Landscape Horticulturist National Occupational Analysis (NOA) 2015

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Landscape horticulturist.

2015 – Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Horticulteur-paysagiste/horticultrice-paysagiste

NOC: 2225

Designation Year: 2008

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General Information


“Landscape Horticulturist” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship. This analysis covers tasks performed by landscape horticulturists whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Horticultural Technician


Horticulture Technician


Landscape Gardener


Landscape Worker

Landscape Horticulturist x x x x   x
Landscape- Horticulturist x    

Landscape horticulturists survey and assess landscape, draw sketches and interpret plans. They construct and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses and other landscape environments. In addition, they advise clients on issues related to horticulture and landscape construction. Landscape horticulturists also propagate, cultivate and study plants, and treat injured and diseased trees and plants. They are employed by landscape designers, architects and contractors, lawn service and tree care establishments, recreation facilities, golf courses, parks, nurseries, greenhouses, and municipal, provincial and federal governments. They may also be self-employed.

Landscape horticulturists work with machinery and equipment ranging from simple hand tools to heavy equipment. They may be responsible for the routine maintenance of tools and equipment. Landscape horticulturists may also work with a variety of products such as pesticides, fertilizers and fuels and must be aware of their safe use, environmental best practices and government regulations.

Some landscape horticulturists specialize in areas such as landscape design, construction and maintenance, and greenhouse, sod and nursery production. They may work independently or with other professionals such as architects, engineers, and municipal planners.

Landscape horticulturists require good communication skills to coordinate and facilitate work with clients, co-workers and other trades. They also require strong analytical, decision making and organizational abilities.

Employment in this trade is often seasonal with long hours. The majority of the work such as landscape construction and maintenance, and snow and ice management is performed outdoors in all types of weather. Indoor work may involve greenhouse production, interior landscaping, and the sale of plants, landscape materials and supplies. The work may be strenuous and may involve activities such as lifting, climbing, carrying and bending.

With experience and proven competence, landscape horticulturists may advance to supervisory positions or become business owners.

This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of other tradespeople such as arborists, utility arborists, bricklayers/masons, heavy equipment operators, electricians, concrete finishers, roofers, plumbers, small engine mechanics and carpenters.

Occupational Observations

The landscape industry must continuously adapt to changing trends in education, certification, legislation and the labour market as they relate to safety, environmental stewardship and conservation. This market-driven industry will continue to evolve through the introduction of new products, implementation of new technology and green horticultural principles to meet the needs of its clients.

There is an increasing demand from the emerging workforce for year round work rather than seasonal employment. More employers are encouraging employees to improve their technical skills towards obtaining their credentials during the slower period. The demand for specialized skilled workers in the landscape industry is growing. Increasingly, consumers and employers are requesting certified landscape horticulturists who are aware of best practices to provide the best products and services.

As jurisdictional safety and prevention legislation changes, compliance requirements by industry are increasing. Safety awareness and implementation of safe work practices in the industry is evolving to better protect the workforce and the general public.

The industry plays a role in promoting environmental consciousness and sustainable development. Public awareness of conservation measures to protect our living spaces is empowering the landscape industry to reduce its environmental impact. There is increased collaboration across the industry and stakeholder groups in Canada resulting in better environmental awareness and application of best practices.

The work is becoming more intricate because of the complexity of the designs and expanding customer requests for items such as outdoor living spaces and, organic gardening and sustainable design. There is an increased focus on water conservation and protection. The use of native and natural materials and green infrastructure is becoming more prevalent.

A higher degree of attention is paid to plant health starting at the design phase and through installation and maintenance due to environmental and jurisdictional regulations. The industry is growing more pest and disease-resistant varieties of plants. There are changes to pest and disease control measures including legislation that has reduced dependence on chemical use. Tools and equipment that produce fewer emissions, less noise and less vibration are more in demand.

The landscape horticultural industry continues to apply technological advancements to improve its business and workforce skills. Digital devices, satellite technology and production innovation enable improved production, efficiency and quality.

Due to an increase in government regulations concerning the conservation, capture and recycling of water, industry is continuously seeking new technologies, techniques and plant varieties to reduce environmental impact and production costs.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order at:

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile. A link to the complete essential skills profile can be found at

Landscape horticulturists require reading skills to review work-related documents such as site plans, work orders, contracts, purchase orders, safety documents, product directions and specifications, promotional materials and manuals. They may also read trade publications, catalogues, scientific articles and papers, regulations and building codes.

Landscape horticulturists refer to drawings, photographs, grade plans, graphs, tables and other technical information related to their trade. They may also interpret scale drawings of landscape designs and detail drawings, and refer to schematics for irrigation systems.

Writing skills are used by landscape horticulturists to compose letters or e-mails to clients, contractors and colleagues, and to accurately record information such as safety, maintenance and production information. Landscape horticulturists write investigative reports covering damaged or diseased trees, shrubs, plants, turfgrass and hardscape elements.

Oral communication is a very important skill for landscape horticulturists. A substantial amount of communication is done in order to exchange information, instruct, convey knowledge and to coordinate work with others. They talk to clients about horticultural and landscaping topics such as plant care, landscape design and landscape maintenance. They speak with other professionals including suppliers, architects and engineers to coordinate projects.

Landscape horticulturists use numeracy skills, particularly to calculate financial transactions such as purchasing and sales. They also perform calculations related to production such as labour rates, material quantity take-offs, and seeding rates and measurements such as weight, volume and site areas. They also calibrate equipment such as spreaders and sprayers. They perform numerical estimations of time requirements, slope and quantities of materials.

Landscape horticulturists need to be able to problem solve when unexpected situations arise in their work. For instance, inclement weather may impact the ability to proceed as planned. Decision making and critical thinking skills are required to determine how to distribute tasks associated with issues such as plant health care, environmental protection, and selection of plant species, products and practices. Planning and organizing skills are used to coordinate and organize tasks with those of many others involved in the process. Landscape horticulturalists need to comprehend, interpret and apply safety documentation and regulations.

Landscape horticulturists use computers and other digital devices when researching horticultural information. They may also use applications for communication, word processing, labeling, spreadsheets, databases and global positioning systems (GPS). They may use design, estimating, accounting and inventory software.

Landscape horticulturists coordinate work with others, including other landscape horticulturists, supervisors, architects, clients, homeowners, surveyors, engineers, bylaw officers and other contractors. Landscape horticulturists mentor other employees and cooperate in team building.

Landscape horticulturists are required to stay abreast of landscaping and horticultural information and practices, and regulatory requirements such as environmental protection and conservation, zoning and bylaws. Landscape horticulturists are governed by the regulatory body in the jurisdiction in which they practice. They may be required to participate in developing their learning plans and complete continuous education to maintain their industryrelated certification.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by ESDC and the CCDA to the following representatives of the trade, and the apprenticeship bodies or national organizations that nominated them.

  • Karen Carrier - New Brunswick
  • Doug Conrad - Nova Scotia
  • William Dorman - Alberta
  • Guy Dowhy - Manitoba
  • Mike Gallant - Prince Edward Island
  • Sally Harvey - Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC)
  • Tim Kearney - Canadian National Landscape Association (CNLA)
  • Michael Murray - Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Kurtis Langton - Saskatchewan
  • John Soychak - Ontario
  • Heike Stippler - British Columbia

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of Ontario also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0J9

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