Landscaping Industry – Growing & Growing & Growing …

Business is blooming for the landscape industry!

Being a professional in the landscape industry gives you the ability to touch lives in many profound ways. You take a leadership role in creating the world we live in by designing and building parks, conservation and oversight of water resources, create and manage wetlands to mitigate storm water runoff and pollution… These are just a couple of examples on how we contribute to the betterment of our land.

It has been reported that 86% of the people in the landscape industry stated if they had to do it all over again, they still would have chosen the landscape industry.

According to the research firm IBISWORLD, the landscape service industry is a $73 billion market with a 3.4 percent annual growth rate since 2009. By the end of 2016, worldwide, this industry will reach almost $220 billion according to the Garden Media.

The primary markets for landscape services are residential, commercial, and government entities. Most small companies serve the residential market which accounts for approximately 73.6% of the annual industry revenue.

Overall the landscape industry contributed 30% of their revenue to wages in 2015.  With that being said, the biggest obstacle is the ability to recruit and retain quality laborers and servicing. The skill gaps in youth employment is a big concern. Getting the youth informed and educated is a big step to solving the current lack of employees dilemma.

Katelyn Davis and Jeremy Sanders

Katelyn Davis and Jeremy Sanders

But there is hope! On November 2, 2016, Denver Public Schools held their 8th Grade Career Fair at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado.

Students were asked to complete an online Career Cluster Finder survey to explore careers that match their interest. At the Career Fair, students found their cluster of interest and interviewed  with 2-3 career representatives to find out what they do, what skills they need to have and how to best prepare for their career choice.

Oscar Chacon Jr and Juan, 8th graders at Henry World Middle School

Oscar Chacon Jr and Juan, 8th graders at Henry World Middle School

Next, they visited with post-secondary institutions to learn more about what they need to do in high school to prepare for various college entry requirements.

Lastly, they visited the high schools booths to learn which programs and schools best align them with their career and post-secondary goals.

Designscapes Colorado is a proud promoter of continuing education and cultivating advancements in the landscape industry. Designscapes employees Katelyn Davis and Jeremy Sanders were in attendance at this year’s event.  They provided valuable information and mentored the students on acquiring the proper skill set to be successful in this industry.  They spoke with numerous students detailing the advantages and of benefits being a landscape professional.

Listed below are loads of intriguing career probabilities to delve into if you are interested in exploring the many facets of the landscaping industry.

Careers in Landscaping

Agricultural Business Consultant

Evaluates agricultural businesses with the goal of increasing productivity, efficiency, and profits. Assists in establishing budgets. Provides advice on taxes, estate planning, and other financial issues. May be self-employed or work for financial consulting firms and agribusinesses. Requires a four-year degree in agricultural business or agricultural education.

Arborist/Urban Forester/Tree Service Technician

Concerned with all aspects of the care, protection, and maintenance of woody plants, especially trees, in urban settings. Employed by arboreta, botanical gardens, colleges/universities, consulting firms, Cooperative Extension, government agencies, landscape maintenance firms, large private estates, parks departments, research institutions, resorts, theme parks, tree nurseries, tree service companies, and utility companies. Wide range of educational requirements. Voluntary certification available through International Society of Arboriculture.

Arboretum/Botanical Garden/ Horticultural Garden Worker

Involves planting and maintaining plant collections in naturalized, systematic, or aesthetic arrangements. May also propagate plants, teach, and/or conduct research. Employed by arboreta, botanical gardens, city parks, colleges/universities, historical sites, nature preserves, public and private gardens, and recreational areas. Wide range of educational requirements.

Botanist/Plant Biologist

Studies the form and function of plants. Most are employed by educational institutions and government agencies. Others may be employed by arboreta, biological supply companies, biotechnology firms, botanical gardens, chemical companies, food companies, fruit growers, research institutions, and seed companies. Requires a minimum of a four-year degree.

Business Sales Representative

Promotes, markets, and distributes agriculturally related products to retail or wholesale businesses and growers. May work for companies that manufacture or sell chemicals, fertilizers, equipment, or horticultural supplies, as well as seed and plant suppliers. Wide range of educational requirements.


Involves one or more forms of mass media. Types of positions include agriculture/farm news director, book/magazine author, editor, journalist, photographer, public relations, scientific writer, technical illustrator, videographer, and Web designer. Employment opportunities include agribusiness firms, newspapers, radio/TV stations, and trade/garden magazines. Wide range of educational requirements.


Provides expert horticultural advice to businesses and growers. May specialize in one area; e.g. nursery crops. Many are self-employed; others work for equipment companies, landscape firms, and pesticide companies. Requires a minimum of a four-year college degree.


Teaches horticulture or related subjects at colleges, high schools, junior colleges, technical schools, universities, and vocational schools. Requires a minimum of a Bachelors Degree or Masters Degree. Ph.D. required for teaching at the college or university level.


Studies the science of wine and winemaking. Job types include operating machinery, picking grapes, teaching, and research, as well as winemaker. May be hired by colleges/universities, wineries, and grape producers. Wide range of educational requirements.

Extension Agent

Develops and coordinates programs to promote agriculture in the county. Involves research (such as field trials and test demonstrations) and providing educational opportunities for growers. Employed by land grant universities. Requires a minimum of a four-year college degree.

Extension Specialist

Develops and coordinates programs to promote horticulture in their state. Provides educational opportunities for Extension agents and conducts applied research. May also have teaching responsibilities at the university. Employed by land grant universities. Requires a Ph.D.


A general term for horticulturists who specialize in cut flowers, bedding plants, and potted plants. May be involved in marketing floral supplies and products, teaching, or conducting research. Employed by colleges/universities, florists, garden centers, producers, and technical schools. Wide range of educational requirements.

Florist/Floral Designer

Floriculturists who design flower and foliage plant arrangements. May also care for and sell live or dried floral material. Positions in florist shops and floral retail businesses; also large grocery stores and retail chains with floral departments. Wide range of educational requirements.

Food Scientist/Technician

Involved in every aspect of food production and processing from farm to table. Concerned with such issues as food safety, quality, and nutrition; developing new food products; and educating consumers. Employed by food processing companies, government agencies, and universities. Typical positions include food inspector, quality assurance specialist, marketing representative, researcher, and technician. Requires a college degree.

Garden Center Owner/Manager/ Worker

Sells landscape plants, tools, and supplies in a retail outlet. Provides plant information to customers. Positions include field worker, garden center owner, greenhouse worker, manager, and sales clerk. Wide range of educational requirements.

Greenhouse Manager/Worker

Plants, cultivates, manages, and harvests greenhouse crops. May be hired by commercial greenhouses or landscape companies. Wide range of educational requirements.

Grower/Plant Producer/Farmer

Produces horticultural crops for retail or wholesale markets. Works on and/or owns a greenhouse, nursery, orchard, sod farm, vegetable farm, vineyard, etc. May be an independent grower or be employed by other producers. Wide range of educational requirements.

Horticultural Therapist

Uses plants and horticultural activities to improve emotional, mental, and/or physical well-being of patients. Works as part of a team consisting of other health-care professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and/or social workers. May work with mentally disabled, emotionally disabled, senior groups, inner city youth, and prisoners. Employed by hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, schools, and rehabilitation centers. Requires specialized training in a post-secondary program accredited by the American Horticultural Therapy Association.

Interior Landscaping

Involves designing, installing, and maintaining interior plantings in private or public buildings. May be self-employed or work for landscape or interior design companies. Wide range of educational requirements.

Irrigation Specialist

Sells, installs, operates, and repairs irrigation systems at various locations, such as athletic fields, farms, golf courses, greenhouses, and nurseries. Requires a two- or four-year college degree in grounds management, landscape design, or a closely related field.

Landscape Architect

Plans and designs exterior landscapes for parks, recreational areas, campuses, industrial sites, institutional grounds, shopping malls, and other large projects. May be self-employed or work for developmental companies, government agencies, landscape architectural firms, or resorts. A four-year college degree is required for most entry level positions; however, some position require a graduate degree: State certification required.

Landscape Construction

Installs ornamental plant material, turfgrass, and structural landscape features according to plans from a landscape designer or landscape architect. Employed by a landscape contractor firm or landscape nursery. Wide range of educational requirements.

Landscape Designer

Plans and designs exterior landscapes for homes, estates, and small commercial buildings. Generally involved in smaller projects, compared to a landscape architect. May be self-employed or work for landscape firms. Requires a minimum of a two-year college or technical degree.

Landscape Maintenance/Landscape Gardener/Groundskeeper/Grounds Manager

Involves planting and maintaining private and public landscapes, gardens, and lawns. Employment opportunities exist at amusement parks, cemeteries, golf courses, parks, lawn and garden service companies, public grounds, racetracks, recreation and sports facilities, and university campuses. A two- or four-year college degree is recommended.

Lawn Care Specialist

Home lawn maintenance, including mowing grass, seeding lawns, applying pesticides, and making fertilizer applications. Generally employed by lawn care companies, but may also work for landscape firms or government agencies. Some serve as independent contractors. Wide range of educational requirements.

Nurseryman/Nursery Manager/ Nursery Worker

Plants, transplants, maintains, and harvests nursery crops. May be involved in grafting and propagating plants. Job opportunities at greenhouses, landscaping companies, and wholesale or retail nurseries. Wide range of educational requirements.

Plant Breeder/Geneticist

Produces new and improved plant varieties. Positions with arboreta, biotechnology firms, botanical gardens, colleges/universities, consulting firms, government agencies, and research and development departments in large corporations. Requires a four-year college degree for entry level positions and a graduate degree for advanced positions.

Plant Diagnostician

Specialists who attempt to determine the cause of various plant problems, which can include plant diseases, insects, and cultural problems. Provides pest management solutions. May be employed by colleges/universities, the Cooperative Extension Service, greenhouses, and large nurseries. Requires post-secondary training.

Plant Inspector

Inspects plants in commercial nurseries, garden centers, orchards, field plantings, as well as county, state, or national entry/exit points, to ensure material is free of specific insects or diseases. Generally federal or state employees. Requires a four-year degree or graduate degree.

Plant Pathologist

Studies plant diseases, their cause, and their management. May be involved in teaching, research, diagnostic work, or agribusiness sales. Some serve as private consultants, while others may be employed by colleges/universities, the regulatory services. A four -year college degree is required for technical positions, while a graduate degree is essential for more advanced positions.

Plant Propagator

Propagates new plant material using various techniques (e.g. grafting, seed production, tissue culture, and vegetative propagation). Employed by arboreta, botanical gardens, greenhouses, propagation nurseries, and universities. Wide range of educational requirements.


Specializes in the production and marketing of tree fruits, tree nuts, and small fruits. May be an independent grower or employed by colleges/universities, food processing companies, and research institutions. Wide range of educational requirements.


Conducts experiments, studying various aspects of plant cultivation, propagation, production, pest control, etc. Basic and/or applied research. Employed by arboreta, chemical companies, colleges/universities, experiment stations, government agencies, private industry, public gardens, research institutions, and seed companies. Requires a graduate degree.

Tree Assessors

Arborists who estimate tree values and the cost of tree damage for insurance claims. Employed by insurance companies. Requires post-secondary training.

Turfgrass Management

Develops and maintains turf areas, such as those at commercial sites, golf courses, sod farms, and sports fields. Types of positions include golf course superintendent, golf course manager, greenskeeper, and sod farmer. May work for athletic fields, golf courses, government agencies, landscaping companies, lawn care companies, and sod farms. Requires a two- or four-year college degree in turfgrass management.


Studies grape production for wine, juice, raisins, and other grape products. Employers include companies manufacturing grape products, colleges/universities, vineyards, and wineries. Requires a four-year college degree.

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