8 Best Landscaping Jobs (Highest Paying)

worker laying sod

Over 300,000 landscape professionals are hired each year, but a landscaping career can take numerous forms. There are many possible jobs both in and out of the office from landscape design to arborist. Your training, knowledge, and work preferences can lead you down various career paths, but some pay better than others. Obviously, entry level jobs like lawn maintenance worker pay less, experienced workers get more. And positions requiring a college degree like management or marketing pay more still. Here are a few of the top, best paying, landscaping jobs available:

Irrigation Specialist

Irrigation specialists design, install, program, inspect, audit, adjust and maintain irrigation systems. They can work for independent irrigation companies or landscape firms and in both residential and commercial environments. For those with a business head, they can also start their own irrigation company. In recent decades, computer technology has become increasingly important, so being tech savvy is a plus for this position. Irrigation systems must be programed to run on a schedule or as needed by the lack of rain.  Some jurisdictions require licensing but on-the-job- training could be all that’s needed. Salaries vary widely and glassdoor.com put the average at about $46,000 per year. If you care about the environment, irrigation specialist might be a good path because you will work to conserve water.  By managing water use wisely using programable irrigation systems you will help save water.

Account Executives or Managers

People who have business training, and have experience or knowledge of landscaping can become account executives for larger landscaping companies.  In this position you serve as the point of contact with the client. You may present the plan and estimate and answer questions about a landscape architect or designers plan for a property.  You may manage a team, so you will need good organizational and people skills. Salary range will depend on the size of the company and is often directly tied to the project price. You may earn commissions in addition to base pay. According to payscale.com, the average account executive’s income is about $72,000 per year.

Hardscape Installer

The hardscape in a landscape plan includes all the man-made features like pathways, retaining walls, and patios. It also includes statuary and fountains, edging and outdoor lighting. Some companies only design and install hardscaping. Others offer it as part of their complete landscape design and installation services. Becoming a hardscape installer takes skills and experience working with all the materials from brick and stone to cement and wood.  This job is for people who are fit and like working outside most of the time. Other than during the design phase, you’re out in the elements. Ziprecruiter estimates an average salary of only about $35,000 but salary.com puts it at $82,000. Obviously, location and level of training and experience matter. Those with design training and years of experience can demand more for their creativity and skills.

Landscape Project Managers

Similar in some ways to an account manager, a project manager, takes on the responsibility of representing the company on the project site.   They must clearly understand and implement the plan and coordinate team members, equipment, and materials.  Landscape project managers also must be great people motivators and problem solvers.  A landscape project manager position usually requires several  years of prior experience in other landscape jobs. Glassdoor sets the average salary for landscape project managers at about $69,000 as of April 2023. Salary.com estimates a salary range of between $49,000 and $71,000 per year. People with more education including project management certification make more than others.

Landscape Company Estimators

If you are detail oriented and have a good head for math, large landscape companies pay estimators well. You will calculate labor, equipment, and material costs for projects using estimation software and perhaps prepare bids for your company. With material costs and contract rules constantly changing, this is a demanding job. You often will need to understand local licensing and building laws, and stay on top of material and equipment availability and costs. While you will spend some time on work sites, much of this job is office based.  A business or accounting degree can be helpful for this position as can any experience as a landscaper or in the building industry. Salary.com says estimators typically make between $61,000 and $77,000 per year

Landscape Architects

landscape architect at work

Landscape architects need advanced degrees, but they make the most money in the landscaping field. They design outdoor environments using both natural elements from flowers to trees and shrubs and manmade elements like fountains, pathways, walls, and statues. They design the project and draw the plans. They work on both residential and commercial properties. Some will also create estimates and make presentation to clients. If you have an artistic flare and a college degree, you might consider training to be a landscape architect. You will need a master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Landscape Architects make between $60,000 and $ 75,000.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average is $73,160 per year but salaries vary widely according to region. Well known landscape architects with excellent portfolios can demand much higher prices for their work.  The Bureau also predicts a 6% increase in employment opportunities by 2026.

Agronomists

Agronomy is the science behind how to use plants for human benefit. Humans benefit from plants for food, fuel, clothing, chemicals and recreation. Agronomists study plant genetics and physiology and soil science. Therefore, agronomists need a background in chemistry, biology, ecology, genetics, and earth science.  Most have advanced degrees in several sciences. They develop ways to increase the quality and production of crops through experimentation. An agronomist would consult on large landscape projects for national parks and large commercial projects. They may advise about soil issues or plant selection and ecological balance.  Glassdoor estimates the average salary to be over 93,000 per year. Depending on your education and level of expertise, you might start as low as $40,000, but the potential can be as much as $125,000 per year.

Interiorscape Designers

Another possible path for people with artistic ability is interiorscape designer. While landscape architects and designers work outdoors, interior designers work indoors doing much the same things. They do much more than plant watering and flower arranging. They bring the outdoors in, for office buildings, hotels, hospitals and even private residences.  They use rock, soil, plants, and water features to create healthier and more enjoyable indoor spaces. Knowing about plants is a must, because Interiorscape artists often select plants that help an indoor environment to become more health friendly.  They may work directly with building architects during a building design phase, or work  with a company or organization after a build has been completed. According to salary.com, Interiorscape designers average about $50,000 per year.  Job requirements vary, with some employers wanting a bachelor’s degree in design or botany and other looking for practical landscape, hardscape or gardening experience.

Landscaping Jobs

In landscaping there are numerous career paths. Some landscaping careers require hard physical labor and lots of outdoor work. However, many jobs in the field are done inside from a desk or in a lab. Actually, skills in business and finance can be just as important as hands-on skills.  Where you work varies, too. You could work for a landscaping company but you may end up working on a college campus, public park or even at your favorite sports arena.  Some, but not all, positions require or are helped by college degrees in the arts, business and finance, or life sciences. On-the-job training can replace a college education for many positions. If you are interested in working in landscaping, you can get started at an entry level with few skills and little knowledge.  Then if you have an interest in a particular job, you can work your way up the ladder by learning on the job and taking landscaping classes.

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