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Landscaping is a multi skilled trade which involves the planning, construction and management of landscapes. This outdoor profession is suited for those who have a love of the outdoors and a passion for nature.
Landscaping is one of the most varied and diverse ways to make a living. Landscapers are rarely ever stuck in one place and get can work on multiple projects. This makes landscaping quite appealing for those who do not like to be stuck indoors.
Consequently the question is often asked, how do you can become a landscaper? As landscaping is so varied the answer can depend on whether you want to be a hard of soft landscaper.
Soft landscaping is more focused around the installation and maintenance of living landscapes.
Laying lawns, planting shrubs and maintaining gardens is typical of soft landscaping work. Small, private, projects can include manual work while large, commercial projects can involve machine work.
Maintenance operatives also come under the soft landscaping category. This work will include lawn and hedge cutting as well as seasonal planting a leaf clearing.
Hard landscaping is involved with the physical building of gardens and landscapes. This is also an extremely varied occupation involving a wide variety of trades and projects.
Hard landscapers can install green roofs, build decorative brickwork, carry out carpentry and lay multiple types of surfacing.
This type of external construction is typical both in the public and private landscaping sector. Projects can range from small garden patios to larger infrastructure projects.
Is landscaping a good career?
The question of is landscaping a good career will depend on your own personal criteria. However one thing is for certain it is one of the healthiest and happiest professions.
A recent study found that landscaping topped all professions in both the mental and physical health categories.
The outside environment and physical nature of work lends itself to a healthy lifestyle.
Contrary to common belief landscaping can be exceptionally well paid. This will depend on various factors such as how skilled you are or if you start your own business.
Trades such as landscaping are a much easier route to starting your own business than other professions. With less and less people seeking a skilled career in construction there is high demand for landscapers.
For our full article on 'if landscaping is a good career' please read our extensive article here.
How to become a soft landscaper?
If you want to become a soft landscaper there is normally no real academic barrier to entry. It is a good idea to identify what specific work you like. If you like working on multiple sites and being physical maybe maintenance is good for you.
If you like planting and creating landscapes perhaps a commercial contractor role is best. There are many courses you can take in subjects such as horticulture and green keeping. The most successful soft landscapers are those who have a keen interest in gardening.
A good knowledge of gardening will serve you well in interviews along with enthusiasm. Generally there are always good entry level positions available. It is always advised to obtain a good book on horticulture to get you started.
'The Principles of Horticulture' provides in depth information on this topic.
Do not just wait for jobs to be advertised, approach companies you would like to work for. Write a covering letter and enclose your CV.
How to become a hard landscaper?
Hard landscaping is such a diverse profession requiring multiple skilled trades. With ongoing shortages of all types of singular trades a well rounded landscaper will never be out of work.
However shortages in skilled trades are a result of decades of underinvestment. Nurturing apprenticeship schemes are hard to come by if you find any at all.
Hence if you want to become a hard landscaper you will have to engage in some self learning. This can be done by ordering in materials and practicing at home.
Alternatively you can start to learn a dominant trade like brickwork and branch out from there.
Build a garden for someone you know at a reduced rate to get you started. This initial experience is vital for you to have enough confidence to progress to employment.
Once you have some experience many landscaping companies are searching for new talent.
Be prepared to be a labourer and do some hard graft.
If you work hard, skilled landscapers will teach you if you are interested enough. There are many courses and day, release, trade courses you can also do. There are also now even degrees in hard landscape construction.
An in depth book on landscape construction will provide good entry level information on the topic. I recommend 'Landscape Construction' by David Sauter.
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Paul Nicolaides has over 30 years of recreational gardening and 20 years of professional landscaping experience. He has worked for landscape contractors including design and build practices across London and the South East. In 2006 he qualified with a BA Hons degree and post graduate diploma in Landscape Architecture. In 2009 he founded Ecospaces an ecological landscaping practice which aims to improve social cohesion and reduce climate change through landscaping. In 2016 he founded Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners which designs and builds gardens across Buckinghamshire and the South East. This blog aims to provide easy problem solving information to its audience and encourage others to take up the joy of landscaping and gardening.