Landscaping Contractor Jobs

You may not have time to plant trees, mow lawns, or create a garden. If you just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the outdoors it may be time to call a professional landscape contractor.

A landscape contractor organizes, implements, and maintains landscaping projects. The work is a mix of land and garden planning, construction and landscape management, maintenance, aesthetics, and human enjoyment.

It takes place outdoors in the yards, gardens, and natural areas of both residential and commercial properties. Good landscaping adds value to real estate both financially and aesthetically.

Landscaping projects can big or small, it all depends on what a client wants. Landscape contractors meet their clients through recommendations, advertising, or referrals from landscape architects. There is always a shortage of labor and plenty of work to be done. The majority of the work takes place in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

First a landscape contractor meets with clients to discuss their needs. Does the client want a fence built, trees planted, lawn care, or a new sprinkler system? They can also discuss pros and cons of plant options, grass types, and rock selection. Because a landscape contractor works in a general area he understands the climate, geography, and local attitudes that dictate acceptable outdoor landscaping.

Landscape contractors do lots of different outdoor jobs. They move earth, terrace land, install turf, work on drainage and irrigation, build retaining walls, tend garden beds, pour concrete, aerating lawns, hang lights, set up sprinkler systems, remove waste, prune trees, mow grass, weed gardens, trim shrubbery, construct walkways, or plant trees and flowers. In the winters, they do snow removal. Anything that needs to be built, planted, or maintained outdoors can be handled by a landscape contractor.

It’s the landscape contractor’s job to develop a plan, determine costs, and write up a contract for the work. They are free to dabble in landscape design too, which is essentially unlicensed landscape architecture. They organize the project, ensure its quality, and meet all deadlines. If the client needs to talk about the project, the landscape contractor is the man for the job. Landscape contractors take on as much work as they can handle.

Landscape contractors manage all of their own landscaping projects. They are responsible for scheduling workers, finding equipment, ensuring quality work, preparing estimates, training workers, purchasing plants, soil, and trees, and making sure everything is where it needs to be on time. Landscape contractors get their hands in the dirt every day.

No formal education is required to be a landscape contractor. Most learn the skills as seasonal landscape maintenance workers. Some attend university programs like the ones at UMass, Oklahoma State, or Penn State for a degree in landscape contracting. Others landscape contractors earn degrees in business, horticulture, or landscape design.

Earning a certification from the Professional Grounds Management Society or the International Professional Landcare Network is a good idea. These professional credentials increase the amount of work you can find. Depending on what state you reside in, you may need a license. Usually if the work you perform is over $500, a license is required. Check with your state or regional landscape contracting associations to find licensing requirements.

There is plenty of work for landscape contractors with landscape design firms, garden centers, nurseries, landscaping companies, and self-employment. Landscape contractors make their money on a per project basis, so the more work they do, the more money they make. At the end of the year, most make $33,000 to $64,000, averaging $44,000 per year.

If you like to be outdoors and active, have a knack for growing things, and enjoy playing in the dirt, look into a green career as a landscape contractor.

Quick Facts About Landscape Contractor Jobs

Job Title: Landscape Contractor
Description: Manage crews who develop and maintain landscapes
Employers: Residential Homes, Landscape architects, Garden designers, General contractors, Nurseries
Pay: $33,000 to $64,000 per year, $44,000 is average

Professional Landcare Network
Independent Unionized Landscaping Contractors Association
Professional Grounds Management Society

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