- by Trish
If planting annuals and perennial shrubs and flowers, trimming shrubs, and weeding gardens are your passion, you really could easily make money by providing services as a local gardener in your area.
Should you have no experience with gardening at all, then you could always learn by volunteering your services. This way you could gain hands-on experience and be able to decide if this truly is your passion… or not, BEFORE starting up your business as a local gardener.
And, of course, this will all depend on your location.
In this article, I will presume that you already enjoy gardening and that you have at the very least, a few years experience in caring for at least a medium to large size garden, with flowers and shrubs. This way, you will be better armed with the knowledge of plants that do best in your area of the world.
Depending on your experience in gardening and your ability to follow instructions, you may find many seniors and those who are working outside the home, ready to hire your services in planting their deck boxes and gardens with annuals, replacing their perennials when and where necessary, pulling weeds, and trimming their small shrubs… you know, maintaining their present gardens.
The reason I am mentioning this is that more and more seniors are now being cared for and kept in their own homes and more and more households are being forced to have both spouses working outside the home in order to make ends meet financially speaking.
Expensive contracts with local garden centres may be way outside the average person’s household budgets. For obvious reasons, you would not be able to charge anywhere nearly as much for your gardening services as that of a professional gardener.
That makes this a potentially great client-base for you to start your local gardening services with, especially if you have only tending your own personal garden as your experience. In other words, if you are not a trained professional gardener.
In this way, your prices are more apt to be inline with their budgets, and you may gain more clients over time, given your reasonable prices asked, and word-of-mouth spreading.
As a local gardener you should be knowledgeable with;
- critical thinking,
- have physical stamina,
- be adept at plant identification,
- plant care,
- overall design,
- weed control,
- gardening tools, and
- irrigation systems.
Become a Professional Gardener
To qualify as a professional gardener, you need at least a high school diploma, but an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or certificate program are recommended in order to become truly qualified and are required for many professional jobs. Some fields of discovery are horticulture, landscape design or a related field.
As a professional gardener you will be responsible for all aspects of plant care for annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, while working outdoors in all types of weather conditions. So, you will need to understand that this can be rather physically strenuous labour.
To become a professional gardener, you would end up working in private and public landscapes to:
- maintain and
- manage gardens.
And, you may end up employed by one of the following businesses:
- botanical gardens,
- landscaping firms,
- garden centers,
- private estates, or
- go into business where you will work for several clients, even residential properties.
Also, you may wish to seriously considering a degree in horticulture or landscaping design, as this will provide you with a scientific and solid working foundation required as a professional gardener.
For example, in Ontario, Canada, you can take Landscape design at your local college or online… or you could choose to take courses that are accredited by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.
Of course, this will all depend on the extent in which you wish to take your local gardening business to.
A pesticide applicator’s license is often required and certifications are available depending on your geographic location. You will need to check your province or state to find out what type of license you will need, as some provinces (Ontario) provide several different types of pesticide applicator’s licenses. You may find the same is true in many states within the USA.
No matter what type of gardener you decide to become, you will need to have safety protocols and protective gear when working with certain types of tools or pesticides.
Even a local gardener needs to understand the need of proper tools and the proper protective gear necessary in order to be able to work safe so that you can continue to serve your customers and stay healthy doing so.
Basic Gardening Tools
Shovel – used to lift, turn and move soil.
Spade – is a blade sharper than the shovel, a great all-around tool for gardening.
Rake – used for leveling and grading soil, or simply stirring up the surface of soil, removing lumps, rocks and shallow rooted weeds.
Hoe – has a flat blade attached at right angle to the handle and used for making rows, cutting weeds, cultivating or stirring up the soil.
Trowel – is a short-handled tool with a pointed and scooped shaped blade, used when transplanting smaller plants into a garden.
Pruning Shears – is a scissor-like tool used on plants in need of hand trimming
Gardening Gloves – range in a multitude of types, from planting to pruning and handling rose bushes. You may fine you need at least two types to start with.
For trimming small shrubs and trees, I prefer to use cordless hedge clippers like that shown in the image below.
In order to provide a visually defined edge of a garden separating it from the lawn, I use my cordless edge (grass) trimmer. Though, my gardener friend and neighbour uses a shovel to manually define the outer edges of his gardens.
Pruning Small Shrubs, Small Trees and Roses
Knowing the best time of year to do any trimming or pruning is vital to preserving roses, small shrubs, and small trees. Due to the fear of harming their plants, many homeowners have completely neglected this task.
Trimming is not difficult to do, as I learned myself a few years ago now. It only took me a few times using my cordless hedge clippers to learn how to trim the many small shrubs and small trees in all of my gardens… and believe me, I have LOTS of gardens on my property.
Several years ago now, I lost my handyman due to a terminal illness and he tended my yard work too.
After trying to find a reliable company to do this for me full time… and failing miserably (they all wanted commercial jobs), I decided to take on the task for myself.
A talented neighbour made it his mission to train me in how to trim my shrubs. It only took me one lesson and lots of practice to learn exactly how much I could safely trim off each shrub and at what time of year to do this.
All of my small shrubs and trees, I trim monthly from late June early July until September. As the weather cools, trimming is required less often.
For more in depth information on trimming small shrubs and small trees, you should read this article on This Old House’s website.
How to Trim Rose Bushes Properly
Deadhead Roses and Perennials for More Flowers
Rates for Gardening Services
To get a better understanding as to the different rates being charged for gardening, depending on your level of skill, you can check websites such as:
- com – in Canada and in the USA for average gardening hourly rate OR
- com – for landscaping (professional) gardener in Canada and in the USA.
And, because gardening will only be able to be done during the summer and early fall months in Canada and the northern states in the United States, your local gardening business would be a seasonal business, providing you are located within these areas.
Whereas professional gardeners are more apt to be hired year-round.
However, you could always consider snow removal as a business to offset your local gardening business.
So, why not get out there and be among local gardeners in your area, if this is your passion. You will soon discover how many loyal clients you will gain once your start and the word gets out about how great your services are.
If you have any questions or would simply like to carry on a conversation regarding starting up your very own gardening business, please feel free to leave a comment for me below and I will respond to you in a timely manner.