Top 3 Careers in Gardening Today

Throughout the years, the simple act of growing plants for personal relaxation and consumption at home has become one of the most notable activities all over the world. And, if you like to become called a professional gardener or a garden expert, there are now schools offering gardening courses. Do you know which careers in gardening are the most popular today?

Arborist – “The Tree Specialist”

Professional Levels

Gardener pruning a tree.

Craft level arborists work with homeowners and commercial properties to control the growth of trees, remove unwanted trees and work with landscape architects to cultivate the ideal tree design. This level requires hands-on gardening techniques, which include detailed pruning, stump grinding, and felling.

The next arborist level is commonly referred to as Technical Level, which navigate throughout various project sites to ensure the health of trees are maintained and the overall design of a lead landscape architect is followed.

These arborists may work as inspectors and supervisors over small and large-scale projects.

The final arborist career level is Management and Consultant Level. This arborist profession manages a team of Craft Level arborists for one or more projects. As a consultant, these professionals are called upon during the planning phase of landscape projects. They may be asked to recommend specific trees or help diagnose issues with current trees.

Employment Opportunities

The majority of arborists work for private firms hired by residences and commercial properties to trim, remove and design trees. It’s not uncommon for an arborist to work hand-in-hand with a landscape architect regarding specific garden designs.

Arborist Consultants may not physically deal with the planting, pruning and removing trees, but rather work as a consultant with private clients to determine the best type of trees for a particular project.

Arborists may be hired out by large private estates and government agencies to oversee the growth, development and positioning of trees in green spaces.

Educational Requirements

There are several educational pathways available. In the most generalized sense, the minimum requirements for this position is a high school diploma and a two-year technical college certificate in arboriculture.

It’s not uncommon to receive 100% of your training on-the-job; however, due to the competitive nature of this industry, those with previous training and certifications are most desired by potential employers.

Although there are many certifying bodies dedicated to training and certifying aspiring arborists, few are as respected as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which offers six distinct certificates.

Certification is not a measure of standards of practice. Certification can attest to the tree knowledge of an individual but cannot guarantee or ensure quality performance.

Landscape Architect – “The Landscaping Expert”

3D Landscape Design by V3 Studio Berzunza

Image Source: Media Director, CC BY-ND 2.0 via flickr

Are you passionate about growing plants and wish to play an active role in the development, appearance and vitality of public and private gardens?

If you enjoy the idea of designing attractive and create outdoor spaces like a magical fairy garden so they are not only functional but also beautiful, then you’ll want to explore a career as a landscape architect.

Part gardener, part designer and part architect, these gardening professionals design the overall appearance and functionality of outdoor spaces to meet the goals of clients while working with the natural environment.

Along with detailing the physical design of gardens and green spaces, these professionals also work with civil engineers and architects to help determine where buildings, walkways, roads and other elements fit within their surrounding environment.

Job Function

Although there are many duties and job functions attached to being a landscape architect, the following are considered universal throughout the industry:

  • Meet with clients, engineers and architects to fully understand a project.
  • Create site plans, also known as blueprints, which include specifications of a project and cost estimations. This information is typically gathered through your own research and by collaborating with other architectural professionals assigned to a specific.
  • Work hand-in-hand with fellow project managers to coordinate the arrangement of existing and future land elements, buildings, and features.
  • Work with computer-aided design and drafting, or CADD, software to create animated representations of the blueprint you initially created. These digital graphic images are used to walk clients through your proposed design ideas.
  • Identify and gather appropriate materials, plants and elements needed to construct the finalized design.
  • Create a landscape design based on environmental surroundings, such as land conditions, energy requirements and natural or man-made drainage elements.
  • Monitor the implementation to ensure the work adheres to the original blueprints approved by the client(s).
  • Engage with community marketing campaigns to promote the newly constructed green space. (This may or may not be required for all projects.)

Employment Opportunities

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, roughly 46 percent of landscape architects are employed by the engineering and architectural industry while approximately 15 percent of architects employed in the landscaping services industry.

It’s not uncommon for a landscape architect to own his or her own business. In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 architects is self-employed. The majority of commercial positions are in the private sector; however, government agencies often employ landscape architects to design their office parks or to assist in the development of public parks and other green spaces.

Educational Requirements

All states, outside of Washington D.C., Maine, Illinois, and Massachusetts, require landscape architects to hold a valid state license. Although the licensing requirements can vary from state-to-state, the most common educational pathway to this career involves:

  • Completing a 1 to 4-year internship within a licensed landscape architectural firm – the internship duration is based upon licensing requirements of your state.

Florist – “The Floral Designer”

Floral designer

Image Source: Matt Wiebe, CC BY 2.0 via flickr

Job Function

Florists are artists who utilize the natural beauty and wonder of plants and flowers to create their art. These professionals perfectly combine the aesthetic appeal of plants with artistic talent to cultivate the perfect floral arrangement based upon client needs.

Also referred to as floral designers, florists typically perform the following functions throughout their day:

  • Grow or order plants from gardening nurseries to ensure their inventory is stocked with the appropriate flowers and plants to create their designs. Specialty flowers may be ordered for special orders.
  • Meeting clients to determine the type of arrangement that’s desired based on the occasion, date, time and purpose of the floral arrangement. These meetings are typically done in-person with new clients; however, it’s not uncommon to hold digital conference calls or video calls to obtain the necessary information for the floral creation.
  • Upon reviewing the requirements of the order, recommendations are then made on designs by showcasing his or her portfolio or creating drawings of potential designs.
  • Create a custom arrangement based upon the budget of their client.
  • Personally design floral displays based upon the needs of a client to ensure the sentiment or style is evoked.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as answering telephones, taking orders and finalizing the delivery of floral arrangements.

Employment Opportunities

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, roughly 49 percent of florists work in retail environments for local or chain florist shops while 12 percent of the workforce is found in smaller floral shops within grocery stores.

Although the majority of jobs are in the commercial retail industry, roughly 26 percent of florists are self-employed or working in a freelance basis.

Educational Requirements

The majority of florists feature a high school diploma and gain experience via on-the-job training under an apprenticeship. However, to gain an upper-hand in this highly-competitive industry, many of the most successful floral designers attend post-secondary programs found at floral schools, technical colleges and community colleges.

The majority of these programs offer a certificate of completion or a diploma. However, there are several universities and community colleges that offer a two-year associate’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree in floral design.

Although a license or certification is not required to work in this industry, those just starting out may find the benefits of earning such a credential to be worth the time and effort. The American Institute of Floral Designers is the leading certifying body for this industry.

To become a florist, you need more than a casual interest in floral design; you’ll also need a mix of floral industry experience, training and the right attitude. Having formal post-secondary education in a related field is not typically necessary, although it can be of great help in developing the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies.

So, which career are you most interested? Improve your knowledge about gardening by following the top 20 gardening blogs in 2015