Landscaping encompasses everything from design and construction to maintenance and management of outdoor environments and all their features – from trees, plants, lawns, water features and irrigation to walls, drives and other constructions.
You could specialise in domestic gardens, commercial or industrial landscapes. Within those areas you could specialise further into hardscaping (paving and landscape construction) or softscaping (plant establishment and maintenance). There are plenty of areas where landscaping work is required, such as residential homes, schools, commercial enterprises (such as golf courses and hotels), local councils, roadsides and streetscapes, parklands, and many more.
What type of person would this job suit?
- You’ll need to enjoy being outdoors, appreciate the natural world and getting your hands dirty
- Have at least basic knowledge of plants and their maintenance, pests, soils and drainage
- The work can be physically demanding so you may need to be fit and strong (depending on your role)
- Creative, with an eye for design and strong attention to detail would be a bonus
- Be practically minded, with the skills to work with a variety of tools, and possibly small to heavy plant machinery
- Be good at planning, prioritising and multi-tasking
- Enjoy working on your own
- Work well in a team if you’d like to take on the design, planning and construction elements
- Have good communication skills to interpret what your customers need and want
- Business skills, if you would like to get promoted to management or decide to become self-employed
- Resourceful and able to problem solve
Industries where landscaping qualifications could be used:
- Landscape Services
- Gardening Services
- Turf and Sports Turf Management
- Retail Nursery and Nursery Production
If you’re passionate about growing plants and have a passion for enhancing outdoor environments, then a career in one of these industries may be for you.
You can choose to head to university and gain a degree, which could make you immediately able to apply for more specialist roles. There are also plenty of apprenticeships available which could provide a qualification, salary, plus work experience.
Study a Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture) at QUT, you’ll need an OP 11 or selection rank (ATAR) 77 to be eligible. Or the Bachelor of Landscape Design at UC where the required selection rank is just 60.
The 3 + 2 Landscape Architect from UWA is a good example of a comprehensive course that could see you qualified with a Masters after 5 years. You’ll need an ATAR of 80.0 to be eligible to apply.
Alternatively, you can start out at TAFE and gain a Cert II, III or IV, then complete an apprenticeship, or get some work experience, before deciding if you want to go to uni later to improve your skillset further.
Landscape Gardener / Labourer
Certificate II in Landscaping may be desirable
You might be maintaining gardens for privates homes, commercial and other large public settings. Planting, pruning and looking after trees, lawns, flowers and hedges. You might also get projects where you’ll have to install irrigation, build pathways, retaining walls, water features and other outdoor structures.
The average salary is $48,000 per year at this level. You could work for a company or set up your own business.
Normally you’ll have successfully completed an apprenticeship and have more skills to be involved in a wide range of landscaping activities. Typically, this could be supervising landscape maintenance, paving, construction of decks and other features, setting out landscape works, co-ordinating planting, and operating heavy machinery and other equipment.
The average salary is $56,000 per year at this level.
Certificate IV in Horticulture
Duties in this role could include supervising a team of workers, project managing a variety of landscape planting and construction works, preparing designs, purchasing materials, and operating a budget.
There are a number of ways to get work as a landscape supervisor, but most begin as landscape tradespersons.
The average salary is $64,000 per year at this level.
Landscape managers take on responsibility for managing business activities related to the landscaping industry.
You could be managing projects, overseeing the design of structures and features, preparing quotes and reports, or meeting, advising and liaising with clients.
The average salary is $73,000 per year at this level.
Landscape Architect / Planner
Degree in architectural design or landscape architecture
You’d be working with clients to plan and design landscapes for commercial, industrial, institutional, residential and recreational buildings and landscapes. The works would be carried out by teams of landscapers. You could be partially involved in the project management and handover.
The average salary at this level is $87,000, but may be much more, especially if bonuses and perks are included.
Growth in this industry is very strong and expected to remain so.