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Grounds Maintenance Workers

Grounds maintenance workers provide a pleasant outdoor environment by ensuring that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy. Show Details

Duties

Grounds maintenance workers typically do the following:

  • Mow, edge, and fertilize lawns
  • Weed and mulch landscapes
  • Trim hedges, shrubs, and small trees
  • Remove dead, damaged, or unwanted trees
  • Plant flowers, trees, and shrubs
  • Water lawns, landscapes, and gardens

Grounds maintenance workers do a variety of tasks to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment. They also care for indoor gardens and plantings in commercial and public facilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens.

The following are types of grounds maintenance workers:

Landscaping workers create new outdoor spaces or upgrade existing ones by planting trees, flowers, and shrubs. They also trim, fertilize, mulch, and water plants. Some grade and install lawns or construct hardscapes such as walkways, patios, and decks. Others help install lighting or sprinkler systems. Landscaping workers work in a variety of residential and commercial settings, such as homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels and motels.

Groundskeeping workers, also called groundskeepers, maintain existing grounds. They care for plants and trees, rake and mulch leaves, and clear snow from walkways. They work on athletic fields, golf courses, cemeteries, university campuses, and parks, as well as in many of the same settings as landscaping workers. They also see to the proper upkeep and repair of sidewalks, parking lots, groundskeeping equipment, fountains, fences, planters, and benches.

Groundskeeping workers who care for athletic fields keep natural and artificial turf in top condition, mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names before events. They mow, water, fertilize, and aerate the fields regularly. They must make sure that the underlying soil on fields with natural turf has the required composition to allow proper drainage and to support the grasses used on the field. In sports venues, they vacuum and disinfect synthetic turf after its use to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, and they remove the turf and replace the cushioning pad periodically.

Groundskeepers in parks and recreation facilities care for lawns, trees, and shrubs; maintain playgrounds; clean buildings; and keep parking lots, picnic areas, and other public spaces free of litter. They also may erect and dismantle snow fences, and maintain swimming pools. These workers inspect buildings and equipment, make needed repairs, and keep everything freshly painted.

Some groundskeepers specialize in caring for cemeteries and memorial gardens. They dig graves to specified depths, generally using a backhoe. They mow grass regularly, apply fertilizers and other chemicals, prune shrubs and trees, plant flowers, and remove debris from graves.

Greenskeepers maintain golf courses. Their work is similar to that of groundskeepers, but they also periodically relocate holes on putting greens and maintain benches and tee markers along the course. In addition, greenskeepers keep canopies, benches, and tee markers repaired and freshly painted.

Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators apply herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides on plants or the soil to prevent or control weeds, insects, and diseases. Those who work for chemical lawn or tree service firms are more specialized, inspecting lawns for problems and applying fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals to stimulate growth and prevent or control weeds, diseases, or insect infestations.

Tree trimmers and pruners, also called arborists, cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to clear utility lines, roads, and sidewalks. Although many workers strive to improve the appearance and health of trees and plants, some specialize in diagnosing and treating tree diseases. Others specialize in pruning, trimming, and shaping ornamental trees and shrubs. Tree trimmers and pruners use chainsaws, chippers, and stump grinders while on the job. When trimming near power lines, they usually work on truck-mounted lifts and use power pruners.

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects plan and design land areas for parks, recreational facilities, highways, airports, and other properties. Projects may include subdivisions and commercial, industrial, and residential sites. Show Details

Duties

Landscape architects typically do the following:

  • Confer with clients, engineers, and building architects to understand a project
  • Prepare site plans, specifications, and cost estimates
  • Coordinate the arrangement of existing and proposed land features and structures
  • Prepare graphic representations and drawings of proposed plans and designs
  • Analyze environmental reports and data on land conditions, such as drainage
  • Inspect landscape work to ensure that it adheres to original plans
  • Approve the quality of work that others do
  • Seek new work through marketing or by giving presentations

People enjoy attractively designed gardens, public parks, playgrounds, residential areas, college campuses, and golf courses. Landscape architects design these areas so that they are not only functional but also beautiful and harmonious with the natural environment.

Landscape architects plan the locations of buildings, roads, and walkways. They also plan where to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees. Landscape architects design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans, such as wetlands, stream corridors, and mined areas.

Many landscape architects specialize in a particular area, such as beautifying or otherwise improving streets and highways, waterfronts, parks and playgrounds, or shopping centers.

Increasingly, landscape architects are working in environmental remediation, such as preserving and restoring wetlands or managing storm-water runoff in new developments. They are also increasingly playing a role in preserving and restoring historic landscapes.

Landscape architects who work for government agencies do design sites and landscapes for government buildings, parks, and other public lands, as well as plan for landscapes and recreation areas in national parks and forests.

In addition, they prepare environmental impact statements and studies on environmental issues, such as planning for use of public lands.

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