Landscape Contractor/ Landscape Tradespeople  

Constructing a landscape is a job that has a beginning and end and because of that fact, most people who build the landscape, will work as a contractor or for a contractor

What They Do

Landscape contractors and tradespeople actually create the landscape. Sometimes they may design it as well, and sometimes they do not. Designing a landscape is a job that requires a mixture of artistic and practical skills, but not necessarily the ability to do the planting, build a rockery or fence, install a drain or lay paving. The physical construction of a garden is the job of the contractor, and their work teams.

On large jobs (commercial and public projects), the duration and scope of a project can be immense and a landscape contractor may need to work under direction from a landscape architect or designer, and/or a project manager. On larger projects, the contractor may spend a lot of their time organising materials and equipment, and giving instructions to a large team of employees. They may spend a lot of time on organisation, project planning and implementation rather than the physical work. 

In contrast, a smaller contractor may work alone or in partnership with one other - mostly on small residential projects, engaging sub-contractors or employing additional staff on occasion - as and when the need arises. These smaller contractors need to be able to do  anything that is required, from planting to weed control,  laying pavers, building retaining walls and fences, creating drainage systems, installing garden furnishings, spreading gravel  and operating small machinery.

Where Do They Work?

Most landscape contractors or landscape gardeners work for small businesses with between two and five staff, within one work team that would undertake one job at a time. Medium size landscape firms may tend to only undertake smaller jobs (residential or commercial), but may be undertaking several jobs at a time. Large contract projects (e.g. landscaping for a major shopping complex, new tourist resort or even theme park) would be more likely undertaken by very large contracting firms. Some property developers (e.g. home builders) may employ a landscape team to build the gardens around the
display homes or spec homes they build.

Some public authorities may have permanent landscape departments (e.g. roads department, for landscaping roadsides, traffic islands and median strips. Or municipal parks departments, for landscaping parks, gardens, sports grounds and playgrounds in a municipality).

What is Needed

A landscape contractor or tradesman may start their career by doing a course, by working for another contractor, or even through creating their own garden at home i.e. having it noticed by others and securing work based on those recognised skills. A qualification is not necessarily needed (in every case), but knowledge and practical skills are essential, and even if you learn these through experience, it can always be useful to undertake some formal training to “fill in any gaps” that you might not necessarily be aware of until it is too late because of a serious mistake you have made on the job. Landscapers working on large projects may need a licence to practice as many larger jobs will require local government planning approval (in some regions).

  • To operate a successful landscape contracting business, you need all of the same knowledge and skills that any business operator needs.
  • Landscape contractors need to have good communication skills.


Time constraints mean that many people now outsource their landscaping needs - in construction and renovation. Opportunities do arise to find employment as a landscaper, but often the work is not permanent, and rates of pay are often minimal. Working for someone else can be an excellent way of getting a start, to build experience and learn practical skills, but more often than not you will eventually need to consider self-employment if you want good remuneration and better job security.




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