Landscaping is actually a hybrid science. It's a combination of architecture, horticulture, gardening, environmental management, and a true aesthetic design career all in one. It involves working in multiple different environments, often with a large range of different situations and issues applying to sites, contracts and design issues. There is a very high level of creativity involved, and business opportunities can be very rewarding.
Landscaping is a formal study. Technically it is a form of horticulture at entry-level, but its also branches out into various forms of architecture and construction. The pre-requisites for landscaping are basic high school qualifications, but aptitude for art, design and biological sciences are definitely a help when studying landscaping.
Typically landscapers will serve an apprenticeship with a landscaping firm either after qualification or towards the end of formal academic training. This training is absolutely priceless, because it provides the invaluable site skills required by professional landscapers. Working on site is as much an art as a science, and learning how to deal with clients and understand their needs is critically important to career success.
(Landscapers frequently had to explain the technical issues related to their work, in much the same way builders and architects need to explain the situations related to projects. The client relationships are absolutely crucial in landscaping.)
Career progression in landscaping doesn't exactly run on rails. Most landscapers work with landscaping firms for quite some time before branching out on their own. Landscaping is one of the most competitive businesses in the world, and talent and business skills need to be developed thoroughly before going freelance.
Very highly talented landscapers with strong design skills do have an advantage in this market. Great designs do have an impact in the marketplace, but as usual it's getting started that's the problem. Generally speaking landscapers start on small-scale landscape work before progressing to major 'portfolio' projects.
To give some idea of the requirements of professional landscaping and the business context of this work and its commercial level, the most common high-value landscaping contracts are for things like parks, golf courses, and new residential and/or commercial developments. These are big-money contracts, and that's where the business skills really must be highly developed. The basic ability to give a good quote, and make a profit on that quote is the fundamental key to career progression.
Landscapers must be able to handle the logistics and technical requirements of projects. Many landscaping projects are in fact construction projects, which may involve the regional landscaping structures, moving thousands of tons of soil, and creating an effective and saleable designed for clients.
As you can see, the career progression for landscapers is also very much a learning curve. These skills don't just happen, they must be learned. When a landscaper does have a full set of skills, however, the financial and professional rewards can be immense. Landscaping provides a virtually unlimited creative palette for talented people, and there's no limit to what's possible.
If you want a career where your creative skills can be exercised to the full, and your technical skills given a real workout every day, landscaping is a great career. Just make sure you get the business side of things right, and you'll have a ball.