Anyone here do gardening or landscaping for a living?

If you do, do you enjoy your work and does it seem like a “job” to you? It is an interest of mine though I have no real experience other than cutting a lot of lawns when I was in high school. But I think now I’d like to work outdoors – yes, even in this south Louisiana heat and humidity! Also, do you make a lot of money doing this work! Thanks for your input. :slight_smile:

I’ll move this thread to the In My Humble Opinion forum, since you’re asking for personal experiences and not facts.

Yup. Been working in the “green industry” for 21 years now. Started in garden centers while I was in high school and college (BS Horticulture), then worked in landscape design-build, then in landscape maintenance, then nursery management (plants, not kids).

Then I went to Grad School. Got an MS in Forestry, been working in Urban Forestry for the last 9 years. I currently manage 45 people doing landscape installation and maintenance, urban forestry, and turf maintenance for a municipal government.

Is it work . . . yeah, it’s work, hard work. Is it fun? Sometimes (of course, sometimes it really sucks). Is it better than, say, putting in 40 hours a week in a cubicle? It is for me.

Have your friend try landscape work by working for someone else. If he likes it, he can go out on his own. If he hates it, well, McDonalds is always hiring.

Hope this helps.

I started out working for a chain called Frank’s Nursery and Crafts and doing my high school and college summer jobs there. After I graduated (art major, nothing to do with landscaping), I spent a summer working for a little landscape company that exclusively did perennials. Not bad, but a little boring and the boss was fairly obnoxious to work for and didn’t pay much. Went back to garden center work for a large landscape company here in the area that happened to have a retail outfit. Was promoted to manager, but last year the closed the center to expand the actual landscape operations. I took up commercial estimating for them which is what I do now. Actually, after 15 years of moving around spirea and answering questions about what groundcovers will grow in the shade, it’s nice to have a desk job. I still manage the ordering and inventory levels for some of the plant stock so I get enough fresh air and summer walks through the nursery to last me, but unloading trucks was getting old :slight_smile:

Oh, cash-wise it really depends. I’ve seen three or four project managers come through here after going bankrupt running their own “pickup and shovel” landscape operation although they were all sharp guys. Laborers here (the guys who dig the holes and plant the trees) make a local union scale, but I never asked what it was. Guys working in the actual city of Chicago get paid AFL-CIO union scale which is a bit more. State funded jobs require prevailing wage which in Illinois is Heavy Highway labor rates for landscaping because Illinois lawmakers are retarded :rolleyes: so I imagine that pays very well to be putting Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ in the ground.

Keep in mind that large landscape company labor up around here is almost exclusively Hispanic. If a white guy showed up here tomorrow wanting to build retaining walls with the crews, we wouldn’t know what to do with him (if only because of the language barrier). Obviously if you run your own outfit, that’s different and I’ve no idea what the labor situation is in Lousiana.

I do but ironically, had to cut way back because of too much sun. I figured I could only take so much
sun & would rather get it surfing. It was like after 30 years that I decided that.

BTW: just take the top of the weed off, that way it grows back & next week you have a job. (Line
from a film).