Working in Landscaping or Garden Design

Good landscapers are in demand: learn to plan and build gardens, build plant knowledge and with a little flair, this could be a wonderful career or business opportunity.


There are two main types of landscaping services offered: design and construction. Some landscapers do both, others specialise in just one aspect or style of design or of construction.

Some of the options for specialisation are:

  • Small or courtyard gardens
  • Formal gardens
  • Natural gardens
  • Permaculture designs
  • Low cost gardens

Some designers or contractors concentrate on a particular type of feature or plant species. Options might be:

  • Rose gardens
  • Drought tolerant gardens 
  • Ferneries
  • Paving
  • Water gardens
  • Timber structures like gazebos or pergolas

If you can develop a particularly unique skill you may be able to create a very strong niche market. Statuary and Trompe L'Oeil (i.e. Trick of the eye murals), are just two such features. Landscapers with these skills can be in high demand, because  the client can get a 'work of art' as part of the landscaping package.

A Garden Design Service can be offered in the following ways:

Consultation Only: Visit, give verbal advice, and no more.

Concept Plan: A plan drawn to scale, but lacking detail - only providing a broad concept.

Detailed Garden Design: A plan drawn to detail, showing planting details and where  other features will be situated but not include contruction details of hard landscaping (e.g. a plan will show where things are, but not how to build them).

Full Landscape Plans and Specifications: These contain full and fine detail, including construction details of structures (e.g. A plan of how to build a wall showing the drainage, foundations etc.).


Hard landscaping refers to things such as walls, paths, pergolas, rock work, concrete pond construction, etc. Soft Landscaping involves the lawns and plants.


Designing a garden takes artistic flair combined with good knowledge of available materials and a practical, systematic approach. These skills are something that need to be learnt properly if you are to succeed in applying them in a business.

Often people develop a wonderful home garden for themselves, and are subsequently encouraged by friends to "go into landscaping". If this describes you, then you probably have potential to become a successful landscaper; but you will still need at least some basic training. Running a garden design business, making money out of it, and keeping customers satisfied, is different to developing a couple of home gardens that satisfy yourself and your friends.


  • Only take on small jobs at first (e.g. courtyards or parts of larger gardens).
  • Take photos of jobs you do, to show clients in the future.
  • Collect books and magazines with photos of gardens which you can discuss with clients. (Only show them things that you are confident about designing and/or building)
  • As you do designs, make copies for yourself, and put together a folio of plans that you can show potential clients.


The answer to this question is different for every situation. Formal qualifications rarely make a huge difference, but being able to identify lots of different plants does. You also need a good understanding of landscape materials and soils and know how to design a garden and draw a plan.

Some people learn these things partially (or fully) on the job,  others do a formal course.

Do you want to Design Gardens?  We recommend you study a Certificate in Garden Design

Do you want to start a Landscape Contracting Company?  We recommend you study a Diploma in Landscaping

Do you want to seek employment with an existing Landscaper and learn on the job? We recommend you study Horticulture I

Do You Want to Talk to an Experienced Landscape Professional ....if so .... click and fill out as much detail as possible on the Free Course Counselling form
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