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Career profile Groundskeeper

Also known as Gardener, Greenskeeper, Grounds Maintenance Worker, Grounds Person, Grounds Worker, Grounds/Maintenance Specialist, Groundskeeper, Landscape Specialist, Landscape Technician, Outside Maintenance Worker


Also known as Gardener, Greenskeeper, Grounds Maintenance Worker

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$22,800 - $48,310 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operation and Control
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Chemistry
  • Mechanical
Core tasks
  • Gather and remove litter.
  • Use hand tools, such as shovels, rakes, pruning saws, saws, hedge or brush trimmers, or axes.
  • Water lawns, trees, or plants, using portable sprinkler systems, hoses, or watering cans.
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What does a Groundskeeper do?

Groundskeepers landscape or maintain grounds of property using hand or power tools or equipment.

In addition, Groundskeepers workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, sprinkler installation, and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units.

What kind of tasks does a Groundskeeper perform regularly?

Groundskeepers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Gather and remove litter.
  • Use hand tools, such as shovels, rakes, pruning saws, saws, hedge or brush trimmers, or axes.
  • Water lawns, trees, or plants, using portable sprinkler systems, hoses, or watering cans.
  • Operate vehicles or powered equipment, such as mowers, tractors, twin-axle vehicles, snow blowers, chainsaws, electric clippers, sod cutters, or pruning saws.
  • Prune or trim trees, shrubs, or hedges, using shears, pruners, or chain saws.
  • Mix and spray or spread fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides onto grass, shrubs, or trees, using hand or automatic sprayers or spreaders.
  • Follow planned landscaping designs to determine where to lay sod, sow grass, or plant flowers or foliage.
  • Care for established lawns by mulching, aerating, weeding, grubbing, removing thatch, or trimming or edging around flower beds, walks, or walls.
  • Trim or pick flowers and clean flower beds.
  • Attach wires from planted trees to support stakes.
  • Plant seeds, bulbs, foliage, flowering plants, grass, ground covers, trees, or shrubs, and apply mulch for protection, using gardening tools.
  • Rake, mulch, and compost leaves.
  • Mow or edge lawns, using power mowers or edgers.
  • Decorate gardens with stones or plants.

The above responsibilities are specific to Groundskeepers. More generally, Groundskeepers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is a Groundskeeper salary?

The median salary for a Groundskeeper is $31,730, and the average salary is $33,800. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Groundskeeper salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Groundskeepers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Groundskeepers earn less than $22,800 per year, 25% earn less than $27,060, 75% earn less than $38,930, and 90% earn less than $48,310.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Groundskeepers is expected to change by 7.6%, and there should be roughly 157,900 open positions for Groundskeepers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$22,800 - $48,310
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Groundskeepers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Groundskeeper are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Groundskeepers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Groundskeepers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Groundskeeper tend to value Relationships, Working Conditions, and Support.

Most importantly, Groundskeepers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Groundskeepers somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Groundskeepers somewhat value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Groundskeepers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Groundskeepers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

What education and training do Groundskeepers need?

Working as a Groundskeeper may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Groundskeepers need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Educational degrees among Groundskeepers

  • 35.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 36.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 15.6% completed some college coursework
  • 4.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 6.6% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.2% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Groundskeepers

Groundskeepers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, chemistry, or mechanical knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Groundskeepers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Groundskeepers

Groundskeepers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Groundskeepers need abilities such as multilimb coordination, manual dexterity, and trunk strength in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Groundskeepers, ranked by their relative importance.

Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Trunk Strength
The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Critical Skills needed by Groundskeepers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Groundskeepers frequently use skills like operation and control, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Groundskeepers, ranked by their relative importance.

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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