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Landscape gardener

Annual salary: £22,205 (Glassdoor)

What do I need? Gardening tools (lawn mower, sequiters, hedge strimmer, wheelbarrow); safety equipment like gloves and goggles; larger machines if you offer services like deck fitting; van or truck

A whopping 87 per cent of UK households have gardens, according to estimates from The King’s Fund. Plus, the garden maintenance industry is growing at a rate of 2.8 per cent a year. It does seem to be an expanding sector, but don’t let the daydream of being outside in nature all of the time cloud your judgement.

You must be familiar with the British flora and fauna as well as what conditions they thrive and perish in. It could be worth taking a horticultural class to fill in any gaps. You must also be ready to deal with change at short notice because of unpredictable weather conditions – and a possible loss of income that could accompany it. Gardening, landscape or not, is a largely seasonal job so you’ve got to be good at saving money for those months where demand drops.

You’ve got a lot of opportunities to find a niche here. It could be that you specialise in planting wild, biodiverse gardens for people looking to attract more wildlife to their space. Alternatively, you could become known as the landscape gardener who lays a flawless and durable deck.

Unlike the more online-focused business ideas, you’d be best staying local. You’ll get to know people in neighbouring towns who would look to you for more regular services like weeding. Get to know your local Facebook groups too as users look for recommendations or pass on their reviews of local businesses through the site. A few positive words can be invaluable to a business that’s just starting out. Develop a relationship with your local garden centre too as customers may be looking for someone reputable to do work in their gardens. Having that relationship with the garden centre will certainly pay off long-term in any case.

Gardening does have its hazards so, of all the things you decide to buy rather than rent, make sure it’s safety equipment. Though renting is an idea for items you’d use less often, such as a cement mixer.

The advantage of considering a garden business is that you can shadow somebody else before you set up on your own, just to test it out first. From there, it can be pretty easy to set up.

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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