Landscape gardeners are professionals who create flower-filled gardens, coordinate the planting of ornamental trees and shrubs and apply fertilisers, according to Careers.org. They should have leadership skills as well as strong manual dexterity and a solid sense of colour and shape. Employment of grounds maintenance workers such as landscape gardeners is projected to climb by 18 per cent from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average landscape gardener salaries in 2010 were £20,800, reports SimplyHired.com. Just a few steps can help you to train to become a landscape gardener.
Take high school courses such as English, computers, chemistry and botany. These courses will prepare you for a college-level training program in landscape gardening as well as firsthand experience in the field.
Look for a landscape gardener or horticulture training program that leads to a one-year diploma at a community college. College programs generally will require you to submit your high school diploma or GED as part of the admissions process. Other possible diploma areas to consider include lawn care or landscape architecture.
You also can consider completing a landscape gardening apprenticeship offered by a local trade association. Apprenticeships combine classroom instruction with paid, on-the-job training and do not always require a high school diploma.
Complete courses on topics including greenhouse operations, landscape construction and an introduction to turfgrass. In addition, study fall gardening techniques, spring gardening principles and landscape supervision. Review the basics of communication and how to work effectively with other industry professionals such as architects.
Get hands-on experience with preparing grounds for planting, transplanting nursery stock and raising plants in a nursery. Also, practice pruning trees and hedges, sodding lawns and using chemical herbicides. During your apprenticeship, you will work under the supervision of an experienced landscape gardener, and your wage will increase as your level of experience increases.
College diploma programs probably will require you to participate in hands-on labs as well as cooperative work experience opportunities or internships at sites such as greenhouses, retail gardening centres, tree farms, botanical centres and landscaping agencies.
Contact your state department of agriculture/consumer services to find out the state's requirements for using pesticides as a landscape gardener, as most states require certification for workers who apply these chemicals (see Resources). Certification requirements typically involve passing an exam on the correct and safe use and disposal of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.