Groundsmen/groundswomen provide landscape and lawn services and maintain grounds for private households, commercial and public facilities, schools, hotels, botanical gardens, golf courses, parks and athletic fields.

Excludes greenkeeper.
Includes people performing the planting, care, maintenance and care of municipal grounds, highway greenery and industrial and commercial buildings.
Includes people maintaining the greenery of gardens, playgrounds, sports terrains, buildings and other parks or lawns for recreational purposes

The duties of a groundsman/groundswoman include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining sports grounds by performing tasks such as raking, mowing, and trimming the grass
  • Inspecting the field to identify problems such as weeds, insects, or other issues that may affect playability
  • Cleaning and repairing equipment such as mowers and rakes
  • Repairing any damage to the field caused by events such as concerts or soccer tournaments
  • Picking up trash from the stands after games or events have ended
  • Maintaining the facilities for a particular sport or recreational activity such as a stadium or skating rink
  • Maintaining the grass on fields by fertilizing, seeding, aerating, and spraying with pesticides
  • Applying chemicals to fields to prevent disease or kill weeds, insects, or other pests
  • Installing new grass seed or other types of turf, such as rubber or artificial grass, on fields that need repair or replacing

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to groundsman/groundswoman:

groundskeeping worker
landscape worker
landscape gardener
greens keeper
lawn care specialist
park keeper
grounds staff

Working conditions

Grounds maintenance work is usually done outdoors in all kinds of weather. The work may be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, kneeling, lifting, and shoveling.

Injuries and Illnesses

Grounds maintenance work may be dangerous. Workers who use equipment such as lawnmowers and chain saws must wear protective clothing, eyewear, and earplugs. Those who apply chemicals such as pesticides or fertilizers must wear protective gear, including appropriate clothing, gloves, goggles, and sometimes respirators.

Work Schedules

Most groundsmen/groundswomen work are full time, and their work schedules may vary. These workers may be busier or work longer hours in the spring, summer, and fall, when planting, mowing, and trimming activities are most frequent.

Some jobs are seasonal. However, groundsmen/groundswomen sometimes provide other services during the winter months, such as snow removal.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as groundsman/groundswoman. However, employers may prefer to hire candidates who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Prospective grounds maintenance workers may benefit from studying topics such as landscape design, horticulture, or arboriculture.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Groundsman/groundswoman is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Groundsman/groundswoman career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to groundsman/groundswoman.

landscape gardener
interior landscaper
hop farmer
horticulture worker
agronomic crop production team leader

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of groundsman/groundswoman. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of groundsman/groundswoman with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

viticulture adviser
botanical technician
biotechnical technician
groundwater monitoring technician
air pollution analyst

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of groundsman/groundswoman.

  • Water chemistry analysis: Principles of complex water chemistry.
  • Turf management: Planting and maintenance of turf.
  • Environmental legislation in agriculture and forestry: Awareness on environmental legislation, policies, principles relevant for agriculture and forestry. Awareness of the impact on the environment of local agricultural procedures and practices. Means to adjust the production to new environmental regulations and policies.
  • Soil structure: Diversity of soil elements and types of soil in relation to plant growth.
  • Plant species: The variety of plants, trees and shrubs and their special characteristics.
  • Watering principles: Methods, principles and systems for supplying water to land or crops by means of pipes, sprinklers, ditches or streams.
  • Pest control in plants: Types and features of pests in plants and crops. Different kinds of pest control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Ecology: The study of how organisms interact and their relation to the ambient environment.
  • Horticulture principles: The standard horticultural practices, including but not limited to planting, pruning, corrective pruning, and fertilisation.
  • Plant disease control: Types and features of diseases in plants and crops. Different kinds control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Principles of landscape construction: Principles and techniques to prepare ground or site for construction of wooden and brick terraces, fences and ground surfaces. This includes knowledge on how to measure and plan out the site, lay stone and tiles.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of groundsman/groundswoman.

  • Perform pest control: Carry out crop spraying pest and disease operations in line with National industry and customer requirements. Carry out slurry and fertiliser spreading in accordance with local environmental regulations
  • Prepare ground for construction: Select materials to meet specifications, prepare the site in accordance with specifications.
  • Transport physical resources within the work area: Transport physical resources such as products, equipment, materials, and liquids. Carefully load, transport and unload resources safely and efficiently, keeping the load in good condition.
  • Prepare the ground: Prepare the ground for laying turf or seeding by clearing the area, choosing the optimal soil, choosing the ground deepness and the appropriate fertilisers.
  • Prepare sites for planting of grass: Prepare lawn areas by spreading top soil and planting grass, and by laying instant turf.
  • Maintain turf and grass: Establish and maintain fine turf, grassed fields, and synthetic surfaces for sports events. Ensure a pleasant appearance of the property grounds.
  • Prepare planting area: Prepare planting area and soil for planting by for example fertilising, mulching by hand or using mechanical tools or machinery; prepare seeds and plants for sowing and planting by ensuring the quality of seed and plants.Sow and plant by hand, using mechanical tools or machinery and in accordance with national legislation.
  • Handle chemical products for soil and plants: Handle chemical products for soil and plants includes cleaning the equipment used for spreading and spraying, mixing of chemicals, preparing pesticides and herbicides for spraying, preparing fertilisers for spreading.
  • Use gardening equipment: Use gardening equipment such as clippers, sprayers, mowers, chainsaws, complying to health and safety regulations.
  • Perform weed control operations: Carry out crop spraying for weeds and plant disease operations in line with national industry and customer requirements.
  • Maintain turf management equipment: Install and service equipment like nets, posts and protective covers for sports and recreation purposes.
  • Spray pesticides: Spray pesticide solutions to keep insects, fungus, weed growth, and diseases under control.
  • Prepare land for turf laying: Coordinate the work involved in clearing and preparing sites ready for planting. Ensure that the working methods for site clearance and preparation are established and clearly communicated. Oversee site clearance and preparation in accordance with specifications and maintain the quality of work.
  • Maintain irrigation systems: Install irrigation, plumbing and sprinkler systems. Inspect and assess these systems according to agreed time schedules. Identify defects and wear in irrigation systems and arrange repairs.
  • Monitor water quality: Measure water quality: temperature, oxygen, salinity, pH, N2, NO2,NH4, CO2, turbidity, chlorophyll. Monitor microbiological water quality.
  • Maintain landscape site: Maintain the site by mowing, applying fertiliser, controlling weed, aerating, trimming and pruning. Perform clean-ups according to needs and requirements.
  • Plan sports areas: Carry out an initial survey which identifies the type, function and required dimensions of the sports area. Produce accurate plans which are consistent with the rules of the sport. Ensure the positioning and dimensions of the sports area are consistent with the rules of the sport and the function, use and safety of the site.
  • Estimate consumption of water: Estimate, measure and register consumption of water required for watering of greens or grounds areas.
  • Execute disease and pest control activities: Execute disease and pest control activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the climate, plant or crop type, health and safety and environmental regulations. Store and handle pesticides in accordance with recommendation and legislation.
  • Construct greens and grounds: Project, construct, reconstruct playing fields and bunkers, tees at greens.
  • Operate turf management equipment: Operate turf management equipment like hedge cutters, mowers and strimmers.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of groundsman/groundswoman. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Crop production principles: Principles in growing crops, the natural cycle, nursing of nature, growth conditions and principles of organic and sustainable production. Quality criteria and requirements of seeds, plants and crop.
  • Pruning techniques: The techniques of selectively removing parts of trees and plants to foster better growth and regeneration.
  • Rainwater management: The characteristics of water sensitive urban design methods such as wet basins, dry basins, drainage and surface infiltration.
  • Pruning types: Different approached to pruning trees, such as thinning, removal, etc.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of groundsman/groundswoman. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manage time in landscaping: Plan and implement work schedules to fit in landscaping activities, which include the briefing phase where the landscape project is discussed with a client after which follow a series of sketches, plans and designs.
  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
  • Prune hedges and trees: Cut and prune trees and hedges in ornamental forms, considering botanical and esthetical aspects.
  • Manage rainwater: Implementing water sensitive urban design elements such as wet basins, dry basins, drainage and surface infiltration.
  • Nurse plants: Determine the need for nursing activities and carry out nursing by cultivating, maintaining, watering and spraying the plants and trees manually or using appropriate equipment, taking into account the plant species and following safety requirements.
  • Implement plans for the management of sports turf areas: Plan the management of sports turfs. Ensure your plans are consistent with the purpose and function of the turf. Determine what resources are needed, according to specifications and implement planned operations.
  • Propagate plants: Carry out propagation activities by applying appropriate propagation methods, such as grafted cutting propagation or generative propagation considering the plant type. Carry out propagation control considering the required terms and conditions for specific plant type.
  • Plant green plants: Plant seeds manually or by using ground equipment.
  • Prepare planting area for planting: Prepare planting area and soil for planting by fertilising, mulching and performing weed control. Take the conditions of the area, soil and plant type into account.
  • Prune plants: Carry out pruning with relevant tools, related to the different purposes like maintenance pruning, pruning for growth, pruning for fruiting, debudding and volume reduction.
  • Grow plants: Carry out plant growing activities. Carry out grow control considering the required terms and conditions for specific plant type.
  • Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
  • Report pollution incidents: Examine the extent of the damage and consequences when an incident causes pollution, and report it to the relevant institution following pollution reporting procedures.
  • Nurse trees: Plant, fertilise and trim trees, shrubs and hedges. Examine trees to assess their condition and determine treatment. Work to eradicate insects, fungus and diseases which are harmful to trees, assist with prescribed burning, and work on preventing erosion.

ISCO group and title

6113 – Gardeners, horticultural and nursery growers

  1. Groundsman/groundswoman – ESCO
  2. Groundsman Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Grounds Maintenance Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Featured image: By Acabashi – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on October 27, 2022

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