Gardener Job Description - Skills, Duties, Requirements and Career
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What Does a Gardener Do?
Gardeners are responsible for creating, designing, maintaining and managing gardens, parks and green spaces.
Common tasks include pruning trees, shrubs and hedges, mowing and cutting grass and lawns, looking after plants and flowers, managing irrigation systems, as well as a range of other grounds maintenance tasks.
A gardener’s job is to provide plants with the appropriate seasonal care they require to remain healthy and vigorous. To do so, gardeners require a knowledge of plant reproduction, transplantation and cultivation techniques (e.g. for lawns, hedges, shrubs and ornamental plants). They should also be able to recognise pests and parasites and other common plant illnesses and take appropriate control measures, using equipment and chemical or natural products, where necessary.
Gardeners are also responsible for designing and building garden and park landscapes and other green spaces, using materials such as natural stone, wood and concrete.
Gardeners typically work either outside or in a greenhouse. Their main work tools include spades and shovels, hoes, clippers and shears, grass and hedge trimmers, mowers, weeders, chainsaws, irrigation sprinklers, insecticide and herbicide sprayers and equipment for aerial tree pruning (generally carried out using either an aerial work platform or tree climbing techniques). In addition, gardeners should always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to ensure their safety.
Unlike generic grounds maintenance workers, who typically execute the orders of a supervisor, gardeners are specialized workers capable of working without supervision.
There are a range of job opportunities open to gardeners. Many are self-employed and provide gardening and grounds maintenance services to direct customers, such as companies, hotels, apartment blocks and other private and public clients. Other opportunities include working for companies specializing in the maintenance and upkeep of public parks and gardens, for commercial, municipal and private landscaping businesses, for nurseries and garden centres, or as sales assistants in the gardening and outdoor section of a DIY or home improvement store. Gardeners who are employed may be required to work shifts, including on weekends.
Similar searches: Private Gardener
Gardener Duties and Responsibilities
The main tasks of a gardener include
- Mowing, trimming, tree cutting and pruning
- Maintenance of green spaces
- Cleaning and weeding
- Irrigation and irrigation system management
- Application of chemical and organic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers
- Soil management activities
- Sowing, cultivation and propagation of plants, trees and shrubs
- Supplying plants for parks, private gardens and green spaces
- Designing and building gardens
- Cultivating fruit and vegetable plants
Gardener - Requirements and Training
Aspiring gardeners can attend a professional gardening course providing theoretical and practical knowledge of botany, arboriculture, cultivation techniques, agricultural chemistry, agronomy, grafting techniques, floriculture, ecology, parasitology and environmental hydraulics.
It may also be advantageous for gardeners to have a license to drive a tractor and to use plant protection products.
Practical experience in the gardening, landscaping, horticulture or agriculture sector is a definite plus point on a CV, as is experience using garden and lawn maintenance equipment, such as mowers, trimmers and weeders.
Gardener Skills and Qualifications
Employers typically look for the following skills in a gardener:
- Knowledge of gardening techniques
- Knowledge of plant and flower care techniques
- Ability to use professional mowing, trimming and pruning equipment
- Strong manual skills
- Precision and attention to detail
- Interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team
- Health and physical fitness
Gardener Career Path
Gardeners are employed by a wide range of companies, including grounds maintenance companies, garden centres, nurseries, and landscaping businesses. Possible career paths include specializing in a specific area or taking on greater responsibility.
A gardener who has gained sufficient experience may be promoted to a leadership role, for example managing a team carrying out grounds maintenance work or coordinating and supervising construction and landscaping work for parks and gardens as a head gardener.
An alternative career option to employed work is to set up one’s own gardening business, performing general gardening and grounds maintenance services - such as lawn mowing, hedge trimming, irrigation management, topiary and ornamental pruning, as well as minor cleaning and maintenance tasks - for private clients and companies.
One specialist area worth exploring is garden design. The job of a garden designer is to create beautiful, enchanting parks and gardens through the skilful interplay between volumes and voids, shapes and colours, architectural structures and vegetation and the effective use of lighting. Garden Designers are in charge of the entire garden creation process, from conceptualization and the initial architectural design through to actual realization (i.e. the creation of harmonious arrangements of plants and ornamental features, such as stones and pebbles, benches, ponds and fountains). To do this requires a broad skill set, including gardening, botany, landscaping and architecture.
Top Reasons to Work as a Gardener
A career as a professional gardener is suited to anybody with a passion for gardening and for working outdoors. Those skilled in caring for plants and flowers will find a broad outlet for their green-fingered talents in the wide range of tasks that the job involves.
The key to a successful career in gardening, delivering work of a high quality that meets both client requirements and environmental sustainability criteria, is professional training, supplemented by ongoing learning and refresher courses.
As an alternative career option, those of a more entrepreneurial mindset may prefer to start up their own gardening business.