How to become a professional gardener

Practice your gardening skills and start earning extra money.

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Have you done your fair share of gardening for your own home? Maybe you’ve filled every possible space with plants. If you’re ready to move on to bigger opportunities that will empower you to keep honing your skills (while earning an extra buck or two), you may want to try becoming a professional gardener.

The peaceful hobby of gardening has become a worldwide phenomenon. Year-round, the activity has given people worldwide an activity to enjoy amid the on and off lockdowns. Gardening also provides many mental and physical benefits and an added sense of satisfaction from the blooms it produces. 

Learn more about how you can make gardening another source of income.

What do gardeners do?

a gardener trimming a hedge with pruning shears

Not to be confused with landscapers, gardeners sow, plant, cultivate, and groom 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. However, 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 neatly
  • 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 many ways you can become a gardener, so long as you have 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. The added knowledge of horticulture will make a world of difference in the labor involved. You may opt to take horticulture courses online to build your industry know-how. Specialized subjects and practical classes will equip you with the training you’ll need for specific services.

2. Find a gardening apprenticeship.

When you’re confident in your knowledge and would like to start formal training, a gardening apprenticeship will help get you a nationally recognized qualification. 

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 to have an entire team right off the bat. Instead, you can start with offering standard gardening services to private clients by yourself. You can also become a garden contractor to manage landscaping or a garden consultant to help guide communities in planning, designing, and installing garden spaces.

These 25 gardening business ideas can give you lots of inspiration.

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 gardening skills will you need?

woman gardener hands putting seedling flowers into the soil

Before diving into the work, there are gardening skills you’ll need as you start out gardening.

Creativity and attention to detail

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

Patience in nurturing every kind of garden plant

You’ll sow, plant, cultivate, and care for various plants. There’s not always a shortcut to doing things, as gardening may take time.

Physical fitness and willingness to work outdoors

Often, you’ll need to be either standing or kneeling for long periods. You may also need the physical strength to lift and operate machinery. This does require 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 $50 to as much as $100. Often, gardeners charge a minimum call-out fee equivalent to 2 hours. Rates can vary based on many factors, such as the type of gardening service a client might need, the size of their space, 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 labor. It all boils down to how much you’re willing to invest in the career — counting time, resources, and effort.

Ready to earn money from your gardening skills?

Whether you’re new to the industry or a seasoned professional, you can find gardening work easily on Airtasker. Become a Tasker now to connect with clients near you in need of your level of expertise. You’re sure to find a task you’ll enjoy—from hedge trimming to pruning or even a full garden redesign.

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