How to become a professional gardener

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Longing for work beyond your desk, in fresh air and the company of nature? Perhaps you’re a home gardener, ready to explore bigger opportunities outside your space. If you’re looking to keep exercising your skills while earning a quid or two, you may find interest in pursuing a career as a gardener.

Gardening is one of the biggest trending hobbies people have picked up in light of lockdowns. It’s an arduous but incredibly rewarding activity that keeps you connected with nature. With enough patience, gardening can brighten any space with beautiful blooms.

If you’re keen on learning how you can become a professional gardener, here are some things to consider.

What do gardeners do?

a gardener trimming a hedge with pruning shears

A gardener sows, plants, cultivates, and grooms the quiet residents of green spaces. For this reason, being a gardener requires a good balance of knowledge, physical fitness, and creativity.

You can certainly have all the basic experience of home gardening, but building that incomparable wealth of knowledge with continuous practice will set you apart and make you an appealing choice to the average client.

A gardener’s tasks can include:

  • Keeping shrubs, trees, and grass trimmed neat
  • Pulling unsightly and harmful weeds
  • Pruning hedges, shrubs, and trees
  • Maintaining and monitoring plant health
  • Propagating foliage
  • Working outdoor machinery
  • Conducting pest control
  • Soft and hard landscaping

How to become a professional gardener

There are a variety of ways you can become a gardener. No single method is set in stone, so long as you’ve got the drive to learn and make it happen. Here are the different options you may want to try.

1. Take a course in horticulture.

While it’s not always a requirement to have a degree under your belt, it’s strongly recommended since the added knowledge on horticulture will make a world of a difference when it comes down to the labour involved. You may fancy taking horticultural courses online to build your industry know-how. Specialised subjects and practical classes will equip you with the training you’ll need for specific gardening services.

2. Find a gardening apprenticeship.

When you’re confident in the knowledge you already have and would like to start fresh, an apprenticeship will kickstart your working experience. Most courses should offer apprenticeships for students. You may also seek apprentice programs, which normally require GCSEs with at least English and maths, at grades C/4 and above.

Related: Gardening skills you can quickly learn

3. Start your own gardening business.

Hands of gardening business owner writing down her plans and ideas in notebook

You don’t need a full team right off the bat to start a gardening business. Simply offering basic gardening services to clients on your own.

This list of gardening business ideas provides lots of inspiration!

You can also become a garden contractor to manage landscaping or become a garden consultant to help guide communities in planning, designing, and installing garden spaces.

4. Work with a gardening company.

The company could be a large-scale corporation that needs regular gardening for commercial properties. You can also partner with private sector companies that require regular services.

What skills do you need to be a professional gardener?

woman gardener hands putting seedling flowers into the soil

Before diving into the work, there are gardening skills you’ll need as you hone your skills as a professional gardener.

Creativity and attention to detail

You’ll need to be able to build a landscape. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to help plan out an outdoor space. How best might you be able to put together a selection of plants your clients want? It’s all about putting your gardening knowledge to practice!

Patience to nurture every kind of garden plant

You’ll sow, plant, cultivate, and care for a variety of plants. There’s not always going to be a shortcut to doing things as gardening certainly will always take time.

Physical fitness and willingness to work outdoors

Often, you’ll need to be either standing or kneeling for long periods at a time. You may also need the physical strength to lift and operate machinery. This does require you’re well-conditioned with physical capability and endurance to perform these tasks.

Technical knowledge in gardening techniques and equipment

Beyond just handling the tools, you’ll also need to know the techniques for proper gardening and how to correctly operate machinery.

Strong interpersonal skills

Collaboration plays a big role for gardeners. There will often be a need to work with a team or other professionals the longer you are in the industry.

Licenses to use horticultural equipment

Depending on the service needed, there will be legal requirements for you to use pesticides and equipment.

How much does a gardener earn?

Professional gardener hourly rates can range from £15 up to as much as £45. Often, gardeners charge a minimum call-out fee equivalent to 2 hours to half a day. Rates can also vary based on many factors, such as the type of gardening service a client might need, the size of the garden, and where they live.

It’s also worth noting that there will be added costs to compute against your earnings, such as equipment, standard gardening materials, and additional labour. It all boils down to how much you’re willing to invest into your gardening business – counting time, resources, and effort.

How to get into gardening jobs

Earn and learn more through continuous experience, whether you’re just starting out with gardening or you’re already a pro. By sharing your gardening services on Airtasker, you can easily build your client base and connect with people who need your expertise. Find all sorts of gardening tasks, including planting, hedge trimming, garden consultancy, and garden design. You don’t have to look too far to start earning with a job you know you’ll enjoy. Become a Tasker now.

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