Working in the Private Landscaping Industry
Landscaping is a varied and exciting field to work in. It is all about changing the nature of outdoor spaces. The private sector mainly involves designing and building gardens, but private contractors may also be called upon to design or maintain the outdoor specaes aropund commercial buildings, parks, or urban landscapes. This can be done through the use of plants, shaping the land, or adding structures.
Who Works in the Landscaping Industry?
All sorts of people work in landscaping including professionals and tradespeople:
- Garden or landscape consultants
- Building contractors
- Project managers
- Stone masons
- Landscape gardeners
Landscape gardeners may specialise in soft landscaping where there focus is mostly on planting, laying turf, garden maintenance and minor construction. Others may work mainly in hard landscaping where they spend most of their time building structures and laying paving.
Scope of Work
In the private sector, work projects can be small or very large – from renovating a courtyard to developing a large garden on a grand estate.
Work may involve design and installation of a range of garden structures and components like:
Most work in home gardens but work is also available through public gardens, parks, sports clubs, government buildings, and business premises.
Some contractors may be able to offer services such as tree pruning or removal, lawn installation, planting and other elements of soft landscaping. Others may subcontract out these other garden services.
People who work in landscaping often collaborate with people from related fields like landscape architects, surveyors, and town planners. They also build relationships with landscape equipment suppliers and building materials suppliers.
What You Need to Learn
- Landscape design – principles of design, measuring up sites, scale drawing, collecting pre-planning information, creating planting plans
- Building science – understanding stresses and loads, cement and concrete mixes, depth and width of foundations, construction techniques
- Materials – types of materials, characteristics of stone, clay, brick, timber, different paving, fencing and walling materials
- Soils – soil structure, chemistry, management techniques e.g. improving soils, aeration, etc.
- Drainage – how to improve surface and subsurface drainage, flood mitigation
- Irrigation – equipment selection, installation, use
- Earthworks and surveying – contour mapping, triangulation, earthmoving and storage
- Tools and equipment – selecting tools and machinery, operation and correct use, choosing fixings, maintenance and repair of tools
- Landscape management techniques - how to repair and renovate hard landscape components and features
- Horticulture – plant knowledge, plant culture, plant selection, pruning, maintenance, planting and transplanting techniques
Some ways to get started in landscaping include:
- Moving into landscaping from a related trade like building or carpentry
- Buying and learning to operate earthmoving equipment
- Volunteering on community development projects
- Getting a job with someone else (e.g. a landscape contractor)
- Starting your own landscaping business
Some start with no training or experience, perhaps as a labourer assisting a landscape contractor and learning on the job. Career progression can be slow doing it this way.
Some formal learning will help a career move faster, and minimise the risk of mistakes. Studying lays a foundation to build further learning on, and helps you to make more sense of things you do at work.
Online study and training is best coming from instructors with a strong understanding of the science and techniques that underpin landscape construction.
Your learning should give you the time to absorb information properly and permanently. Our study programs allow you to revisit, reinforce and embed the fundamentals of landscaping into your long-term memory.
You will come away with a stronger foundation and you are likely to be more capable in your role. That generally leads to higher earnings, and more long-term career success.
Developing Your Career
You will learn through experience as you work in the industry. Every problem or challenge you confront can be a new learning experience.
Sometimes challenges reveal gaps in your knowledge. If so, you may see something you need to learn, by doing research or studying a course. These are opportunities to progress a career.
If there are aspects of the industry you need to learn, then ongoing study is advised to fill those gaps.
Networking within your industry is critical for learning and getting new opportunities.
It is also beneficial to become active in a horticultural trade or professional association. This will help you stay up to date with industry changes.
Also, diversify your learning and experience. Take additional study to broaden the services you can offer or deepen the quality of service you offer.
Study can also help you to cross over into other related career paths – perhaps moving from private landscaping into public work, or into landscaping parks or cityscapes.
Preparing for Change
The many sectors of horticulture and its related industries can go through cycles of high and low demand for experts. The landscaper who has a broader range of knowledge and skills may be able to cross over from one sector to another, taking advantage of these cycles.
They may work in home gardens when there is a high demand and good remuneration offered in this sector, and move from that into landscaping for private businesses when demand and opportunity in that sector becomes stronger.
Through study and experience, you could fashion a career path over decades that winds across many different sectors of landscaping.
Get in Touch Today
We understand the importance of making the right choices when it comes to studying, and our helpful staff are here to guide you.
Let us help you choose the right course – whether it is for personal interest, upskilling, professional development, a new career, or a career change.
Contact us today to begin your online study.
Email us at [email protected] | Call us on (07) 5562 1088