Job Description


This job is part of our sustainability series:  > See more sustainable job ideas > Find out more about sustainable careers

Gardeners work to look after gardens by planting, pruning, weeding, cutting the lawn and general maintenance. They will manage a garden and they will plan develop and make sure the garden is looking at its best.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:


You could do a college course in gardening or horticulture to get some of the knowledge and practical skills needed for this career.

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

The following local colleges offer courses in Horticulture:

Or your local 6th form may offer a relevant course.


You could get into this job through a horticulture and landscape operative intermediate apprenticeship.

The Royal Horticulture Society also offers horticultural apprenticeships in some of its national gardens for 16 to 19 year olds.

You could move onto a landscape or horticulture supervisor advanced apprenticeship as you get more experience.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

Click here to search for an apprenticeship.

Direct application

To work as a gardener you would need to be able to show employers that you have the gardening skills, knowledge and enthusiasm they are looking for. Experience in 


You could also start as an assistant gardener and work your way up.

If you have some related work experience, this could help you to get a job.

Other routes

The Royal Horticultural Society offers courses which are suitable if you want to learn more about gardening, or if you want to get qualifications that will help you get a job in horticulture.

Career Tips

You could get experience by volunteering through Do-it or with organisations like: The Conservation Volunteers, National Trust or The Wildlife Trusts.

You'll need to have a Certificate of Competence, if you carry out hazardous tasks using a chainsaw.

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you could become a senior or head gardener.

You could move into other work like landscaping, greenkeeping or the care of trees and shrubs (arboriculture).

You could also set up your own business, offering a service to private customers.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Horticultural worker
  • Cemetery worker
  • Landscaper
  • Groundsperson
  • Florist

Required Skills

  • You will need good IT and administration skills
  • A passion for plants, shrubs and all aspects of gardening
  • A keen interest in conservation and how it effects the landscape
  • Hardworking
  • Prepared to be outside in all weathers 
  • Practical 

Salary Range

£16,000 to £25,000

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