Landscapers and Groundskeepers
On the Job
Landscapers and groundskeepers plant and take care of flowers, lawns, shrubs, and trees.
Do you envision a delightful, informal cottage garden, full of roses, perennials, and sweet-smelling herbs? How about a beautiful Japanese garden, with carefully pruned shrubs, bonsai trees, and clean lines? Perhaps you'd like a more architectural approach, with terraced plots and carefully designed garden paths. Whatever your fancy, landscapers and groundskeepers take a person's vision of their outdoor space and turn it into reality.Landscapers and groundskeepers water and mow lawns, trim plants, prune trees and shrubs, and rake leaves. They may plant trees, shrubs, lawns, and flowers and apply mulch, fertilizers, and pesticides.
Landscapers work on large properties, such as office buildings and shopping malls. They put in plants following plans drawn up by a landscape architect. Landscapers also work for residential customers. For these customers, landscapers terrace hillsides, build retaining walls, and spread rocks. Some landscapers are called lawn service workers. They specialize in maintaining lawns and shrubs. Others specialize by working for chemical lawn service firms. They inspect lawns for problems and apply chemicals. Some landscapers specialize in trimming trees. These workers are called pruners. They use ladders to reach trees, or climb trees using climbing belts and hooks.
Groundskeepers do routine or special types of maintenance for athletic fields, golf courses, cemetery grounds, or park and recreation facilities. They are often classified as either grounds managers or grounds maintenance personnel. They maintain a variety of facilities. These include athletic fields, golf courses, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks. Grounds managers have more knowledge of plants, landscape design, pest management, irrigation, and erosion control than maintenance personnel. They also have supervisory duties. Groundskeepers in parks and recreation facilities care for plants, maintain playgrounds and athletic fields, clean buildings, and pick up litter. In the winter, particularly in the North, groundskeepers may remove snow from driveways, roadways, walkways, and parking lots.
Landscapers and groundskeepers use hand tools such as shovels, pruning saws, hedge and brush trimmers, axes, rakes, and saws. They also use power lawnmowers, snow blowers, electric clippers, and chain saws. They may make minor repairs to power equipment.
In some cases, landscapers and groundskeepers operate independently. This may mean that they have employees that they supervise. They may also advise customers on proper plant and tree care and develop budgets.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Plant flowers. Dig holes, add fertilizer, and plant trees and shrubs.
- Water and fertilize plants. Seed new lawns.
- Mow and mulch lawns. Care for natural turf fields.
- Clean and maintain hand tools and power equipment.
- Operate power equipment, such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers.
- Maintain outdoor recreation equipment and swimming pools.
- Remove snow and ice.
- Prune trees and shrubs. Trim back flowers and weed flower beds.
- Climb trees using ladders or climbing hooks and belts.
- Mix and apply pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other chemicals.
- Follow plans from landscape architect or directions from home owner when adding new plants.
- Maintain irrigation systems, especially in winter and spring.
- Clean and service machinery and tools.
- May use special equipment, such as shredding and chipping machines.
- Haul yard debris away, using trucks.
- Inspect trees and plants to see if they have diseases.
- May advise customers on tree and plant care. May assist developing budgets.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
- Control machines and processes.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Handle and move objects.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Repair and maintain mechanical equipment.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Work with the public.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Think creatively.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a medium level of social interaction. They speak with supervisors or customers, but also spend time alone.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of others.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
- Communicate primarily by telephone or face-to-face discussions.
- Often work as part of a team.
- Often work outdoors.
- Always wear protective and safety attire. This may include specialized safety gear.
- Are sometimes exposed to hazardous chemicals.
- Are regularly exposed to distracting and loud sounds and noise levels.
- Are sometimes exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures while working outside.
- Are sometimes exposed to hazards that produce cuts, burns, and insect bites.
- Are sometimes exposed to extremely bright or inadequate lighting.
- Are often exposed to high places if working as a pruner.
- Usually travel to and from work sites in trucks.
- Must be exact in their work and be sure all details are done so that customers are happy with their work.
- Repeat the same physical and mental activities.
- Must sometimes match the pace of work with the speed of equipment.
- Regularly make decisions that greatly impact the look of their client's outdoor spaces.
- Often act without consulting another person first.
- Set some, but not all, of their daily tasks and goals without consulting a supervisor first.
- Must meet daily and weekly deadlines.
- May work part time or full time.
- May work less or be laid off during winter months.
- May travel from site to site.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Stand for long periods of time.
- Walk, stand, kneel, stoop, or crouch while tending plants.
- Bend or twist the body.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Move arms and legs while remaining in one place.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Keep or regain balance.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See objects in very bright or glaring light.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- While looking forward, see objects or movements that are off to the side.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.