To save you time and frustration, it's important to be able to visualize and plan how you want a yard. It's also important to communicate with your team and the customer about what needs to be done. Landscapers are artists and planners. They can visualize what will look good, but they also need the input of their team and the client to make it come together. Share how you are able to conceptualize what needs to happen before taking action.
"I am careful to plan and design the layout of a yard before I get started working on it with my team. I also communicate and share visuals with my client so that I can get their feedback on what they like. It is much easier to make changes in the plans than have to dig up and rearrange plants later on."
Take some time to learn about the company to show you are interested in working for them. You can talk to friends and neighbors who have used them to find out about their reputation, as well as searching reviews on Yelp.com. By researching the website you can find out about their mission and any particular well known projects they've participated in around your town. You can also do further research by going out for a look at some of their projects first hand!
When you talk about your landscaping experience, discuss projects and examples of your work. Basic lawn care is manual labor that you learn quickly if you have no experience. Share what you do know! Any relevant experience, including the use of tools, will also be very helpful during your interview. Your enthusiasm is equally important! Explain that you are eager to learn, and give some examples of skills you have quickly learned in the past. Any outdoor work experience would be helpful to share too!
If you have experience with a local company, talk about your work by sharing some examples of your projects. You can talk about the positive relationships you built with clients and how you worked well with your team. Shy away from any negative words about your boss or your experience working for one of those companies. You want to show that you are an excellent employee capable of learning new skills and techniques. Share any positive feedback you received from your boss to demonstrate your great reputation!
Study of botany, permaculture, horticulture or environmental science are all relevant to the landscaping profession. If you have experience in any of these areas or if you took a course that helped prepare you for this field, talk about what you learned. Share a highlight from your training that will help you in this job. If you know there will be some focus on building garden beds or patios, now would be a great time to talk about your carpentry experience! There are so many avenues you can go with landscaping. Someone with a broad set of skills is a perfect fit for this type of job. Review the job description to find out what the company most desires from a candidate and focus your discussion of your training on those relevant areas.
There are a number of ways to learn about landscaping. Most people learn by either starting their own lawn care business or getting a job doing manual labor for a landscaping company. Courses are also helpful to continue your education and also to teach some of the essentials. You can learn most of the basics through going out there and getting your hands dirty! Share your knowledge and experience!
"I studied botany when I was in college, and afterward I did a lot of independent study on permaculture. I am really interested in how to use the natural ecology of a landscape to create beautiful structures. So far, working in the field and taking courses at a community college have been the most helpful ways for me to stay current in the industry. I learn as much as I can from my coworkers and my boss. I also attend monthly meetings with other outdoor enthusiasts for us to learn from each other."
Give an example that shows off your work ethic. You are determined and don't let challenges get you down, even when it is blazing hot and you are pulling weeds for hours!
"I worked as a landscaper in the summer in Texas for a client who had an acre of land that was undeveloped. Due to the intense heat and the amount of labor we put into clearing brush, mowing and pruning so many trees and hedges, the work was pretty exhausting. We pushed through and were able to get the work done earlier than expected. I think the job went so smoothly because we had such a great team and we all played our part to get the job done."
Every landscaper has a different style. You may be early in your career, so you simply take direction from your boss or the client. You may have studied design in college and you're just now putting it into practice. Many landscapers pay attention to the land and the natural elements that are prominent in that area. Their goal is to create designs that are aesthetically pleasing and complement colors and patterns within the existing structures like stone walls and the bricks of a house. Give an example that demonstrates your knowledge and experience.
"I visit Houzz on a regular basis and am always looking for inspiration. Also, love just looking at Google images for any idea that I have. I try to perfect my idea by seeing what other people have done. My latest example would be when I put in a pebble walkway with large bluestone stepping stones. I browsed many pictures online of pebble pathways before finalizing my own design."
This is a simple question the interviewer may ask. We have this on MockQuestions so you began now to think about your successful projects and even your less-successful projects. Being able to talk about your past work history is what a job interview is about. Be ready for many examples like this one where you can easily discuss your past work.
"My client had a very large yard. I used the space by dividing the yard into outdoor 'rooms,' giving each section a theme based on what my client wanted. I created three large garden beds and an area for lawn furniture. My coworkers and I worked together seamlessly, communicating what we needed from one another and keeping communication open with our manager and the client. The project was successful for all of these reasons, but most importantly, because my client loved it!"
Maybe you spent your summers in college mowing lawns and trimming hedges. You may have a background in horticulture. The interviewer wants to hear about your past work that is relative to this job. Landscaping is a hands on career that is perfect for those who like to be outside and get their hands dirty. Any experience with planting, gardening, fertilizing or maintaining yards would be good to share in your interview. Customer service experience is also a plus, as you will be working with a variety of clientele. Regardless of how advanced your skillset, the interviewer wants to hear some examples of your work and how you became interested in landscaping.
Setting goals shows the interviewer that you are ambitious and determined. Companies like hearing that you think about the future and are actively working towards your goals. Better yet, they want to know how working for them will help you accomplish your goals! Think about how this job will help you get one step closer to achieving your dream life!
"I plan to move into landscape management and start my own business. I am working for an independent landscape architect right now and they have been teaching me everything they know about landscape design, installation, and irrigation."
Keep it simple. Maybe you designed a project in school, cultivating a compost bed in your backyard. You can also talk about construction projects or designs using stones and crystals. You can also talk about floral arrangements. The interviewer wants to hear about your eye for design. Show off your creativity and consider bringing some photos to display your past work.
Share your strengths in the context of the job. If you are a team player, talk about how you contribute to your team by being positive and listening to others. If you are skilled at construction, give an example that shows you are inventive and creative. If you're not sure where to begin, take a look at your resume or ask some of your coworkers. You want to walk into your interview feeling confident in your abilities. Take some time to prepare by listing your strengths and a few examples.
"I am extremely detailed when planning a project. I spend time learning about the land and checking the soil to find out what plants will look and work best for the area. I am also easy going and fun to work with. Customer service is one of my highest priorities. I always take time to listen to what my client needs and wants to make sure I am able to design beautiful yards and gardens that meet their expectations."
For those who are new to the industry, landscaping is a very seasonal job. It can also require long hours of manual labor in the heat and having to work around rain storms and icy weather. Rather than focusing on something you dislike about landscaping, share what you find challenging about it. Whatever your issue may be, talk about how you have learned to overcome it.
"The greatest challenge for me so far is that depending on where you live the work is seasonal. Living in Colorado, I have to work as much as I can during the warmer months, but as soon we get our first snow, I know that work will be put on hold. It has its advantages and disadvantages, but I'm learning how to find a balance by getting some side work in the wintertime."
Sometimes customers think they know what they want until you give it to them. In this example, the landscaper followed instructions, but the customer changed her mind. Instead of getting frustrated, the best way to respond is to ask questions and find out exactly what you need to do in order to please the customer. There is no need to take things personally. Simply listen and humbly respond. If you have ever received criticism from a co-worker or boss, talk about how you listened and responded by taking action without letting your emotions get in the way.
"I was almost finished with a project, and I asked the client for their opinion. She told me she didn't want the roses to be near the walkway but preferred I put them by the fence in the front of the yard. She also didn't like the color scheme of the flowers. Even though it was difficult to make these changes at the last minute, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I asked her about the specifics of the flowers she wanted instead of the petunias and begonias. She was able to tell me exactly what she wanted. In the end, she was very happy and she even referred me to one of her friends!"
The interviewer may want a description, but photos will provide a much better visual to support your examples. You want to be able to describe the materials you used and explain why you chose them. Talk about your relationships with customers to demonstrate your reputation. The interviewer wants to see the value you will add to the team.
"One of my clients had a huge yard, but she had never put any effort into managing it. The first part of the project was focusing on weeding and trimming trees and shrubbery. I suggested some ideas for designs using colorful combinations of flowers and plants. I used mulch and stones to design walkways and we even rebuilt her dilapidated patio!"
When working with a new manager, it's important to learn their communication style. If your boss gives you instructions, make sure you are clear on what they are asking. Never make assumptions! As you get to know your boss and the expectations on the job, it's a good idea to ask clarifying questions to check for understanding. You can also simply repeat back to them what they asked of you to make sure you're hearing them correctly. Just make sure you are clear on your boss's request. Let them know that clear communication is important to you, and if there's anything you can do better or differently to help, you are open.
"First I would make sure I understood what you were asking. If it's a different approach to building a garden bed or installing an irrigation system, I might ask if you can show me what you're talking about. I would rather get something done right the first time than having to waste time and energy doing it a second time just because I misunderstood what you needed."
There are a variety of tasks that you will be expected to learn quickly when you start out in the landscaping business. Mulching is one of them! Be sure to familiarize yourself by doing research beforehand. If you have no formal education or experience, you can start by practicing in your yard or offer to do yard work for others. Many people get into landscaping by starting a lawn business, trimming grass, weed eating and planting trees. Make sure you are familiar with basic terminology before your interview. If they ask you a question about something you have no experience doing, let them know that you are excited to learn! Share your experience, even if it is limited, to show you can learn new skills quickly and easily.
Maybe the backyard is lackluster with no grass or soil to work with. Perhaps you had to work on designing a privacy fence for the first time and you couldn't get access to the type of wood you had been using when you were halfway through the project! Sometimes you have to be willing to try something new, like working with a new material or pouring yourself into a new project, learning as you go. Show off your creativity and your ability to take risks.
"The first time I designed a rooftop garden was probably one of the toughest assignments. I had to new factors I never had to consider in the past, like the weight of the soil, plants and construction materials. I also had to consider accessibility, making sure that the doors, windows, and walkways were accessible and complimented the design."
There are many terms you will need to know as a landscaper. Don't worry! You won't be expected to have them all memorized before your first job! You can learn as you go. However, before your interview, quiz yourself on some of the basics. Start out by reviewing terms referring to the soil, like composting, clay, herbicide and fertilizer. You will want to know how herbicides and fertilizers will affect the soil and the plants. Also take some time to learn about the different perennial plants, which are those that live for a number of years and don't depend on a particular season. Learn about the plants and flowers that are native to your area.
Being a team player is critical for any landscaper, as you may be working with a wide range group of people. From the homeowners or business owners to laborers and outside contractors. Engaging in and coordinating efforts is key for efficiency and is really required in what could be considered a low-margin business due to heavy competition. Therefore, make sure the interviewer knows you enjoy working with a team and is part of the reason you enjoy landscaping as much as you do!
"Yes! I really enjoy working in teams because I enjoy working with others on projects. Everyone on the team is important because each person plays a valuable role in helping the project come together. When I am working on a landscaping job, I communicate with the team about my observations and anything I notice that could be problematic later on. We communicate constructively about solving issues and creating solutions. When we're done with a yard, it's quite amazing to see the end results. The lawn and the garden beds always look incredible!"
Lawn striping is one of those tasks that takes careful precision. Grading and trimming hedges are other examples of skills that will require a keen eye to detail. If you are new to landscaping, give an example from another line of work that demonstrates your ability to focus and complete tasks effectively without missing any details.
"Some customers like to have their lawn striped. I always start by picking a pattern to reflect the light off the blades of grass. Then I carefully pay attention to the see where I am mowing, making sure I mow in a straight line to follow the pattern."
Give an example that demonstrates your experience with landscape design and planning. Landscape architecture is a bit more involved than landscaping, as it also requires attention to the type of soil and investigating ecological conditions. If you don't have experience with landscape architecture, talk about what you have learned about it. It's always better to focus on what you know in an interview and ask questions about the rest. Depending on the company, you may want to prepare some questions regarding their landscape architecture projects to find out more about what will be expected of you.
"I've worked for five years through high school and college as a landscaper. After the first year, my boss trusted me enough to help with design layouts. By my last year, I was submitting my own designs to him for his consideration."
When you start a new job, you need to flexible about the schedule you're willing to work. Don't let this question catch you off guard! Depending on the season, you may be expected to work longer days. Keep in mind that landscaping is very seasonal. Even though your summer hours may seem brutal, you'll be likely to work fewer hours in the winter. If you want to know more about what to expect from the schedule, now is the time to ask! Share that you are open, flexible and curious about what type of schedule you may have when you first get started.
"If you need me to work extra hours or be flexible to work different shifts, I am willing to do it! I'm comfortable working longer hours as needed. Can you tell me a little bit more about what to expect from the schedule week-to-week?"
We recommend choosing a recent team project or a situation that was resolved through working as a team. To prove you are a collaborator, you will need to show that you listen and contribute positively to the discussion. You cooperate through encouraging and motivating your teammates. When there's a problem, you are proactive rather than passive. This means you take action as soon as you notice issues instead of letting things get worse before you do something about it. You are a leader, making sure everyone's voice is heard. Share some of your qualities that helped you solve a problem with your team and how you overcame the challenges along the way.
Think of a specific example and explain the steps you took to deal with conflict. Use an example that demonstrates your care and compassion when a conflict arises. Interviewers love to hear about the end results! Share how things worked out, whether it was a change in behavior or a positive reconciliation.
"One of my coworkers wasn't pulling their weight. We worked together at a retail shop and I noticed they weren't following our manager's instructions, and when they did, they were lazy about it, putting very little effort into their work. Instead of getting frustrated, I asked him what was going. I told him I noticed he wasn't really taking his work seriously. He explained that he had a lot going on with his family and it was difficult to focus. I asked what I could do to help and told him I was there for him. He really appreciated the support. Over the next couple weeks, I noticed he was making more effort. We also started taking our lunch breaks together more often to give him a chance to vent about life."
If you're unfamiliar with striping a lawn, do a little research. Striping a lawn requires attention to detail and focus. It can be tedious if you have a large lawn, but you have the determination to tackle any task, no matter how simple or difficult it might be. Explain how you are careful about choosing a direction and a design when striping a lawn.
This is where aesthetics comes into play! When plants are paired together, they are chosen for reasons of design, style and to create unique patterns that are visually appealing to your clients. You also want to make sure the soil is fertile enough for those particular plants. Another factor to consider is sunlight. Some plants need more exposure to the sun than others. Talk about what you have learned so far from your gardening experience.
"Well, I keep in mind if a plant needs a male or female counterpart. Sunlight is a factor to consider as well. Lastly, I try to picture the overall design and how each plant, rock, mulch and the building will fit together."
Landscaping is extremely versatile. Depending on your area of expertise, you can focus on simple lawn care or larger projects like permaculture and horticulture. Share an idea or an example of a project from your past. It may be a good idea to bring pictures of your past work to your interview to show off your skills!
"I have dreams of working on a permaculture project in downtown Seattle, which would be a pretty big project. I have been working with the city to map out the designs. I have also been wanting to use my background in carpentry to build a patio and construct walkways for one of my client's homes."
When a customer seems stressed, they don't always realize it. They might need to relax and unwind and have no idea that they are coming across as grumpy or demanding. This is where it's your job to go above and beyond! Learning to anticipate needs before a customer makes a request is a skill! This will definitely come in handy while you are working as a landscaper. Customers can be stressed, demanding and have no self-awareness about how they are coming across. It's up to you to pay attention! Your attitude and your consistent work ethic will go a long way. Give an example from any of your previous work experience that shows off some of the skills and qualities that will make you an excellent landscaper!
"When I worked at a cafe, I made sure that I had a great attitude at all times. I was friendly with every customer. I had a customer come in feeling very stressed and rushed. I moved as quickly as I could to fill his order and asked questions to make sure I was giving him exactly what he wanted. He was so impressed with my attitude that he smiled and relaxed when I gave him his sandwich. I told him I could tell he was stressed and if there was anything else I could do to please let me know. He asked for a coffee, and I responded right away. He gave me a big tip and continued to come back and see me every week!"
When the sun is beating down on you for hours and you're wiping the sweat from your eyes knowing that you have two more months of the excruciating weather, how will you stay motivated? Think about some of the tools you use, like inspirational quotes, going for a run every morning or going out to lunch with coworkers to break up the monotony of the day. You can talk about how you and your coworkers are committed to supporting each other by keeping things lighthearted at work and maintaining a positive attitude. Explain to the interviewer any tips that you've found helpful to keep you smiling on the job!
We have broken down our landscaping interview questions into three job categories: landscape laborer, team leader, and designer. Our interview questions start with general interview questions that will test a candidate's reliability and work ethic. Landscaping is a seasonal job and turnover is very high. Companies will want to make sure they hire a candidate that commits for the entire season.
An interview for a team leader position on a landscaping crew will be more challenging. An interviewer will ask leadership style interview questions to learn how you dealt with various teamwork situations in the past. The interviewer will want to know how passionate and motivated you are with landscaping. They will test your lawn care and equipment knowledge by asking skill related questions. For example, "How do you stripe a lawn? Do you have experience using both walk-behind and zero-turn mowers? When have you worked outside in the heat before?"
Prepare for your interview in advance by researching the company. Know which regions and cities they serve before you walk into the interview. You may also want to review landscaping terms and techniques and learn a little bit about the plants that are native to your area. Good luck on your interview! For more landscaping questions, be sure to visit our Landscape Architect interview questions.