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I'm really fed up with my day time job both mentally and spiritually I'm giving myself two full year's two get enough work in on a realistic level I'm working on a distance learning course with the Chelsea gardening school I'm motivated driven and ambitious am I dreaming or do I need a reality check? 


Lots of people do make a living at it Kevin.

I don't know how knowledgeable a gardener you are or will be but I'd try and set up as a bit more than someone who mows, cuts hedges and weeds. Learn how to prune properly rather than cutting back to fit. Know what plants are and how to treat them. You'll then get a good reputation among people who want more than a square lawn and 'a bit of colour' which will make it more interesting for you

Go for it, my friend is a garden designer, she is really busy. I had a gardener here just to lift paving stones and lay lawn as I couldn't do it as I was pregnant, I drew all the plans myself and told him to leave the planting for me, he planted 2 roses and made an awful job, shallow holes and the climber much too close to the fence, nice guy, but didn't know any plsnt id's I asked either, he was always really busy, so yes, get loads of experience, enjoy you course and do it

Go for it Kevin, just dont expect it to all happen at once, you will get there
Orchid Lady

I've said it on Forkers thread is not a dress rehearsal.....if you aren't happy only you can change that.  Follow your dream but as Nut said learn lots rather than just being a general garden tidier 

Good luck and sending positive thoughts that it works out.


Plenty of people out there who love a garden but dont have an interest in gardening.
Enjoy it. Get some experience in too to build a reputation up, before and after photos, letters of praise from people who you have helped ( even for free while you are training). Get friendly with the local press for when you wannt to start advertising, think about business plans etc. Can you do both part time - keep your normal job on part time while you build up your garden business.
Enjoy and keep us posted. X

Good luck with your dream Kevin.  If it's within your reach, then grab it with both hands.  I would really love to take a leap of faith and change from working in an office to carry out gardening.  But the usual constraints of life sometimes hold us back, so at the moment I have to enjoy it as a hobby. But I like to offer advice if asked, help out and share my self grown plants with friends and family.  One day perhaps . . . . . . .

What type of gardener do you want to be Kevin?
Have you joined the RHS? Students can join for ??12.50 a year and the magazine is very good and it will, get you free access to many gardens around the country.

Also it may be good if you can do a practical hands on course. The RHS do a practical certificate, most places that offer it will do so as a part time evening or Saturday course. Your local FE colleges may offer something. It's very useful to actually see for real pests and diseases, techniques etc

Also how about volunteering with a local National Trust (or other) public garden? It's quite different doing someone else's garden to your own so this type of experience may help - or maybe there is a local firm that wants extra help in the summer ( during your holidays ) or weekends.

It's not unrealistic but you need to be practical and think through what you can realistically earn per hour in your area and remember the work will be seasonal. It is worth getting skills to be more than the standard hedges/lawns brigade but make sure this is how you then market yourself.
What about a tree felling course, or similar? That could keep you busy in winter, there is a fair old demand for logs now too

I have found this thread very interesting myself as I am a 23 year old who's worked in a local Plant Nursery for 16 months, no college training, but would love to move on and start my own business, it's just figuring out where to start! 
I shall keep an eye on this thread and I wish you all the luck

Orchid Lady

Our local horticultural college (Myerscough) runs day courses on a Saturday and Sunday which I am going to get myself on soon, all sorts of things including garden design, maintenance, lawn care, tree care.  They are about £35 for the day, something like that might be worth considering so you can build up your knowledge quicker but without giving up work just yet?


You need to plan for this very carefully. There is no money in gardening as such and certainly while you are building your business, you will have very little to live on. And in general gardening there will be almost no work between November and the end of February. You need to take this into account when doing your business plan if you intend to work for yourself. The real money is in garden design and/or hard landscaping, two areas that need lots of knowledge and experience and training.

Do you intend to work for yourself or to get a job as a gardener? An ideal job would be with a NT property for a couple of years which would give you experience and training in a lot of different areas.

L Bennett
I would LOVE to do this, I enjoy my garden so much.

Hi Kevin i do gardening for a living. I been doing it full time from the day i left school 8 years ago now ( i getting old now  ) I work for my Dad who been doing self employed for the last 35 years, so can make a living out of it but i wouldnt expect to be a millionaire or well off. They is a lot of hardwork involved in gardening as alot people know doing there own garden.

Like some other people have said what side of Gardening are you interested in? There is landscaping/designing - garden maintenance - tree surgery etc. I do garden maintenance and the odd bits of tree surgery. Most of the money we make is in Grass cutting, we do over 150 gardens for grass cutting some have it done fortnightly or once a month, we normally do hedge pruning now for privets - bux etc but most after the grass has finished growing.

I personally like the plant side, i like grow thing so i grow a few extra bedding plants for anyone who wants them. And i would like to do some garden design. 

A lots of your costumers you get to know really well, its really nice when they make a brew and you can have a good chat 

One thing you must consider is cost of machines, they cost an arm and a leg New. A decent second hand lawn mower will cost a few hundred pound. And maintaining the machines - cost of fuel - van/trailer - tools etc. 

There not a lot or hardly anything to do in winter 

If you like any more info or any questions just message me and i get back to you.



Perki that was a really good post to show the different ways to go in gardening and that it is mostly hard slog.  Only the "spotted" people go on to earn loads of money with designing or presenting.

I need loads of hard landscaping doing and trees felling and disposed of - but haven't the money or muscles

Good idea to do practical course, I would love to do a few wend ones when children bigger but I couldn't do it for a living, you could volunteer a t local gardens, I know at botanical gardens here they have 1 morning a week all volunteers work

I think this thread has come up before and I would offer the same advice......specialise..............there are countless "gardeners" touting for work but ., in reality, they do little more than cut grass  and maybe do a bit of deadheading here and there. 

Pruning is essential...........if you can get to grips with that, it would be an excellent start.  Knowing your plants really goes without saying.

Another way to start whilst you still have a day job, is to make use of your local market/car boot sites to offer plants for sale.  It's surprising how you can pick up business that way if you have something to offer.  If you are selling plants and can speak knowledgably about them, people come to trust you.....they ask your advice and whilst you can offer that for free to begin with, before too long you can begin slowly to make it a business.

I have tried that path and been successful..............I just didn't care to carry it on to a full time occupation. 

I am sure you can do it if you start right..........but only you know what you need for your commitments, lifestyle, etc.

I hope you work it out and take the plunge....but remember.....specialise............  

Jack 3

Enjoyed reading this thread as this is of interest to me. 

I also was thinking of changing my career (at the moment I'm a decorator) to gardening.

I recently did a six week course, two days a week, 'An introduction to working as a gardener' at Capel Manor College and was thinking about doing a year course starting in September, but can't decide which one to take.

The course was OK but very very basic. We learnt how to pot on seedlings. Prepare a planted area by single digging. Care for planted areas in Crystal Palace Park. Planting and staking trees. PH testing. We also had to learn tree and shrub ID's and pass an ident test.

I would love to start making a living from it within a couple of years, I don't expect to make a lot of money from it but as long as I can get by. So I'm very interested too in hearing what goes on here on this thread. Good luck Kevin.'s not only' s practice too..........a lot of it.  Do as much as you can whilst you still have a job which keeps you and go on from there.

From my own point of view, right now I could do with a good decorator rather than a gardener  You should be well in demand