating plants, watering frequency and duration, types of fertilisers, controlling plant pests, diseases, and environmental disorders.
  • Planting techniques – including potting, transplanting, staking, tying.
  • Turf – laying turf, overseeding, turf repair and renovation, turf diseases and nutrition, weed removal. 
  • Soils – different types of soil, soil pH testing, soil management, improving soils, aeration, potting mixes, propagation mixes.
  • Drainage – improving soil drainage, surface drainage, subsurface drainage.
  • Irrigation – types of irrigation systems, equipment selection, installation, setting up watering schedules.
  • Tools and equipment – tool and machinery selection, operation, use, maintenance and repairs.


Getting Started


Some ways to get started are:

  • Get a job as a gardener, assistant gardener or garden labourer
  • Starting your own gardening business
  • Study gardening courses and then seek work


If you begin as a labourer or gardening assistant with no training or experience, you can learn on the job. This is a slow way to learn though, and you might have knowledge gaps that restrict your career progress.


A better option is to do some formal learning. This will help your career move faster and minimise the risk of career or business mistakes. This initial training will lay a foundation to build further learning on.


If you choose to study, it is important to choose a good course from a reputable course provider. We understand the importance of learning.  Our courses don’t just present information and test you quickly. They give you time to revisit, reinforce and embed the fundamentals of garden management into your long-term memory. You will also have access to instructors who have a strong understanding of the science and techniques that underpin garden management. 

Although some people who take shortcuts may eventually succeed, those who lay a stronger foundation are likely to be more capable, earn more money, and have long-term career success.


Making Progress


You will learn through experience as you work in the industry. Every problem or challenge you confront can be a new learning experience.

Further study – challenges sometimes reveal deficiencies in your knowledge. If that happens, you may see something you need to learn, by doing research or studying a course. The person who responds positively to such challenges, and sees them as opportunities for career advancement, will progress.


Networking – networking within your industry is critical for learning more and getting new opportunities. Everyone working in gardening should become active in a horticultural trade or professional association.


Professional development – gardening science, products, equipment, and techniques are constantly changing and improving. By staying connected with industry changes, you will remain competitive with others who are up to date. This is another reason you should remain involved with a professional or trade organisation and be open to further study and training opportunities.


Diversification – spreading your learning and experience is a natural, and often successful, way of helping your career to progress. Additional can help you broaden the services you can offer. It may also allow you to cross over into related careers or management.


Take advantage of demand cycles – sectors of horticulture can go through cycles of high and low demand for experts. If you have a broader range of knowledge and skills, you may be able to cross over from one sector to another taking advantage of these cycles. You could fashion a career path over decades that winds across many different sectors of horticulture.


Let us Help You with Your Career


It can be tricky deciding what to study and when. Sometimes it is better to talk to people that can point you in the right direction. 

Did you know that we offer free course advice? Just complete an online online course counselling form and we'll be in touch to advise you on suitable career pathways.


Prefer to talk? Call us on (07) 5562 1088

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