Do you love the great outdoors – nature, trees, plants, flowers, wildlife? If so, this could be the article for you. A while back, we wrote a post about great ideas for part time jobs for those of you who would prefer to work outdoors rather than being in an office or other indoor situation. There are lots of tips in that article and one of the suggestions was gardening jobs. If you want to work outdoors but gardening jobs are not the route for you, then take a look at our other ideas by clicking the link above.
If you want a part time career in gardening however, then you have come to the right place. Read on to see what life as a gardener might be like – the types of gardening jobs you can do and what your duties might be in gardening roles.
First up, how do you go about becoming a gardener?
How Do I Become A Gardener?
For those who want to work outdoors and have a flexible work life balance, part time gardening jobs can be ideal as once you have the knowledge and the contacts, you could go on to run your own business and be self-employed, working the hours to suit you, in locations to suit, as well. This is ideal if you have other commitments such as a young family or study commitments, for example.
Of course, if you would rather be employed by someone else, there is also lots of opportunity to do gardening jobs for companies, organisations and being an assistant gardener for other people who are self-employed.
If you have always enjoyed tending your own garden and houseplants and you feel like you have a natural flair for gardening, then why not use your green fingers to make some extra cash by doing part time gardening jobs? Gardening is so much more than working outdoors – it’s working with all that being outdoors has to offer.
Voluntary Work As A Gardener
If you are looking to break into the world of work, either for the first time or after a long break because you started a family, for example, you could start off by doing some voluntary work so that you get a feel for what it would be like to be a gardener, working as part of a team.
As well as getting yourself out there and building up your confidence, you could also pick up some useful skills and knowledge about certain areas of gardening. This voluntary part time gardening work could be with organisations such as the National Trust where you could be doing open countryside or ornamental gardening work. Or you could be doing urban work with other local charities.
Labouring As A Garden Maintenance Assistant
If you have got a friend or know someone who is a gardener, perhaps you could go out to join them and do part time work with them as a gardening assistant, doing some general labouring. This means you can earn a bit of extra cash whilst learning about what it takes to be a gardener.
You Can Do Some Formal Horticulture Qualifications
We’ve mentioned in the past about taking part time jobs seriously and not viewing them as second best to full time work. If you are really serious about a career in gardening, you could do some formal qualifications in horticulture beforehand by going to a local college.
Or, if you want to earn while you learn, you could also consider doing gardening apprenticeships where you will be learning on the job and getting those horticultural qualifications, too. And don’t worry, it is possible to do gardening apprenticeships on a part time basis.
What Are The Duties Of A Gardener?
Well, first of all, gardeners might not even refer to their job as carrying out duties. Gardeners love their job – it’s their passion. Part time gardening jobs mean, whether you are working individually or for a larger company, you are part of a team of people that makes the UK look more beautiful. You enhance boring buildings and decorate spaces to make them more interesting, colourful and full of life. You are the person who will cheer up what otherwise might be dreary or untidy spaces and this could be with flowering plants, trees and shrubs, or you might even be creating an edible garden.
Of course, in doing this, there are certain tasks you are going to need to carry out to create and maintain this beauty. Some of these tasks might be general labouring tasks whilst other part time gardening jobs could require particular, specialised skills.
Here are some of the skills you might need to be able to do successful gardening jobs:
- Depending on your place of work, you might need to use industrial tools such as hedge trimmers, pedestrian/ride on grass cutting equipment, specialised cutting tools, heavy duty power tools. Training should be given for this.
- Gardeners need to know the best times of year for when to move shrubs or trees, when to plant and when to prune. Gardening jobs are not just about creating beautiful gardens; they are also about successfully maintaining them so that they grow and mature in a controlled way.
- Potting and growing – some part time gardening jobs could involve potting and growing so that you can place seasonal flowers, for example, into a gardens.
- Knowledge of pesticides or knowledge of natural remedies. If you are working in an organic garden, you will learn about the best remedies for plant protection, such using certain plants to attract insects and particular birds that will keep other parasites at bay. If you are working in gardens that use pesticides, gardening work will give you a knowledge of which plant foods and which pesticides to use and, of course, how to use those chemicals safely.
- Depending on the type of company you are working for, or even if you are working part time on a self-employed basis, some gardening jobs will require you to have good IT skills and administrative skills. You might be using IT to plan and design garden spaces and administration skills will be needed for accounts, wages, stock control and monitoring of plants.
So these are just a few of the skills you can learn by doing part time gardening jobs and, depending on the type of role you do, there is going to be so much more involved, especially if you want to specialise in particular areas of gardening.
Who Becomes A Gardener?
So, do you think you have got what it takes to do part time gardening jobs? Maybe you think you’d even want to take it further and have a full time career in gardening in the future. Let’s take a look at the type of people who become gardeners. What are the qualities necessary for success?
Are you a good team worker?
Many part time gardening jobs will require you to work as part of a team, especially if you are working in larger grounds.
Do you enjoy working alone?
And the beauty of doing gardening work means, if you enjoy working alone, this is also possible for some roles. Just you and your garden. Working alone mean you are the one responsible for making decisions and acting upon them, too.
Do you have good organisational skills?
Being a self-employed gardener can be the equivalent of holding down multiple part time jobs. You might work part time doing gardening jobs for different people around your area so you need to plan your time accordingly, making sure you can keep to appointments and transport machinery and other tools.
Are you a good communicator?
This can relate back to being able to work effectively as part of a team, but even if you are the type of person who enjoys the solitude of designing and maintaining gardens, you still need to be able to communicate with your customers. For some people – elderly people for example – you might be the only person they see on any given day. A friendly chat can really brighten their day. And of course, you need to be able to discuss gardens with your customers t make sure you are doing the job for them that they want.
Are you confident in leading people?
Are you confident leading a team of people to do effective gardening jobs? As your career progresses, this could be one of your responsibilities. Also, just as with the article about part time tour guide jobs, some gardening jobs could require you to lead visitors around the gardens, explaining the history, plants and layout.
Do you have a driving license?
It can be really beneficial for you if you have a driving license to do part time gardening jobs. If you are working for local authorities or other large organisations, there could be transport provided to and from each site both for you and the equipment but if you are self-employed, you will need to get to the gardens you are maintaining.
Are you physically fit?
There is more to gardening jobs than having the vision of a pretty or a functional space. Creating that space and maintaining it requires certain levels of physical fitness as well as being able to operate the necessary machinery.
For example, wherever you work, part time gardening jobs are going to mean lots of time on your hands and knees, weeding and planting. And also bear in mind that there is climbing to be done. This might be to cut trees back or climbing plants and shrubs. Some of this pruning might require you to reach difficult places so you need to be able to function well at a height whilst using equipment safely. And not to forget the digging.
Some gardening jobs will also require you to move heavy rocks and boulders, depending on the design and type of garden.
Are you brave with wildlife – all things that fly and crawl?
As well as planting flowers, trees, shrubs and looking after lawns and greens, gardeners are inevitably going to come across creepy crawlies, worms, bees and other flying insects. Working outdoors as a part time gardener, you need to be comfortable with this and, indeed, some gardens are even designed to attract different wildlife such as particular species of birds and bees.
Have you got a good eye for design and colour?
As well as knowledge of which plants and trees grow well together, have you got a good eye for design – what will the garden look like when you have finished?
Where Do Gardeners Work?
The beauty about working part time outdoors as a gardener is that you could find yourself working in a whole variety of environments; urban, rural and coastal. Let’s take a look at some of the places where you could be doing part time gardening jobs:
Country parks and open spaces
These are the places where you could be working for a local authority or other organisation. You could be part of a garden team responsible for maintaining cemeteries, parks, country estates, botanic gardens and sculpture gardens where lots of visitors will come to see your work. You could also be responsible for maintaining the open spaces around public buildings.
Forestry and woodland
This can be more specialised gardening work such as working as tree surgeon or tree officer.
Golf clubs, cricket clubs and bowling greens – Lots of gardening jobs can be as a greenkeeper, making sure the lawns are kept in prime condition for their purpose.
Sports grounds for sports clubs, schools, private schools, colleges and universities
All of these places need groundskeepers for maintaining sports areas, preventing waterlogging. Of course, these places often have decorative gardens, too, some of them award winning. You could be part of the team that helps create that.
Victorian walled gardens, greenhouses and country gardens
If you want to really delve into the world of gardening and gain qualifications in horticulture, you could find yourself working in famous Victorian gardens or major greenhouses, developing plants and carrying out other specialised horticultural activities.
Communal gardens and private homes
Not everyone loves gardening and, even those who do enjoy it, might not be able to do it due to disability or a heavy workload. Whether it’s landscaping and designing and maintaining a whole new garden or just doing general maintenance to keep a garden tidy, some gardening jobs could be just around your locality at nearby homes. If you have got apartment blocks nearby, then maintaining the communal gardens could also be an option. These types of part time gardening jobs can be ideal if you are self-employed and want to manage your work life balance and fitting your working hours around other commitments.
Construction companies around the country
Around the United Kingdom, construction firms who build new housing estates employ gardeners to create and maintain gardens for those homes until they are all sold.
These are just a few ideas of the places you could find yourself working when doing part time gardening jobs. Depending on where you are based, you can probably think of lots more alternative options, too. That’s the beauty of being a gardener.
Part Time Gardening Jobs – Entry Requirements And Future Progression
Working as a gardener, even on a part time basis is certainly no dead end career, as you can see in some of the information we’ve given above. You might just want to do entry level seasonal work throughout the summer months, or you might want to take a look at what is involved in horticulture apprenticeships so that you can develop your skills and gain nationally recognised qualifications. Some people also choose the university route whilst continuing to work part time as a gardener.
The choice is yours, but one thing is for sure, if you love being outdoors amongst nature and wildlife, and you crave making boring public spaces look beautiful, then you are going to have a rewarding and fulfilling career as a gardener.
Find Out More About Working Part Time
At UK Part Time Jobs, we advertise lots of different types of part time jobs, both at entry level and those requiring experience or qualifications. If you are interested in working part time, take a look at our list of current part time vacancies to see if we have anything to suit you. If you would like more information about working part time, in general, such as interview tips for landing part time jobs and other suggestions, then why not browse through our articles giving advice.