Grounds staff often work for an organization's department of building and grounds, along with general maintenance workers. While general maintenance staff typically repair and maintain buildings and equipment, grounds employees mostly work outside and keep the lawns and landscaping in shape. No formal education is usually needed for this job, and groundskeepers are typically trained on the job. Most grounds workers fulfill the same general role, but they take on additional duties in some environments.
Groundskeepers focus on keeping up the landscaping and outdoor fixtures at facilities such as corporate headquarters or resorts. They fertilize, water, mow and edge grassy areas, take care of shrubs and flowers and trim hedges. They also are responsible for clearing snow, cleaning walkways, weeding, mulching and raking leaves. In addition, they clean and maintain landscaping fixtures such as benches, fountains, fences and planters. They perform routine maintenance of mowers and equipment and install and repair sprinklers.
Groundskeepers for athletic fields maintain the turf, whether natural or man-made, and mark boundaries for the games. They clean and disinfect artificial turf and replace the padding as necessary. In parks and recreation areas, grounds staff keep up the play areas, clear snow from pavement, maintain pools and paint and repair benches and structures. Cemetery groundskeepers dig graves, plant flowers, fertilize and mow lawns and keep the grave areas clean. Grounds staff at golf courses, known as greenskeepers, maintain the lawn and reposition the holes as needed to prevent excessive wear.
Groundskeepers must be in good physical condition to perform hard physical labor in all types of weather. Some jobs are seasonal because there's typically less to do in winter. Grounds staff must wear protective gear when using heavy equipment and take precautions when handling pesticides. Workers who use mowers, chainsaws and ladders have a high risk of injuries.