Landscape Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Landscape technicians install and maintain landscapes and outdoor areas to make them functional or attractive. The nature of the work is often laborious and requires significant physical effort. Although formal education is generally not required, landscape technicians may opt for certifications to increase their employment outlook.

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Job Description for a Landscape Technician

Landscape technicians perform various gardening and lawn maintenance duties in order to turn outdoor spaces into functional or attractive areas. They also maintain residential and commercial landscapes so they remain healthy and trim.

Job Duties for a Landscape Technician

Landscape technicians plant turf grass, bushes, shrubs, trees, flowers and other plants at their proper depth and in a strategic pattern that is usually designed by a landscape architect or designer. They may also install walkways, patios, outdoor lighting, sprinklers or other irrigation systems and decks. Sloped areas or hills are leveled out by landscape technicians, and water features like ponds, fountains and waterfalls are set up by them too.

Sometimes landscape technicians start with an area that is wildly overgrown with vegetation and have to work to clear the area out, which is often difficult and arduous. Landscape technicians use several types of power or hand tools to help them perform their tasks like chain saws, lawn mowers, tractors, clippers and trimmers.

In addition to creating landscapes and outdoor areas, landscape technicians maintain them as well. Pruning, mowing, edging, trimming, fertilizing and watering are done by landscape technicians. They may spray plants, trees and grass with pesticides to control destructive insects and diseases. Landscape technicians also clear away any trash or garden debris.

Requirements for a Landscape Technician

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of landscape technicians don't need formal education, only on-the-job training (www.bls.gov). Entry-level landscape technicians generally learn necessary skills like plant installation and power tool usage within a short time period. More advanced job duties are learned over longer periods of time throughout the working experience.

A certain level of physical fitness is often required of landscape technicians due to the laborious nature of the work. Having a full range of motion in the upper and lower body in order to bend, stoop, lift, pull, push, squat and stand for long periods of time is often required by most employers.

Licensing

The BLS noted that landscape technicians who apply pesticides are generally required to earn a state license. To become licensed, applicants must typically complete a state examination on pesticides. Once licensed, these professional generally must complete some form of continuing education, which may include attending classes, workshops and seminars, in order to maintain their license.

Certification

Landscape technicians can improve their marketability and give themselves an edge over the competition by pursuing certification. Certification signifies that the landscape technician is knowledgeable in specific areas of landscaping. The Professional Landcare Network (www.landcarenetwork.org) offers eight certifications for landscape professionals:

  • Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician
  • Landscape Industry Certified Exterior Technician
  • Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician
  • Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician
  • Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager
  • Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician-National
  • Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician

Earning each certification requires completing the respective examination. To keep certifications current, industry professionals must earn 24 continuing education units every two years. Credit may be earned for completing classes, instructing courses and participating in webinars among other approved activities.

Career Outlook for Landscape Technicians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that grounds maintenance workers were expected to see a 13% increase in employment from 2012-2022, which was about average. Job prospects were best in regions where the weather allowed for year-round landscaping and gardening. Grounds maintenance workers earned a mean yearly salary of $31,720 in May 2013.

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