Environment

Gardener

Gardeners grow and look after plants in a range of private and public green spaces.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £25,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 42

What's it all about?

You could work for local authorities, private companies or estates, the Royal Parks, botanical gardens, theme parks and conservation charities like the National Trust.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • raising plants from seeds or cuttings
  • digging, planting and weeding flower beds and borders
  • pruning shrubs and trees
  • checking the health of plants and controlling pests
  • using machinery like lawn mowers and hedge trimmers
  • looking after the appearance of plants and the surrounding landscape
  • cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • basic building tasks like laying patios, or putting up sheds and fences

You may also be involved in designing planting schemes.

In some roles you may be talking to clients or visitors.

Employers don't usually ask for qualifications.

If you have some related voluntary or paid work experience, this could help you to get a job. You could get experience by volunteering through Do-it or with organisations like:

You could also start as an assistant gardener and work your way up.

A qualification in gardening may help. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has details about careers and training. No formal qualifications are needed to start.

You could also get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in horticulture. For this you may need GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including maths and English.

The RHS also offers horticultural apprenticeships in their national gardens for 16 to 19 year olds. For these you’ll need 2 GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above in English and science, with some IT skills.

If you do hazardous tasks like using chain saws or pesticides, you’ll need a Certificate of Competence for each task. LANTRA and City & Guilds Land Based Services have more details.

£16,000 to £25,000

Starter salary: £16,000 to £18,000

Experienced salary: £19,000 to £23,000

Self-employed gardeners usually agree an hourly rate with their customers.

These figures are a guide.

37 to 42

You'll usually work around 37 hours a week.

If you're self-employed, you'll arrange your own hours and may work longer in summer. In winter, there may not be as much work.

Gardening is physically demanding. You'll be lifting, digging and carrying loads. You may wear safety equipment like gloves and a hard hat.

You may need a driving licence and a vehicle to carry equipment.

With experience, you could become a senior or head gardener.

You could move into other work like landscaping, greenkeeping or the care of trees and shrubs (arboriculture).

You could also set up your own business, offering a service to private customers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • practical skills to use tools
  • creativity and an eye for detail
  • marketing and business skills, if you're self-employed
  • customer service skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
Please sign in to compare your skills to this job. Sign in

To save or view your choices and results you must sign in or register (takes 1 minute).

Sign in Register