There’s a notion held among piano players that the real artistry isn’t in the notes played, but the ones that aren’t. Landscaping offers a more complicated version of the same notion: you’re more likely to notice what isn’t there.
While an undersung profession, landscaping jobs require a complex set of skills to do well. Landscapers need to understand science, technology, aesthetics, suppliers, and more to deliver their services.
Landscaping is a slow-growth industry because demand is steady and those who enter the field, work for a long time. It isn’t exactly the kind of profession you grow out of or find filled with redundancy and obsolescence. On average, the industry grows by 1.8% each year.
How do you get started in landscaping and what does the day to day look like? Read on and quench that flame of curiosity.
Landing Landscaping Jobs
Landscaping takes equal parts mental acuity and physical prowess to produce stunning vistas and well-hen pastures. Though there are solo practitioners, most often you work with a team where each person adds something to the brain trust and makes the load lighter.
As an industry, landscaping includes more than just planters and trimmers, there are clerical positions and managers to keep the work moving along.
Let’s break down each of these positions and the knowledge and skills that benefit each.
Commercial landscaping sees more installers than residential landscaping does. Installers bring materials onto a property and put it where it needs to go.
Landscaping installers use tools running the gamut from heavy machinery to handheld to physically alter a landscape. These jobs often involve a fair amount of diffing, lifting, and sawing. Physical endurance is an asset, as is having a passion for seeing a project through.
Installers also need to stay aware of the soil and areas they work in, bringing surprises and unknowns to the attention of planners and supervisors. They act as the eys on the ground.
Maintenance landscapers see more work in residential landscaping than commercial. Homeowners are far more likely to want features put in and maintained for years to decades than a business.
Maintenance teams need to have an eye for detail to keep the premises looking the same week after week and month after month. They need to notice when plants are ill or take damage. They also need to know how to look for weathering and erosion in features to prevent collapses or structural issues.
Maintenance jobs are some of the most common lawn care jobs because they need to be done consistently. Check out the listing at Witte jobs and you’ll see an abundance of positions ready to go.
Driving for a landscaping company means knowing how to balance loads, avoid damage, and deliver promptly.
Landscaping drivers are as likely to deliver workers to a job as they are to turn around and bring in supplies and materials. Drivers commonly need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and may need to understand hazardous material transportation (for fertilizers, cleaning chemicals, and the like).
In some areas driver is a full-time position, in other markets, a driver may work maintenance or installations as well.
A more office-based position, landscape ordering requires excellent people skills. You need to understand the differences between soils, rocks, plants, and more to be comfortable ordering materials sight unseen.
Ordering also requires a deep understanding of how long a job takes to complete. Many who move into the office have spent years out on the grounds learning the ebb and flow of the installation and maintenance processes.
The most top-down position in landscaping is the planner. Sometimes referred to as an architect (but without the same degree requirements) planners work with clients to create a vision for a property or area.
Landscape planning requires you to understand the biology of an area to know what plants will stay healthy and grow well at the cost of what resources. A planner working in the Pacific Northwest needs to understand a very different set of climates than one working in the Southwest.
Designing projects that work with the existing landscape and environs is key to sustainable landscaping. Clients have ideas about what they want, so they also need to know how to make foreign plants and materials work and survive.
Education and Certifications
While getting started on maintenance and installation crews can be learned on the job, education always returns benefits.
For landscaping, degrees in horticulture, botany, geology, and even art all have their uses.
Certifications are offered by different state and federal bodies. Certification is useful for insurance underwriting but also covers ecological impacts. In rare cases, care for threatened or endangered animals and environs falls under landscaping care.
Licensing with the American Ornithological Society is sought by those that want to provide habitats for migrating birds to enhance a property.
Landscaping also requires an understanding of available water and construction technology.
Water systems need to conserve the amount of water used and avoid damage. This requires extensive knowledge of fixtures, plumbing, and frost depth.
You’ll need physics and steady-state knowledge to construct large-scale areas such as ponds and rock formations.
Those with degrees in landscape-related fields gain access to further career options within landscaping.
Nursery managers care for dozens of plant species. They are knowledgeable about water and temperature tolerances.
Golf course superintendents need to know about soil acidity. They also understand replacement and refurbishment times to keep championship courses camera ready.
Groundkeepers for cemeteries need to know about the local water table. How to avoid damage from storms and foot-traffic and how to keep areas pristine are also important.
No matter the education you pursue, expect to spend a few years on the ground working jobs before advancing to management and planning postiions.
Working with crews helps you to understand how much work any given feature takes and the hours necessary to maintain a completed poject.
Find Your Path
Pursuing landscaping jobs is a rewarding way to earn money and make an impact. Landscapes provide visual enjoyment for the client and others. They also provide plenty of places for insects, birds, and animals to form homes that avoid houses and buildings.
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