How To Become A Landscaper In Australia: Explained

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Students want to know how to become landscapers in Australia.


Do you enjoy being with nature, dealing with plants and decorating outdoor spaces? Then, a career as a landscaper might suit you.


Landscapers combine design expertise and technical abilities to improve outdoor environments. They plan and build visually pleasing and functional landscapes for residential and commercial spaces.


You don't need a formal qualification to work as a Landscaper. However, a Certificate III or IV in landscaping or horticulture can help advance your landscaping career.


In this blog, you will learn the landscaper's role, what they do, the skills and qualifications they need, apprenticeships, license requirements, how much they earn, salary, where they work, and the study pathways to becoming one.



1. What Is Landscaping?


Landscaping is an activity to improve, beautify, and make the environment more functional. There are two types: scaping and hardscaping.


Soft scaping comprises the following garden elements:


  • Soil

  • Turf

  • Mulch

  • Flower beds

  • Shrubs

  • Trees

  • Vegetables and other plants


Hardscaping covers the "structural" elements of a landscape design, such as:


  • Walkways

  • Terraces

  • Driveways

  • Retaining walls

  • Patios

  • Paving

  • Pools

  • Ponds



2. What Is A Landscape Designer?


Landscapers, also called landscape gardeners or landscapers, design and construct outdoor spaces like yards, public parks, gardens, and golf courses. They use their knowledge to create aesthetically pleasing and sustainable outdoor spaces.


Landscapers work for landscaping companies, local councils, or local governments. They can also work self-employed and work as freelancers or independent contractors.



3. Reasons To Become A Landscaper


Plenty of reasons to make landscaping a popular career path for many. Here are the most common ones:


  • Freedom from the office cubicle and desk job. You are your boss in this profession. 

  • You work outside under blue skies and in plenty of fresh air and sunshine. If you love being with nature and spending time with birds, butterflies, bees, plants, and soil, you will love this job. 

  • Outdoor work keeps you fit, active and healthy.

  • Higher salary than average for trades

  • Diverse and exciting work. Landscapers engage in various activities. These include horticulture, concreting, irrigation, decking, stonework, paving brickwork, drainage, mowing, mulching, fertilising, pruning, and planting, which makes the job exciting. 

  • Creativity is crucial in landscaping, from choosing plants and hard materials to designing a perfect space.

  • Seeing your hard work brings joy and happiness to the community is emotionally fulfilling and satisfying.

  • Much scope to grow and expand your skillset and knowledge. Landscapers can specialise in structural or soft landscaping to pursue advanced roles as landscape architects, designers, gardeners, or interior landscapers.

  • Flexibility to work self-employed and run your business



4. What Equipment Do Landscapers Use?


Landscapers work with a range of manual equipment and power tools that includes:


  • Chainsaws

  • Lawnmowers

  • Hedge trimmers

  • Leaf blowers

  • Snowblowers

  • Trimmers

  • Weed whackers

  • Push and ride lawnmowers

  • Shovels

  • Hoes

  • Spades

  • Edgers

  • Rakes



5. What Does A Landscaper Do in Australia?


From simple tasks like picking weeds and mowing a lawn to advanced ones like installing vertical gardens or arbours, a landscaper may perform many different tasks. 


Here is a comprehensive list of the responsibilities that forms part of a landscaper's role:


  • Place bids on landscape projects and meet with the client to plan and budget landscaping projects.

  • Create design plans and drawings for hardscape and softscape structures 

  • Analyse the available land space to develop design elements to construct landscapes and residential and commercial gardens

  • Create technical drawings that mention the plant species to use and design elements such as pathways, retaining walls, water features, and paved areas

  • Choose plant types based on the following: soil quality, local climate, drainage, water use, and exposure to the sun to choose the suitable building material.

  • Prepare plans and drawings, choose and order plants and materials, and build timelines for landscape construction.

  • Lay down seeds, hedges, bulbs, flowers, bushes, or trees in a way that makes the space look visually appealing

  • Prepare lawn areas by laying instant turf or spreading topsoil and planting grass.

  • Apply pesticides and fertiliser to landscape areas 

  • Undertake lawn care to promote healthy growth and ensure people enjoy the space

  • Construct recreational structures like water features, swings, playground equipment, ponds, garden furniture, etc.

  • Offer technical advice on development plans and project proposals.

  • Use ground maintenance equipment such as trimmers, edgers, and lawnmowers.

  • Maintain irrigation systems, lawn equipment, and landscape areas

  • Liaise with contracted builders and professional gardeners to carry out irrigation, construction, and other specialised tasks

  • Install various systems, including automated drip, gazebos, sprinklers, irrigation systems, barbecue pits, retaining walls, fences, pergolas, and shade structures.

  • In smaller companies, landscapers report directly to the owner of a company. Comparatively, larger companies report to a landscaping specialist, horticulturist, or general manager. 



6. Landscaper Personal Requirements


As landscaping is purely outdoor and physical work, physical stamina, strength, and fitness are crucial to working in this profession. 


Along with this, you need to exhibit the following desirable qualities:


  • A love of nature 
  • Enjoy a hands-on outdoor job

  • Strong design skills 

  • Knowledge of maths, horticulture, and science to design plantings, water features, walkways, and paths 

  • Manual dexterity

  • Flexible

  • Safety consciousness

  • Critical thinking

  • Organisational skills

  • Great attention to detail

  • Good Communication skills 

  • Highly creative and imaginative

  • Extensive knowledge of horticulture

  • Reasonable technical abilities

  • Practical problem-solving ability

  • Able to clearly and accurately convey landscape designs



7. Landscaper Qualifications In Australia


  • You do not need professional qualifications to work as a landscaper contractor in Australia. However, undertaking a VET qualification through TAFE or RTO in Landscape Design and related areas can be beneficial.

  • Consider completing a vocational qualification, such as a Certificate II in Horticulture, a Certificate III in Landscape Construction, a Certificate IV in Permaculture, or a Diploma of Landscape Design.

  • Alternatively, you can undertake a landscaping apprenticeship with a local employer to gain knowledge and experience in this sector.

  • Gain on-the-job training and practical experience working with a landscaping company to develop the essential landscaping skills 

  • You may need to undergo Construction Induction Training and obtain a White card to work on construction sites.



8. Steps To Become A Landscaper In Australia


If you love the outdoors and appreciate attractive landscapes, then follow the steps to pursue a role in landscaping:



Step 1: Learn About Landscaping


Start by learning landscape basics by reading blogs or watching YouTube videos on landscaping. Additionally, you can find several short courses online to learn about design principles, different landscape designs, and ways to apply them.


You can even look for an experienced landscaper who can offer you work experience, mentorship, and on-the-job training.



Step 2: Study Horticulture


Studying horticulture is essential to making a successful start in landscaping. After gaining basic landscaping knowledge, look for a course that gives you an understanding of plant species, ecology, and the environment. 


It is essential when designing sustainable and healthy gardens.



Step 3: Earn A Qualification


Do you want to know how to become a landscape designer without a degree? You can become a landscaper without professional education. 


Plenty of online courses are available in landscaping, horticulture, or a similar area to teach you the basic skills and knowledge to work in this field. 


A few relevant vocational qualifications to consider are:


  • Certificate II in Landscaping

  • Certificate III in Landscape Construction

  • Certificate IV in Permaculture

  • Diploma in Landscape Design


Alternatively, you can complete a three-year university degree in landscape design. It covers various stages of landscape design, site tectonics, designed ecologies, and urban open spaces design.



Step 4: Complete An Apprenticeship


An apprenticeship is an excellent opportunity to work under the supervision of a landscaping contractor and develop your practical knowledge while qualifying.


Talk to local landscapers or join an apprenticeship network to find landscaping apprentice opportunities. You may earn a low salary at first. Still, the valuable experience you gain will make the road easier to securing an entry role in the industry. 



Step 4: Do Practice


Find real-life opportunities to put your landscaping knowledge and skills to practical use. Ask your friends/family if they need help redesigning their backyard etc. 


Small landscaping projects will help you learn how to lay down seeds, hedges, bulbs, flowers, or trees and create healthy and alluring surroundings. 


Another good way to gain practical exposure and work experience and build your portfolio is to participate in garden competitions.


These contests offer an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their talents and experience with their acquired skills.



Step 5: Seek On-The-Job Training


Generally, clients look for skilled and qualified landscapers with a proven track record of quality work. It assures them that the candidate they hire can do the job.


Training in a local council or landscaping company could allow you to refine your skills and gain industry experience. 


The hands-on practical training you get in landscaping areas will help you stand apart from other landscaping aspirants. These include concreting, design, irrigation, paving, excavator operation, and planting. 



Step 6: Obtain Any Required Licences


Check the landscaping licensing requirements in the state where you wish to work. 


In some states, you need a builder's license/registration to perform hardscaping tasks and specific vehicle licenses to operate heavy machinery.



Step 7: Become A Member Of a Professional Organisation


A professional membership benefits you in building a professional network, staying updated with industry development, and showing your commitment to your profession to potential employers.


You can come across several other landscapers and trade professionals that will help widen your network, learn about job vacancies, and pursue CPD. 


The Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers is a reputed professional body in which you can consider gaining membership.



Step 8: Consider Setting Up Your Business


As you gain experience and advance in your career, consider establishing your landscaping business. Running your own business allows you to focus on the most appealing projects. 


You can decide on your work hours, hire other professionals, and make more money as a business owner. Complete a course in small business management before you begin your business. 


Some of the best courses to consider are:


  • Certificate IV in New Small Business

  • Statement of Attainment in Digital Business Skill 

  • Statement of Attainment in eMarketing for Small Business

  • Certificate I, II, III or IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Bachelor in Business


Additionally, register with the Australian Tax Office to obtain an ABN (Australian Business Number) to operate a legal business.



9. How Long Does It Take To Become A Landscaper In Australia?


The time you will require to become a landscape depends on your chosen study pathway. Formal education is optional for landscapers, as most workers learn through on-the-job training. 


However, some employers prefer job applicants who hold a Certificate in landscape design or a Diploma in landscape design. The Certificate course takes 50 hours of online study, and the Diploma course requires 1.5 hours of study to qualify. 


Thus, it takes around a few months to up to two years of training at a trade school or community college to become a qualified landscaper and work in this role.



10. Work Conditions Of A Landscaper


A landscaper's job is physically demanding and challenging. It is an almost exclusively outdoor job that requires moving and lifting heavy tools, kneeling, bending, digging, shovelling, and other difficult manual labour.


Landscapers can face uncomfortable weather, such as rain, heavy winds, and heat waves, making the job more difficult. Landscapers occasionally have to work in an office, consult with clients, draw up design layouts, and maintain records.


While many companies recruit a team of landscapers who travel to job sites together, landscapers who work for golf courses spend their entire day maintaining a single property.


Landscapers usually wear protective equipment, like goggles and helmets, while handling pesticides and chemicals. They diligently follow safety guidelines while working with hand and power tools to avoid injury.



11. Where Does A Landscaper Work?


Landscapers work in various environments for many people, including business owners, colleagues, homeowners, and officials. They are getting hired to enhance a property's curb appeal or perform basic construction and demolition of different structures.


Various public and private companies employ landscapers to share their technical knowledge of plants, cultivation, design and planting with customers offering personalised landscape design services.


Malls, restaurants, retail stores, schools, hospitals, offices, and homeowners need landscapers to create interior plants, capes, courtyards, and gardens. 


Here are the most common entities that employ landscapers:


  • Businesses

  • Golf courses 

  • Private homes

  • Public spaces

  • Civic services

  • Lawn services

  • Commercial entities

  • Retail Garden Centres

  • Wholesale Nurseries or Greenhouses

  • Country Clubs, Hotels, and Resorts

  • Private clients construct, design, and maintain their privately owned lands. 


Some landscapers also work self-employed, alone or as part of teams.



12. Work Opportunities For A Landscaper In Australia


Landscapers can work in a variety of professions across Australia. Clients generally look for well-established landscapers who understand the local climate and environmental conditions.


There are three different landscaping career fields:


  • As a Landscape Contractor who constructs a landscape 

  • As a Horticulturist who maintains a landscape (parks and gardens)

  • As a Landscape Designer who designs a landscape 


As landscaping offers a pool of career opportunities, think about the area best suited for your skillset. 


Each of the above areas offers plenty of room to develop new skills, explore new opportunities and advance your learning. 


Like any trade, success and high earnings come to committed individuals who choose the right field and invest time and effort to excel in their craft. 



13. Career Paths For A Landscaper In Australia


Are you a qualified landscaper looking to enhance your skills and knowledge? Choose from the options below to continue your landscaping education and become a specialist in a specific field.



Landscape Construction


  • Job Title: Landscape contractor

  • Required Qualification: Certificate III in Landscape Construction

  • Apprenticeship: You don't need an apprenticeship to enrol. However, it can be a great way to improve your employability.  

  • Advanced Courses: Diploma of Landscape Project Management or a Diploma of Landscape Design.



Landscape Maintenance (Parks and Gardens)


  • Job Title: Horticulturist      

  • Required Qualification: Certificate III in Parks and Gardens 

  • Apprenticeship: You don't need an apprenticeship to enrol. 

  • Advanced Courses: Certificate IV in Parks and Gardens, a Diploma of Parks and Gardens



Landscape Design


  • Job Title: Landscape designer

  • Required Qualification: Diploma in Landscape Design

  • Apprenticeship: No Apprenticeship is available. 

  • Advanced Courses: Graduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture



14. Job Prospects For Landscapers In Australia


Creating green and beautiful spaces is an affordable way to make property owners healthy and happy. Moreover, it also facilitates local sports events, social gatherings, and walks in the park. 


The local government understands the importance and benefits of landscaping and encourages this activity in different regions.


According to the National Job Outlook website, unemployment for landscapers is below the national average. Presently, over 20,000 landscapers are working in the country. The past few years have seen strong growth in the number of landscapers.


The government also projects steady demand and high future growth for landscapers in the coming years. Job opportunities can range from building a terrace house, backyard and small gardens to larger suburban projects, including large urban park construction and landscaping for apartments.


Those living in suburban areas may get a construction project with a developer to do the landscaping for residential developments. You may find opportunities in local parks or large estates in rural areas.


Top landscapers recruiters include Administrative and Support Services, Construction, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Around 76% of workers work full-time for 43 hours per week. 


Mere 5% of workers are female, and the average age of the employed workforce is 34 years.



15. How Much Do Landscapers Earn In Australia?


Landscaper salaries vary based on qualification, experience, geographic location, level of demand, availability of work, nature of employment, or the position you work in an organisation.


As landscaping is always needed, landscapers are in short supply and earn very competitive salaries. The average landscaper's hourly rate in Australia is AU$25.20, or equivalent to AU$57,122 per year.



Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level Landscapers (< 1-year experience) earn AU$22.45 per hour 

  • Early career Landscapers (1-4 years of experience) earn AU$24.52 per hour

  • Mid-career Landscapers (5 to 9 years of experience) earn AU$26.47 per hour 

  • Experienced Landscapers (10 to 19 years of experience) earn AU$29.09 per hour 



Salary Based on Location


Top paying Australian cities for Senior Landscapers:


  • Sydney NSW: $90,903 per year

  • Melbourne VIC: $90,787 per year

  • Bunjil WA: $87,240 per year

  • Brisbane QLD: $63,451 per year



16. Conclusion


Landscaping is a lucrative and rewarding career. Working to make greener and more appealing landscapes brings immense satisfaction. Although this career is physically demanding, it offers a solid income, the freedom to run your business, and an opportunity to work outside the office.


Physical fitness, technical knowledge, and a high level of skill mastery will make you successful in this industry. If enhancing outdoor environments interests you, enrol in a landscaping course now and start to make your dream come true.


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