Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

On a typical day you may:

  • raise and look after plants from seeds or cuttings
  • dig, plant and weed flower beds and borders
  • tidy overgrown shrubs and trees
  • control pests damaging plants
  • use and clean equipment like lawn mowers and hedge trimmers
  • build basic items such as sheds, patios or fences


You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • physical skills like lifting, bending and reaching
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a gardener typically doesn’t require specific subjects, but a strong foundation in certain subjects and skills can be beneficial for a career in gardening and horticulture. Here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Biology: Biology can provide valuable knowledge about plant biology, growth, and ecosystems, which are relevant to gardening.
  2. Environmental Science: This subject can help you understand environmental factors that affect plant health and gardening practices.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for tasks like measuring garden plots, calculating fertilizer quantities, and managing budgets.
  4. Art and Design: Creativity is often important in landscape design and gardening, so art and design skills can be useful for planning and aesthetics.
  5. Geography: Geography can help you understand soil types, climate, and local geography, which can influence plant selection and gardening practices.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by a professional body


You could do a course in gardening or horticulture to learn some of the skills and knowledge you need.

In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Certificate in Horticulture Skills
  • Diploma in Practical Horticultural Skills
  • Certificate or Diploma in Horticulture

Courses might cover things like how to identify plants, grow plants from seed and use gardening machinery safely.


You could do a:

  • horticulture and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship to get a job as a gardener
  • landscape or horticulture supervisor advanced apprenticeship to get more experience
  • horticulture and landscaping technical manager higher apprenticeship to become a head gardener or manager


You might find it easier to get a job as a gardener if you have some experience, for example working in a garden centre or protecting land.

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


Many organisations offer volunteering opportunities.

Direct Application

Employers value work experience in gardening.

You might also need to show employers that you have gardening skills, knowledge and enthusiasm.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 38-40 hours of work. You could be required to work freelance/be self-employed managing your own hours.

You could work in a garden, in a park, at a client’s business, at a client’s home or in woodland. Your working environment may be at height and outdoors in all weathers. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

With experience, you could:

  • become a senior or head gardener
  • set up your own business gardening for private customers
  • move into a similar role, such as landscaper, groundsperson or arboricultural officer
  • do another qualification to work on trees in a job like tree surgeon