How to Become a Landscaper: The Ultimate Guide & Step-by-Step Instructions

If you’ve ever stopped and admired the gorgeous lawns and landscapes around buildings, homes, golf courses, and more, you’ve probably wondered who is responsible for keeping those areas beautiful, clean, and safe.

In short, people employed as landscapers — often called groundskeepers, landscape architects, maintenance workers, and more — are the ones in charge of handling those beautiful landscapes.

Landscapers don’t require (by law) too much formal training, education, or certification, but there are plenty of courses, education, training, and certifications that you can participate in to become one of the best landscapers in the business.

Interested in becoming a landscaper?

Want to learn more about how to become a landscaper, what sort of education is required to become a landscaper, what landscapers make, and more, read on!

Quick Navigation


What Does a Landscaper Do?

Aspiring landscapers do a number of different things, but most importantly, they spend time outside working in a hands-on-way.

Landscapers work in both rural and urban areas performing a variety of tasks within landscapes in order to keep them clean, safe, and beautiful.

Landscapers must be fit and healthy, as they’ll participate in tasks like planting, weeding, installing landscape features, land gradient alterations, improving draining, laying turf, and improving landscape overall.

Some landscapers specialize in architecture, design, and implementation of the landscape.

Being a landscaper requires flexible skills, learned technique, experience, and mentorship.

Duties

Landscapers are often responsible for:

  • planting
  • seeding
  • mowing
  • lawn management
  • landscape feature implementation
  • draining system implementation and maintenance
  • use of heavy equipment and machinery
  • weeding
  • laying turf
  • improving landscape design

and more..


Let's Talk Salary

While landscaping is a rewarding job, it’s typically not an incredibly high paying job.

The median wage for landscapers as of May 2017 was about $14.28 per hour, with the lowest ten percent of landscapers earning about $9.59 per hour.

At the high point, earners earned about $20.61 per hour.

These numbers, of course, depend on where you work, what kind of landscaping you do, the size of your business, and how many clients you serve.

Average National Salary: $27,670

$19K
10%
$22K
25%
$27K
50%
$34K
75%
$42K
90%
*Salary information last updated 2018

Average Annual Salary by State

State Avg. Annual Salary
Alabama $23,690
Alaska $37,110
Arizona $25,760
Arkansas $23,890
California $29,650
Colorado $30,310
Connecticut $33,190
Delaware $27,950
Florida $24,710
Georgia $27,140
Hawaii $32,440
Idaho $27,780
Illinois $28,410
Indiana $25,700
Iowa $26,490
Kansas $27,380
Kentucky $25,300
Louisiana $23,810
Maine $29,880
Maryland $29,240
Massachusetts $34,340
Michigan $26,330
Minnesota $31,650
Mississippi $23,560
Missouri $27,580
Montana $27,660
Nebraska $28,670
Nevada $26,630
New Hampshire $30,710
New Jersey $29,500
New Mexico $25,010
New York $30,680
North Carolina $26,390
North Dakota $30,360
Ohio $26,350
Oklahoma $25,030
Oregon $30,880
Pennsylvania $28,270
Rhode Island $31,660
South Carolina $24,440
South Dakota $25,820
Tennessee $25,720
Texas $25,710
Utah $27,670
Vermont $30,440
Virginia $27,350
Washington $32,130
West Virginia $23,070
Wisconsin $27,950
Wyoming $32,490

How to Become a Landscaper

Step 1Understand the Requirements in Your State

As we mentioned, every state has a different requirement for prospective landscapers.

Some states require that you become certified to work with certain pesticides and chemicals and must pass a state board exam.

Other forms of landscaping specialties (like landscape design or arboriculture) might require certain licenses or courses.

Make sure you know what requirements are necessary before you begin your landscaping journey.

Step 2Earn Your Requirements and Explore Your Options

After you’ve checked every box on the requirement list, try to explore your career options.

Instead of outright finding employment as a landscaper, look into your options for contract landscaping, architecture for landscaping, groundskeeper, nursery managers, grounds supervisors, and more.

Don’t settle on a single job before you know what you’re interested in.

Step 3Gain Experience

Try working with a mentor, become an apprentice, or land an internship working with your local landscaping company.

If that wont’ work, try to find a company that will provide you with plenty of on-the-job training.

This is going to be where you learn the most and what will make you the best landscaper you can be, so ensure that you’re investing time and effort into your training.

Step 4Pursue Certification

While certification and licensing is typically not required to work as a landscaper, earning these can help you landscaping career immensely

Try taking courses and exams with The Professional Landcare Network, the Professional Grounds Management Society, and more!


How Much Education is Required to Become a Landscaper?

For most jobs in landscaping, a formal education is not required.

Most of the education you need for a landscapers position will be learned on the job, through certification programs (should you choose to enroll in them), and via a mentor.

In most cases, prospective landscapers will likely need a high school degree or a GED equivalent, but this is not always a requirement.

Should you choose to pursue a more lucrative landscaping career with special education in horticulture, arboriculture, or landscape design, you might need to complete courses, formal knowledge, and further training.

Video About The Career


What Certifications or Licenses Do You Need to Be a Landscaper?

Education levels and requirements will vary per state to work as a landscaper, and according to the BSL, many states will require that you are licensed and certified if you plan to work with pesticides and chemicals.

Typically, you’ll need to pass a test on the safe use of landscaping chemicals.

Depending on your employer, you might be required to have a driver’s license.

Though it’s not required, you might consider earning voluntary professional certifications from associations like The Professional Grounds Management Society and the Professional Landcare Network.

Certification Example:

landscaper certificate example

Average Training Program Duration: 0-6 Months

There are typically no certifications required in order to be a landscaper, but if you plan to take professional certification courses, expect to spend 6-10 weeks completing coursework.

Popular Degree Programs


What is the Job Outlook for Landscapers?

The wonderful thing about Landscaping as an industry is that it’s an ever-growing and ever-in-demand occupation.

People will continue to need landscape design, landscape architecture, maintenance, and more, and as those needs increase, the demand for people who can do these tasks will increase as well.

The BLS projects that between 2016-2026, the landscaping industry will grow by about 11 percent, this is listed as faster than average for all occupations in the United States.

Employment Growth Projection: 11%

1,309,300
2016
1,455,600
2026

That's a higher than average projected growth of 146,300 jobs.

Landscaper: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Landscaper?

Overall Satisfaction

Overall Satisfaction: Medium

Overall, being a landscaper is a rewarding, but challenging, job.

The physical demand is quite high, meaning you’ll need to remain healthy and in shape in order to do your job correctly.

You’ll also need to be prepared to work in tough climate conditions.

The salary is relatively average but the job outlook is quite positive.

Overall, the general satisfaction score is rated as medium, but will be a rewarding job for folks who like to be outside, like a challenge, and don’t mind physical labor.

Average Salary

Average Salary: Medium

Landscapers typically earn hourly wages of about $13, but receive an annual salary of about $27,670 per year.

On the high end, landscapers can earn up to $21 per hour, but on the low end, can anticipate making about $9.66.

Job Growth Outlook

Job Growth Outlook: High

The BSL reports that the landscaping industry is set to grow faster than most occupation in the United States.

By 2026, the job outlook will likely grow by 11 percent for landscapers.

Education Duration

Education Duration: 0-6 Months

There is usually no formal education requirement for the landscaping industry, however, for specializations, you might need to take courses, earn certification, or earn formal education.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Here are a few personal skills you will need to be a successful landscaper:

  • ability to learn and grow
  • dedication
  • persistence
  • mental toughness
  • ability to work as a team member as well as independently
  • project deadline management
  • focus
  • safety focus


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How Much Can You Make with a Landscaping Business?

Typically, landscapers make about $28,000 annually with hourly rates of about $13.51 on average.

Q. What Do You Do as a Landscaper?

As a landscaper, you will be expected to work outside in all climate conditions to care for, manage, and design outdoor spaces.

You will likely work with heavy machinery, chemicals, and sharp objects. Typically, you will weed, mow, water, build, fertilize, do seasonal clean up, and a myriad of other things.

Q. How Many Hours a Day Does a Landscaper Work?

Landscapers can typically count on working long hours, meaning, if the sun is up, they’re likely outside working.

Q. How Much Does a Landscaper Make an Hour?

On average, landscapers make about $13 per hour.

Q. Do You Have to Have a Degree to be a Landscaper?

No. In most cases you do not need a degree.

If you are looking to specialize in horticulture or arboriculture, you might need a degree.

Q. What Skills Do You Need to Have to be a Landscaper?

If you’re looking to be a landscaper, it helps to be:

  • dedicated and hardworking
  • a good team member and independent worker
  • physical toughness
  • fit and healthy body
  • the ability to work with heavy machinery
  • the ability to work in bad weather

Similar Careers

3 Comments

  1. Avatar for Angela Angela Reply
  2. Avatar for Joyce Joyce Reply
  3. Avatar for Pearl Pearl Reply

Leave a Comment