Landscapers work outdoors, maintaining lawns and gardens at private homes and estates as well as green spaces at schools, office buildings, and shopping malls, and in parks, botanical gardens, arboretums, and cemeteries. The basic work includes seeding; fertilizing and mowing lawns; raking leaves and cleaning up outdoor areas; planting flowers, shrubs, and trees; trimming hedges; and pruning shrubs and trees.
Landscapers might also suggest certain types of plants and trees, as a nursery grower might. But landscapers’ knowledge is usually not as extensive as that of landscape designers, or of landscape architects, who have four-year college degrees or master's degrees and are familiar with hundreds of different plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees, including exotic species.
Some landscapers also build brick or stone garden paths, install outdoor lighting and lawn sprinkler systems, erect fences, and build simple stone or brick walls. For complicated wall and drainage projects, however, most people turn to a landscape contractor.
Like many agricultural and horticultural workers, the work of a landscaper is physically challenging. Landscapers work almost exclusively outdoors, in weather extremes that range from blistering heat to freezing cold. The job involves a lot of walking, bending, and stretching. Landscapers have to use hand tools like shovels, rakes, and pruners, as well as power tools such as riding mowers, hedge trimmers, and chain saws. For big earth-moving projects, landscapers use large vehicles like dump trucks and backhoes.
Landscapers often are self-employed. They may work alone or with a partner. If they have many clients or very large projects, such as parks or arboretums, they may hire a crew of workers.
Some landscapers are employed by large landscaping firms. Others are employed by local or state municipalities and nonprofit organizations to work in public parks, cemeteries, botanical gardens, and arboretums. Some work for private companies that manage office buildings or hotels and resorts.
In addition to hands-on maintenance work, landscapers often inspect the grounds, provide written cost estimates for labor and materials, and send bills to clients. In a large company, the landscape supervisor usually handles these paperwork tasks. If you have good communications skills, you'll find it easier to attract new clients and to explain projects to them.
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