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How to Become a Landscape Manager: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a landscape manager. Research the education and career requirements, licensure information and experience required for starting a career as a landscape manager.

Should I Become a Landscape Manager?

Landscaping professionals create and maintain outdoor spaces by planting trees and flowers, fertilizing and cutting grass, trimming shrubs and hedges and laying mulch. In addition to natural aesthetics, landscapers also install patios, decks and walkways. The outdoor spaces may include backyards, parks, commercial settings and apartment complexes.

Though landscape managers hire employees and oversee their work, they must also be comfortable working with landscaping tools themselves. They should enjoy spending time outdoors and working with hedge clippers, lawnmowers, rakes and other tools. Full-time work is available; however, it may be seasonal in nature.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's degree
Degree Fields Horticulture, landscape architecture
Licensure A pesticide license is required in many states; some states require companies to have tree removal or tree trimming licensure
Experience Typically 3 years of management and landscaping experience
Key Skills Ability to lead; strategic planning, verbal and written communication skills; attention to detail; time management, problem-solving, presentation, organizational and budget management skills; ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel and facilities management software; experience working with trimmers, garden spades, weed whackers, irrigation systems, skip loaders, screwdrivers and pruning shears; physical stamina
Salary (2015) $45,672 (median salary)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monster.com job postings (November 2012), O*NET OnLine, PayScale.com (July 2015)

Step 1: Gain Work Experience

Even before enrolling in a degree program, individuals can find employment opportunities as ground maintenance workers and gain experience in the field. While in high school, individuals can work part-time or for summer employment. As a ground maintenance worker, individuals will mow lawns, plant flowers and trim hedges. Employers typically seek managers with at least three years of field experience.

Success Tip:

  • Complete state licensure or registration requirements. Some states require that landscaping workers obtain licensure to use pesticides. Licensure can be earned by passing an exam. Companies performing tree trimming services and advertising as such may need to register with their state or secure licensure. State training and proof of liability insurance and workers compensation insurance may be necessary to apply. Individuals need to check with their state regarding renewal of these licenses.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Typically, landscape management positions require at least an associate's degree in landscape architecture, horticulture or a related field. Topics covered in these programs can include landscape construction, environmental systems, soil fertility, horticulture equipment, landscape design and plant diseases. In addition to coursework, students will also have an opportunity to learn in the field and gain hands-on experience.

Success Tip:

  • Develop strong business skills. Minoring in business or taking business courses while in school will be good preparation for management positions. This will ensure individuals have a basic understanding of accounting, marketing and management.

Step 3: Pursue Management Opportunities

Landscaping management opportunities may be available with parks and recreation departments, colleges and universities or private landscaping companies. While some management positions can be earned through a promotion, other positions can often be found on local job boards or in the newspaper.

Step 4: Consider Advancement as a Landscape Architect

Individuals interested in putting their business skills and landscaping experience to use as landscape architects might consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in this field. These Bachelor of Landscape Architecture programs teach students how to design landscapes found in public parks, homes and university campuses as well as other public and private settings.


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