Career outlook for gardener

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would look after a garden or other green spaces like public parks, school and sports grounds so people can enjoy them all year round.

You’d grow and care for all types of plants like flowers, trees, shrubs and lawns.

You would:

  • Raise plants from seeds or cuttings
  • Dig, plant and weed flower beds and borders
  • Prune shrubs
  • Check the health of plants by identifying any pests or diseases and controlling them
  • Give plants food and water
  • Use machinery such as lawn mowers, rotovators and hedge trimmers
  • Maintain high levels of presentation in public parks and gardens
  • Clean and maintain tools and equipment

You could also design planting schemes for gardens. You’d use your knowledge of plants and creativity to select plants and position them so there’s something to see in the garden all year round.

You may also carry out basic building tasks, such as putting up sheds and building walls, fences and patios.

There are many different types of gardens you could work in, such as:

  • Private gardens
  • Green spaces around buildings
  • Street plant displays
  • Public parks and community gardens
  • Botanical gardens like the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh
  • Historical gardens such as Inverewe Gardens in The Highlands or at heritage sites like Culzean Castle in Ayrshire

If you work in a garden that is open to the public you might also answer questions from visitors or lead garden walks.

Working conditions


If you have a job with a local authority, you will usually work 37 hours a week. Your working hours could vary depending on the time of year. You may be able to do overtime, weekend and part-time work, particularly during busy times. If you are self-employed you can arrange your own hours. You may need to be flexible if your work is disrupted by the weather.


For some jobs you will need to wear safety equipment such as gloves, eye protectors and a hard hat. Gardening is a physical job and involves a lot of lifting, digging and carrying loads.


If you are self-employed you will need a driving licence to transport your equipment.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Respecting
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative
  • Time management
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no set qualifications to enter this job but some employers ask for a good general education (usually SCQF level 4).

To enter a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification such as Horticulture (SVQ level 2/3) may require qualifications at SCQF level 4-5.

You may also be able to do a Modern Apprenticeship.

Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • English
  • Practical subjects, such as practical woodwork
  • Biology
  • Environmental science

Helpful to have

  • Qualifications and experience that show practical skills and an understanding of the natural environment such as Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF level 4) or the John Muir Award
  • Business and enterprise related subjects such as SQA Enterprise and Employability Award (SCQF level 4/5) may also be of value as many gardners are self-employed.
  • Previous work experience