Groundskeeper Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Groundskeeper, or Caretaker, is responsible for maintaining an aesthetically-pleasing and functional outdoor space. Their duties include planting flowers and shrubbery, mowing lawns and communicating with the property owner to determine their vision for the space.

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Groundskeeper Duties and Responsibilities

In this section, you should state exactly what you’ll expect your Groundskeeper to do. Be thorough and clear in your explanation in order to give potential applicants the information they need to decide whether or not they would be successful as a Groundskeeper for your company. Don’t forget to let your Groundskeeper applicants know how much time they will be spending outdoors and whether they will be expected to work outside during inclement weather. For clarity and readability, it’s best to use a bulleted list format. Some of the most common duties of a Groundskeeper are:

  • Mowing lawns
  • Trimming hedges
  • Watering plants 
  • Installing sprinkler and irrigation systems
  • Preparing outdoor areas for various weather conditions by weatherproofing, covering outdoor furniture with tarps, tying down unsecured items, etc.
  • Maintaining gardens and lawns, including planting, fertilizing, weeding, soil conditioning, mulching and applying pesticides 
  • Operating and maintaining garden and landscaping equipment
  • Scheduling specialty services such as ground leveling or patio installation
  • Ordering supplies and equipment

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Groundskeeper Job Description Examples

What Does a Groundskeeper Do?

Groundskeepers typically work for historic sites, schools, public parks, private homes or cemeteries. They use their knowledge of horticulture and love for gardening to maintain a visually appealing outdoor space for others to enjoy. Their job is to perform a variety of tasks like raking leaves, pruning trees and shrubs, cleaning benches and other structures and applying pest control methods to plant life. They may also form relationships with local maintenance and gardening services to outsource jobs that require more specific skills.

Groundskeeper Skills and Qualifications

No matter what position you’re hiring for, you’ll want a candidate to have the necessary skills and qualifications to do the job well. For a Groundskeeper position, this largely depends on the nature of the work they’ll be doing, but typically, Groundskeepers should be able to meet these qualifications:

  • Ability to lift 50 pounds
  • Familiarity with sprinkler systems and other landscaping equipment
  • Knowledge of gardening techniques
  • Knowledge of gardening products such as fertilizers and pesticides
  • Physical stamina and the ability to stand for long periods of time
  • A valid driver’s license

Groundskeeper Salary Expectations

According to our data, which were gathered for the last three years from over 8,000 groundskeeper job postings, employees and site users, a Groundskeeper makes an average of $12.64 an hour in the United States. They earn an average of $3,937 in overtime pay per year and generally stay in their position for less than one year.

Groundskeeper Education and Training Requirements

If the nature of your Groundskeeper position is fairly basic, you may only require a high school diploma or GED. The more advanced the work is, the more likely it is to require an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or some training in a related field such as agriculture or horticulture. The more specialized the tasks they’ll be performing, the more education and training you may require. Depending on the position, you may want a Groundskeeper candidate to have forklift, landscaping or other certifications.

Groundskeeper Experience Requirements

The experience required of a Groundskeeper varies according to the job. You may not require your applicants to have any experience at all if the demands of the job are basic. For more complicated jobs, you might prefer that they have knowledge or experience in a specific area, such as topiary or advanced horticulture. It all depends on the position. If your Groundskeeper will be have any managerial duties, you may want them to have some management or supervisory experience. If they’re going to work with chemicals, heavy machinery or power tools, you might want to require previous experience working with these.

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Groundskeepers

 

What is the difference between a Groundskeeper and a Landscaper?

The difference between a Groundskeeper and a Landscaper is that Landscapers design outdoor spaces, decide what plants to use and how to arrange them. In contrast, Groundskeepers typically maintain the cleanliness of an outdoor area per its original design. However, it is important to note that in certain situations, Groundskeepers may have the authority to perform specific landscaping tasks like arranging flower beds. Another way to distinguish between Groundskeepers and Landscapers is that Groundskeepers remain responsible for one property at all times, whereas Landscapers typically travel to different locations to perform contractual work.

 

What are the daily duties of a Groundskeeper?

A Groundskeeper starts work by reviewing their to-do list for the day. They check the weather and review the property’s event schedule (if working for a public site) to determine which tasks to complete first. For example, if a College Campus Groundskeeper knows that tours will start at the historic library at 11:00 a.m., they structure their day to make sure they rake up leaves or mow the library lawn before tours arrive. 

Throughout the day, Groundskeepers work by themselves or with a team to pull weeds, deadhead flowers and perform more labor-intensive tasks like painting sheds, repairing fountains, chopping tree branches and moving debris in a wheelbarrow. After they complete each task, Groundskeepers make sure to reapply sunscreen, drink water and take short breaks to preserve their energy.

 

What qualities make a good Groundskeepers?

A good Groundskeeper is someone who has a passion for working outside, regardless of the weather. They pride themselves on their work and strive to maintain an aesthetically-pleasing environment for the public or individuals to enjoy. They also have a detailed understanding of which plants work best for their climate and plant flowers and other greenery in accordance with the seasons. They are physically fit, which allows them to stand, walk or kneel for long periods. They may also need to haul heavy bags of soil or fertilizer and operate lawnmowers, leaf blowers and chain saws, which require a degree of strength. 

Further, a good Groundskeeper should also be able to work at odd hours like early in the morning or late in the evening. This allows them to complete tasks around events or adverse weather conditions.

 

Who does a Groundskeeper report to?

A Groundskeeper typically reports to the Property Owner to maintain an outdoor space according to their guidelines. The Property Owner also sets the budget for Groundskeepers to spend on gardening supplies and particular projects.

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