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Jack 3

Oh the course was more practical than theory. We are very much in demand as decorators, always got work. I work for two girls (one who is also my OH) who have had their own business for 14 years.

When we moved into our first bought house I loved being in the garden so much, even when doing back breaking digging etc that I thought that would be a good direction to go in. 

Like Kevin I don't enjoy the job I do now (not just because I work for my OH ) and hope that I'd enjoy gardening,

If you were in or near London you would have access to the best decorators around, i.e us 


What can I say, tired, not rich, but every day when I go home I feel as if I have achieved something and a happy customers thanks for the effort I have put in is worth more than money. I get cut, bruised, and thorns are a regular hazard, but I'm happy and can sleep at night.

I will cut lawns,hedges and minor hard landscaping, but I'm a gardener not Love Your Garden or Ground Force and I make that clear before I start. I tell them the truth of what they need or don't need, what will live and what won't. Sometimes they don't like what I say, but if your'e honest and give good frank advice with an explanation, they will understand and 99% do.

So choose your area, and don't make promises you can't keep or offer something you can't deliver.

That's what I do and I stick to it and my customers are happy.

Hi ladies and gents wow! I don't know what to say except thank you all very much for your encouring words I'm just going to bed now as I start work at 5.40 am l kid you not! Iv done a gardening job for my wife's family so tomrow I will give you some details of what I have got planned we have on the way back picked strawberries and raspberries from our allotment how different from massed produced supermarket efforts I know that we don't really know each other but I feel that you guys are my friends so I will reveal my horticultural two year plan of attack thank you all once again x


Hogweed was right, there isn't much to do over the winter period so you need to factor that in if you have a house to run, family to care for and bills to pay - and equipment to maintain. Also the weather can play havoc with your gardening plans when you are up and running, it's not always sunny and you can't mow a waterlogged lawn. Go for it but have another string to your bow so that in the lean times you can earn a crust. So instead of doing 1 course, do another as well, painting and decorating, electrician, roofer, teaching etc, stuff you can do on an ad hoc basis. Then you can live and enjoy work. You must also try to speak to local gardeners to see what work is about - no point starting up if the area is already saturated. Good luck.

Check out the Landscape Juice Network, it is a website for professional gardeners and has a very active forum with lots of helpful insights for people just starting out in the business. I started my gardening business gradually about 15 years ago, having started the RHS Horticultural course because I loved gardening,  fitting it in around my young family. Now they are all grown up, I garden full time, as well as providing a full garden design service.   I love my work, but gardening for yourself is quite different from gardening for other people. I do work throughout the winter months, there is still plenty to be done, but probably only at half to two thirds capacity because of the darker evenings and, of course, the weather.  You have to be prepared to work really hard during the finer months to compensate for any loss of earnings during the winter.  Work on your plant knowledge, and figure out what your gardening strengths are and promote those. Be a people person, listen to your clients and understand what it is that they want from you. Be reliable, turn up at the appointed time, communicate regularly with them, and don't try and do something you are not sure about. Nobody minds if you don't know how to prune a particular bush. I would much rather someone say to me, 'I don't know, but I will look it up', than just do it and make a mess of the job!  If I can be of any further help, just message me!


Also look at the Horticulture Week they have a jobs section as well. Scanning that will give you a feel for the industry and the range of jobs on offer as well as being self employed.

The amount you can charge for maintenance will vary depending on where you are - not just the area ofhe country but also in terms of the type of demand, here in Brum the rate is around ??8 an hour although if you can market yourself as a knowledgeable Gardner and concentrate in border maintenance you could get ??15 plus but there will be a smaller market. You could offer two rates, with the lower for your bog standard lawn care. But again that is for basic mowing etc if you could offer a knowledgeable service you could possibly charge more.

A role in a private or NT type garden may offer more security re a steady income plus on the job training ( even if just through working with someone experienced).

Might be worth looking at WRAGS - scheme aimed at women but have feeling they were talking about expanding to include men, or they may be able to suggest some contacts

If any of you wannabe gardeners live near me, I would love to employ you.

I enquired for someone to cut the lawns,  general help weeding etc. Young chap, about 26 fed up with his day job wanted £20.00 per hour, So I struggle on!

Seems there is plenty of money in gardening, but it is hard work when you do a full day of it, I can vouch for that.

Hi Lyn may I ask you where you live I'm from retford Lincolnshire near Newark Doncaster Gainsborough if that's any help I can do everything on your list with a smile and a sence of humour

Jack.......I'd employ you like a shot but sadly I'm nowhere near London

Anyway, I hope you manage to make the change from one to the of luck


Kevin, I would take you on tomorrow if you lived here and teach you the basics, unfortunately, I am right down in Devon.


OK well thank you anyway if you ever find yourself up here let me know


Kevin, I was in professional horticulture for over 30 years. I started as a garden centre assistant  ( great place to pick up plant knowledge) went on to  GC management, left, became a self employed gardener, went back to college and qualified as a garden designer. You CAN make a living at it but it's tough. Anyone can call himself a gardener, unlike  calling themselves a doctor or an architect. Where we lived in Hants ? Surrey, gardeners, even not very knowledgeable ones can charge £20 - £25 an hour. we've now moved to Devon ( best move I've ever made) and gardeners get paid about the national minimum wage of £7 an hour. I've retired to my 8 acres for my gardening kicks  and deliver shopping for Waitrose now.

OK thank you all for your thoughts and input I'm working on my strategy what to present to you and the public I will work it out in my head while I'm at work wishing I was gardening I'm looking at the local gardening adverts and they all sound the same quick fix I'm the antithesis of the ground force brigade 

Hi Kev

i am a professional gardener of 25 years. When I started it was a lot easier to get in to a so called gardening school . I did my groundwork in a local gardening centre and then did home studies in gardening techniques and design.

As other have said, you will possibly never be rich doing this occupation but if gardening is in your blood then it will be a pleasure everyday

i would not give up your existing employment at present, but look to get on a home study course in gardening 

best of luck

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