- Do you have a green thumb?
- Do you like working outdoors?
- Are you strong and physically fit?
- Do you like working with others?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Landscaper could be right for you.
Landscapers build and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses and other landscaped areas.
They are employed by landscape designers and contractors, lawn service establishments, golf courses, nurseries and greenhouses, as well as by municipal, provincial and national parks. They may also be self-employed.
As a Landscaper, your duties may include:
- Planting, transplanting and maintaining flowers, plants, and greenhouse and nursery stock
- Installing rock gardens, ponds, decks, drainage systems, fences, planters and playground equipment
- Installing, operating and maintaining watering systems
- Seeding, sodding and caring for lawns
- Trimming and pruning hedges, trees and shrubs
- Identifying plant diseases and insect problems
- Applying fertilizers and pesticides
- Consulting with clients on landscape designs, and plant selection and care
The standard work week for landscapers is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next.
As a Landscaper, you may work indoors or outdoors, alone or with a team of construction professionals. The work can be strenuous and may involve considerable lifting, carrying and bending. You may also spend time designing landscapes and advising customers.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Landscapers are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship is one way of starting out in the construction industry. It involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Landscaper, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 60% of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for landscaper apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 16 years old and have a Grade 9 education or equivalent to enter a landscaper apprenticeship program.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Landscaper.
Apprenticeship training programs for landscapers vary across Canada, but generally involve four 12-month periods, including at least 4,800 hours of on-the-job training, four eight-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a landscaper program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is available but voluntary in most provinces and territories. Where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Check out our Related links to find out who to contact. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended as it tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional, and it also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Landscaper, usually you need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have a combination of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in landscaping.
In addition to certification, you may require a provincial licence to apply chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides.
To keep their skills current, landscapers must keep up with new technologies by reading and speaking with other landscapers.