How To Become A Gardener In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become expert gardeners in Australia.


Do you love plants and want a hands-on job that immerses you in nature? If yes, becoming a gardener could be the perfect career for you.


Gardeners plant, cultivate and maintain all kinds of plants in various landscape designs and environments. They identify, treat, and proactively control pest diseases, environmental difficulties, and plant health issues.


The article discusses the landscape gardener job description, personal requirements, earning potential, job prospects, and steps to pursue an entry role in this career.



1. Who Is A Gardener?


Gardeners design, develop and maintain garden landscapes or recondition existing gardens. They use various gardening skills and scientific knowledge to create beautiful and functional landscapes.


They regularly inspect the health of plants to ensure they are disease-free and healthy. They also guide farmers on fruits, flowers, vegetables, and non-organic garden features such as pergolas, fences, and paths.


Gardeners grow and upkeep a wide species of plants, ranging from existing gardens to prominent flower displays and pristine lawns. 


Landscape gardeners work at several sites, that includes public and private gardens and parks, yards, indoor facilities, housing estates, and industrial complexes.



2. Gardener Job Description Australia


Gardeners work all year round performing the following tasks and duties:


  • Prepare areas for landscape construction by analysing sites and clearing debris.

  • Plant trees, shrubs, hedges, bulbs, and flowers

  • Spread topsoil and plant grass to prepare lawn areas

  • Prepare and maintain seedbeds. 

  • Lay instant turf

  • Upkeep planted and grassed sites by weeding, mulching, aerating, mowing, fertilising, pruning, watering, and applying insecticide. 

  • Install devices to support and protect plants

  • Create plans, drawings, specifications, and quotations for landscape construction

  • Choose the right plants and materials. 

  • Construct or repair gravel and paved sites, arches, fences, garden walls, ponds, garden furniture, irrigation systems, and barbecues

  • Assess the condition of trees and determine the appropriate treatment

  • Cut limbs off trees 

  • Use handsaws and chains to shape branches. 

  • Spray trees and plants to prevent pests and disease

  • Grow and raise seedlings

  • Remove leaves, snow, litter, and debris to improve outdoor areas.

  • Maintain gardening tools and equipment

  • Operate trucks, tractors, chainsaws, and mowers to mow grass, trim, and care for the soil



3. Relevant Skills For Gardeners


If the gardener profile interests you, here are the top skills that can make you successful in this role.


  • Love for nature 

  • Like working outdoors and in all weather conditions

  • Enjoy hands-on and practical work

  • Resilient 

  • Physically fit

  • Good communication skills

  • Enjoys outdoor work

  • Hard-working

  • Capable

  • Able to work safely with machinery and chemicals

  • Knowledge of working with power trimmers, mowers, weed pullers, and other gears 

  • Adaptable

  • Flexible

  • Highly organised 

  • Able to solve problems

  • Creative

  • Observant

  • Methodical

  • Reliable

  • Enthusiastic



4. Qualification For Gardeners In Australia


To become a Gardener, you do not need to study a formal qualification. However, a VET qualification will help you develop essential job skills and knowledge.


  • Though Year 10 education is the minimum requirement, completing Year 12 education will help you qualify for more job opportunities.

  • Complete a Certificate III in Horticulture (AHC30716) that gives you basic knowledge of the horticulture industry to seek an entry-level role

  • Advance you're learning by taking Certificate IV in Permaculture (AHC42116) 

  • You may need a valid White Card to work on construction sites.

  • driver's license may be required to transport heavy equipment to different sites.



5. Relevant Gardening Courses In Australia


To work as a gardener, you need to understand plants well and how to grow, nurture, and take care of them. Certificate II or III in Horticulture will help you realise your dream.


Certificate II in Horticulture is a nationally recognised qualification that gives you a basic understanding of the following: machine/tools operation, plant types, sample testing, pest treatment, weed removal, and more.


Following training schools and institutes offer this course in Australia:


  • CQ University


  • Tasmania TAFE



Do you want to expand your knowledge of wide and open spaces? A Certificate III in Horticulture provides intensive practical training to students in demonstrations, presentations, projects, or tests in an outdoor environment.


It helps develop fundamental horticulture skills highly sought after by organisations. With a focus on open space management, the course teaches you how to construct and maintain public spaces and improve your employment prospects.


You can complete this course in the following training schools and institutes:


  • Swinburne University

  • Federation University




Those already working in the industry and want to widen their existing skills should consider completing a Diploma of Horticulture course. 


The course equips students with the knowledge and practical skills in plant health and nutrition, identification of plants, landscape design, fertilisers, and business management and administration.


The following training institutes and universities offer the course:


  • Swinburne University

  • Federation University





6. Steps To Become A Gardener In Australia



Step 1: Get Qualified


You don't need formal training to be a Gardener. Still, a VET qualification in horticulture and related fields will help build knowledge and become more appealing to employers. Recommended courses to kickstart your career:


  • Certificate II in Horticulture

  • Certificate II In Agriculture, Environment and Related Study 

  • Certificate III in Horticulture

  • Certificate III in Landscape Construction

  • Certificate III in Parks and Gardens

  • Certificate IV in Permaculture



The above certification courses teach you the fundamental knowledge and specialist skills to work in the horticulture industry. You can complete most of the courses as part of an apprenticeship program.



Step 2: Upskill Yourself


To expand your skills or change to another role within the horticulture industry, consider completing a Diploma or university course in landscape design


Both these courses help you widen your career prospects and open new job opportunities in leadership and management roles.


  • Bachelor of Horticulture

  • Bachelor of Agriculture

  • Diploma of Horticulture

  • Graduate Certificate in Garden Design

  • Bachelor of Environmental Management



Step 3: Gain Experience


Gain relevant work experience as a gardener working with all types of plants. Not just does it build your knowledge of plants, but it also improves your candidature and gives you a competitive edge over your competitors.


You can apply for an apprenticeship, volunteer for botanical and community gardens, or apply for relevant jobs.



Step 4: Get Licensed


Obtain necessary licensing or other requirements as prescribed by the state where you wish to work. You must get a White Card to qualify for work on construction sites.

Useful Resources:




7. Career Opportunities For Gardeners in Australia


Talented and Well-trained Gardeners usually work in industries related to construction, public administration, farming, forestry, and the fishing sector. They work as part of a small team, local council, or large-scale company or run their gardening business.


A horticulture qualification could lead to careers related to farminglandscaping, plant breeding, pest control, nursery work, and more. The horticulture career pathway in Australia is as follows:


  • Landscaping Gardeners: They design and maintain private and public garden landscapes or renovate them to create an aesthetically pleasing and functional environment. Examples of private gardens include municipal parks, backyard gardens, commercial properties, and stately garden homes. They may even construct fences, grills, arches, ponds, garden furniture, barbecue areas, and play structures.


  • Floriculture Assistants: They perform nursery operations such as picking, grading and sorting plants for harvest and storing harvested plants.


  • Crop Workers: They use manual tools or machinery to plant a variety of plants that, includes trees, roots, seeds, vines, and bulbs, as well as cultivate and maintain crops.


  • Arboriculture Assistants: They perform specialised work to examine the health of trees and take the best care of them in public and private areas.


  • Horticulturist Assistants: They work outside and in greenhouses under the supervision of experienced people. They plant seed bulbs, maintain plant growth, and prepare plants for sale in the commercial market.


  • Plant Pathologists: They study to identify plant diseases caused due to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens in the greenhouse.


  • Horticultural Consultant: They offer specialised guidance in various fields of horticulture, such as plant nurseries, soil, home gardens, etc.


  • Ornamental Horticulturists: They deal with flower gardening and landscape horticulture. They also research decorative plants and flowers' growth, tending, and arrangements.


  • Horticultural Technicians: They work to grow, nurture, and market plants for sale to customers. They also study herbs for research, aesthetic, therapeutic, and educational objectives.


  • Plant care workers: They engage in various gardening processes such as planting, soil laying, mowing, fertilising, trimming, and watering.


  • Nursery Workers: They look after all operations from planting to harvesting of plants. They work in greenhouses to sow seeds, water, prune and grow plants and trees.


  • Self-employed Gardener: This is a good option for those interested in horticulture and starting their gardening business. Working in this role, you will manage and preserve your private gardens. In a larger company, you may even manage a team of gardeners to help you accomplish the job.



8. Working Conditions For A Landscape Gardener


A career as a Gardener is purely an outdoor job in greenhouses, nurseries, and indoor gardens. The job involves the care and upkeep of the landscape design on a continued basis.


Gardeners may work as professional contractors in a small firm or for a large facility with broader landscaping resources and requirements.


The work is mostly physically demanding and requires heavy lifting and working on your feet for extended periods. They may need to start working early in the morning and in all types of weather.


As gardeners are susceptible to machinery-induced injuries, they generally wear protective clothing when handling chemical pesticides and fertilisers.


63% of Gardeners work full-time for 43 hours per week, comparable to the industry's average of 44 hours. The average age of employed workers is 41 years. Only 11% of workers are female, which is very low compared to the industrial average of 48%.



9. Job Prospects Of Gardeners In Australia


Gardening is a substantial occupation. It provides work opportunities in many regions of Australia, with slightly higher demand in Western and South Australia


Gardeners primarily work in the industries of Administrative and Support Services, Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry, Environment, Construction, and Public Administration and Safety.


The Australian Government's Job Outlook website shows that the number of gardeners has grown enormously in the past five years. The government expects a robust growth of professionals over the next five years, from 86,800 in 2020 to 94,300 by 2025.



10. How Much Does A Gardener Earn In Australia?


The average annual gardener salary is AU$ 53,646, or an equivalent of an hourly wage of AU$ 24.95 or $1,078 per week.



Average Gardener Hourly Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level Gardener (< 1-year experience) AU$23.54

  • Early career Gardener (1 to 4 years of experience) earns AU$24.76

  • Mid-career Gardener (5 to 9 years of experience) AU$25.28

  • Experienced Gardener (10 to 19 years of experience) earns AU$ 25.66.



Top Paying Australian Cities for Gardeners


  • Newman WA: $37.78 per hour

  • Melbourne VIC: $30.92 per hour

  • Adelaide SA: $30.22 per hour

  • Brisbane QLD: $27.60 per hour

  • Perth WA: $23.97 per hour

  • Sydney NSW: $22.44 per hour

  • Geelong VIC: $21.34 per hour

  • Cairns QLD: $19.61 per hour



11. Conclusion


A career in gardening is a pleasurable and emotionally fulfilling experience for those wanting to work outdoors and in nature. Being a stable profession, you enjoy diverse work opportunities throughout Australia. 


Completing a Certificate II or III course is the ideal route to kickstarting a rewarding career in the horticulture industry.


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