How Much Can a Gardener Earn?

To pursue a career in gardening, it is important that you enjoy being outdoors and have an interest in nature and plants. If you can work on your own initiative and possess a good level of strength and fitness, an element of creativity and design in conjunction with practical gardening skills, you can access different types of work as a gardener. The options include employment, self-employment or setting up your own gardening business, opening up a range of earning possibilities.

Gardener Wages

Responsibilities of a Gardener

Responsibilities of a gardener include growing and cultivating a wide range of flowers, plants, shrubs and trees in addition to maintaining lawns and green spaces. Other aspects of the job include:

  • Examination of the health of plants and trees by identifying pests or diseases
  • Feeding nutrients to plants and maintaining correct moisture levels
  • Cleaning and maintenance of gardening tools and equipment
  • Growing plants from seeds and cuttings
  • Digging, planting, weeding and setting flower beds, borders and lawns
  • Pruning of flowers and shrubs.

Being creative and having a keen eye for detail are qualities that make for a good gardener.

How much can a Gardener Earn?

The average hourly rate payable to a gardener is in the region of £9.00 to £10.00, when you first begin employment and for the subsequent 5-8 years. After this period, or before, depending on the level of skills, experience and aptitude for the job shown, the hourly rate can increase.

If you gain employment with a local authority, the normal working hours are approximately 37 hours per week. This could vary at different stages of the year; you may have the option of overtime during busy periods or the opportunity of weekend or part time work. You can earn in the region of £12,000 and £18,000 annually while working as a gardener for a local authority.

Managerial or Head Gardening Positions

If you gain employment as a head gardener or garden manager at a local heritage centre or landscaped park or gardens, you have the potential to earn £25,000 or more annually. Your annual income can rise to £30,000 a year or more if employed as a garden manager or senior gardener or if you specialise in grounds maintenance with experience in managing large garden areas or parks.

Self-Employed Gardeners

As a self-employed gardener, you can agree an hourly rate with your clients; standard hourly rates vary widely depending on the area, the size of the grounds or garden, whether private or public and your own experience and skills level. If you have a valued reputation as a skilled gardener with a range of complementary skills or specialised expertise, you can charge higher hourly rates.

Fixed Price Gardening Jobs

As a self-employed gardener you also have the option to arrange payment based on a fixed price per job, rather than an hourly rate. Depending on your skill base, your earnings can be quite substantial when working for corporate business owners or private gardens in more affluent areas.

There is a wide range of gardening work options available where you can be responsible for private, public or corporate gardens, all of which impact the rate of pay a gardener can earn. These include:

  • Green spaces around public buildings, roads and motorways
  • Public grounds such as office blocks, schools and sports grounds etc.
  • Street plant displays
  • Community gardens
  • Botanical or Historical gardens.

Range of Gardening Skills Which Increase Your Earnings

If you have a wide range of horticultural skills, you can enjoy a higher earning bracket. By specialising in certain areas, you can also increase how much you earn. These include:

  • Designing landscaped schemes
  • Designing private gardens/ parks/ business grounds/ local authority grounds etc.
  • Identifying and cultivating a wide variety of trees and plants
  • Planting and managing large trees
  • Understanding of your work and how it impacts the local environment
  • Designing and building decking and paving
  • Management and maintenance of landscaped areas
  • Preparing and setting lawns
  • Knowledgeable in seasonal horticultural differences
  • Designing and installing garden fencing.
  • Extensive knowledge on flower varieties for all seasons
  • Knowledge of planting gardens and crops from seed
  • Installation of basic irrigation systems
  • Skilled in an extensive range of garden and horticultural tools and equipment
  • Providing a range of garden machinery such as lawn mowers, strimmers, rotovators and hedge trimmers
  • Specialising in the health of plants by identifying diseases and pests
  • Providing high levels of presentation for public areas
  • Specialising in plant nutrients
  • Incorporating building work into your range of services, such as garden sheds.

Increasing Your Garden Range of Services

By training as a garden designer, you can include designing planting schemes for gardens in your range of services.

By increasing your seasonal plant knowledge, you will have something of value to offer clients all year round. This could include idealistic positioning of plants, shrubs and flowers which work excellently together, such as combining plant sizes and intelligent planting ensuring that flowers are in bloom and shrubs come into leaf at simultaneous and varying stages.

You may also include in your gardening portfolio of services the option of carrying out garden building tasks, such as erecting garden sheds, building walls, laying fences, wooden decking and patios. Offering ‘whole-garden’ services is attractive to busy home owners.

As a self-employed gardener, you can work the hours of your choice but offering flexible times, including evenings and weekends, due to potential weather disruptions or to allow clients to observe the creation of their garden space, you open up to a wider range of clients, increasing your own earning capabilities.

Hiring Staff

You also have the option to hire staff to assist you during busy periods, enabling you to take on larger garden projects and higher paying clients.

Whether you choose to work for yourself or become an employee in the gardening arena, these prices act as a guide for your potential earnings. They are also likely to act as something of an incentive to help you increase your skills base and thereby increase your overall earning potential.