Get into landscaping

Looking for a rewarding career in the landscape industry? There are a multitude of different ways to get involved, including qualifications, work-based experience and the apprenticeship route.


Get into landscaping

There are a number of routes to becoming a landscaper. Many in the profession have worked their way up through experience alone. If you have your sights set on a specific path, however, gaining qualifications through college and on-the-job training may help speed up the process and presents a good option for school leavers looking to embark on a rewarding career.

Entry to the sector can begin at any age, with apprenticeship programmes now open to the over 25s.

Why get into landscaping?

  • Variety! Work in parks, private gardens, school grounds and sports pitches
  • Make outside spaces beautiful and functional
  • Design, plant, build and maintain
  • Improve the environment for wildlife and plants

Types of Role

Apprentices and entry-level landscapers

Apprentices and entry-level landscapers

There are no specific qualifications required to enter the landscape industry at this level and a good employer should be able to train you up on the job. If your looking into apprenticeships, GCSEs in Maths and English will be required.

 Activities and interests include:

  • General gardening services including digging, planting and weeding
  • Entry level experience in erecting fences, laying paths and patios
  • Learn how to use machinery such as diggers and mowers

Specific proficiency tests may also be needed, such as gaining chemical sprayer, digger licences, chainsaw and hedge cutter training. Your employer will arrange this training for you.

Find out more about apprenticeships


Supervisors, team leaders and managers

Supervisors, team leaders and managers

Supervisors, team leaders and managers carry out practical work, buy in materials, oversee budgets, manage a team and interpret the designers gardening plans:

Activities and interests include:

  • A good plant knowledge
  • Managerial and practical gardening skills
  • Plan, reading and budget planning
  • Using machinery such as diggers and mowers

Supervisors, team leaders and managers may have a relevant qualification in horticulture or grounds maintenance, although this is not essential and many people work their way up through on-the-job experience.

Find out about qualifications


Entry-level and managerial grounds maintenance staff

Entry-level and managerial grounds maintenance staff

Landscapers who choose to look after sports pitches, public parks, commercial land or business parks are also called Grounds Maintainers, with opportunities for entry-level and management positions.

Activities and interests include:

  • Specialising in golf courses, rugby or football pitches
  • Focus on grass and lawn care
  • Use of pesticides
  • Using machinery such as diggers and ride on mowers

Landscape designers and architects

Landscape designers and architects

Landscape Designers and Architects devise the initial design of a garden or landscape construction project, from planting right through to any structural work included on the plot.

Activities and interests include:

  • Usually educated to degree level
  • Cover natural and built environments
  • Creative, with an excellent plant knowledge
  • Interest in ecology and sustainability
  • Use Computer Aided Design (CAD)

There are Diplomas and Degrees available to become a Landscape Designer or Architect. Landscape Architects are Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute.

Explore qualifications


Career Pathways

There are a number of routes to becoming a landscaper, depending on your qualifications and experience:

Landscaper Work Experience

Why not try

  • Voluntary gardening work
  • Help out your friends and family with their gardens
  • Get some basic labouring work for holidays and weekends

Practical experience is key to becoming a landscaper and for anyone looking to enter the sector and will show that you are keen to get stuck in and have some ability in the work that you do – you never know, it might just turn into something more.

If you’re looking for landscaping work experience, or to find an entry-level landscaper job, why not contact landscaping companies in your area? You can find a list of BALI Registered Contractors and Designers by typing in your postcode on the British Association of Landscape Industries' website here.


Landscaper Qualifications

There are a range of horticulture and specific landscaping qualifications which can provide a route into the sector, or formalise/top-up the existing skills of landscapers who have on-the-job experience but want to progress their career. Higher level qualifications and degrees are also available.

For some tasks, such as operating chainsaws and using pesticides, you will need certificates of competence. These are available through City & Guilds Land Based Services and Lantra Awards. Both of these bodies offer a range of other relevant short courses.

For a more information on Landscaping Certificates and Diplomas, click here

Landscaper Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in Horticulture are open to school leavers and adults. GCSEs in Maths and English are usually required, as well as an aptitude for practical work, enjoyment in being outside and an interest in plants and the natural world.

Apprentices spend up to four years training with an employer, splitting their time between work and college. On successful completion of an apprenticeship, candidates will have a Level 2 or 3 Diploma and may gain full time employment with the business they have studied with.

The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

To find out more about Apprenticeships, click here


Landscape Designer/Architect

Landscape Designers and Architects are usually educated to degree level. Landscape Architecture is a chartered career and requires an undergraduate degree, accredited by The Landscape Institute (LI).

If you already have an undergraduate degree in another relevant field, such as architecture, horticulture or botany, you may be eligible for a post graduate conversion course. There are also a range of Landscape Design Diplomas available.

Some employers will look for Landscape Architects who are already chartered, while others will be prepared to support you on the path towards qualifying - most people need between two to three years’ experience in professional practice before becoming chartered.

For more information about becoming a Landscape Designer or Architect, click here