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