07 May Why choose a career in landscaping?
It’s 30 years since Chris Baker of Holland Landscapes gave up his indoor job to become a landscaper and he doesn’t regret a thing. In this article we’re looking at the pros and cons of a career in landscaping.
Current thinking is that the average adult will have 5-7 different careers before they retire.
I can understand why a youngster might start out on one career path, find out it’s not what they expected and make a switch. I did that myself. Much as I enjoyed studying and working in IT, it turned out to be more of a hobby than something I wanted to do every day. It must be horrible to work in a career that just doesn’t make you feel good. I’m glad that I took the opportunity for a career in landscaping.
I can’t see myself ever leaving the landscape industry. Even if I reach a point where the physical labour is difficult, I hope I can oversee projects, get involved with design, meet the clients and help colleagues learn new skills.
What’s so good about a career in landscaping?
- The look on a client’s face when the final results are revealed
- Knowing that my work will bring pleasure for many years to come
- Not being trapped inside 4 walls or stuck in a vehicle all day long
- Working with many different types of machines and materials
- Working out how to tackle an unusual project
- No two projects are the same
- Learning something new every day
- Keeping fit – physically and mentally
- Eating bacon butties and not putting on weight
I’m not saying that landscaping isn’t frustrating at times – if deliveries are late or a client changes their mind part way through the job it can drive you potty. But all in all, there are more pro’s than cons.
Before and after. Imagine how good you would feel in you were one of the landscapers who created this beautiful garden transformation.
Getting into a career in landscaping
So many of the skills a landscaper might need are taught in schools – but students don’t seem to be told that a talent for design, woodworking, metal working or other “hands-on” work could be used in the landscape industry. Kids see the “XYZ Landscapes” van arrive once a week, unload the ride on mowers and zoom around the playing field. They assume that’s what landscapers do…but it’s absolutely not the only thing we do! Few people realise how much creativity and how many skills sets go into making beautiful outdoor spaces. That tends to be taken for granted.
A landscaper working with a company like Holland Landscapes is likely to:
- Recountour a garden space using machinery
- Transport machinery from site to site and look after it
- Follow garden design plans accurately to lay out a garden
- Dig foundations and lay sub-bases for slabs and pavers
- Know how to mix the most appropriate mortar for the job
- Lay slabs accurately – including cutting them to size if neccessary
- Put up pergolas
- Create water features
- Build outdoor kitchens
- Build decking and other wooden structures
- Apply rendering and/or painted finishes
- Put up fences
- Prepare the soil and lay turf
- Set out and plant trees, herbaceous plants etc
- Know how to care for newly planted plants
- Apply mulch
- Work alongside electricians to install lighting
- Stay safe on site
- Tidy up at the end of the day
I’m not going to pretend that anyone can be a landscaper. Having said that, lots of people already have some of the basic skills – they just don’t know it!
A willingness to listen, learn and get involved are more important than great GCSE results. And age is not necessarily a barrier. Certainly at Holland Landscapes we assign tasks based on your skillset rather than your age. OK if you’re new to the industry you might not be left on your own to install a £5,000 patio – even if you have previously managed a team of 20. But we’ll certainly make sure your day isn’t boring.
Want to learn more?
If you want a taste of landscaping, Writtle College offer short courses – you could pick one, see if you have a natural affinity and from there, you might want to consider an apprenticeship.
For apprenticeships, you will need to find an employer first. The APL website is a good place to look for a reputable landscaper in your area who might be able to employ you. APL members work to a really high standard and are dedicated to ensuring all of their staff have opportunities to develop their skillsets.