Whether they’re sodding, tilling, mulching, pruning or planting, landscapers earn their salaries by making properties look lush and cared for. Landscapers find themselves employed in a wide range of different environments, with the majority of workers within the property maintenance industry, but the highest wages for the profession are earned outside that category. A landscaper's yearly income is also affected by where, within the country, he "plants" his roots.
More than three-quarters of a million landscaping and groundskeeping workers -- 829,350 by the last count of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding those who are self-employed -- helped public industry, the private sector and home and landowners keep their outside areas looking their best. When the BLS conducted its employment survey for May 2010, it established a median 50th percentile salary for the profession of $23,400, with a 10th percentile wage of $16,960 bracketed by a 90th percentile wage of $37,240.
Employers in the District of Columbia paid the highest wages for their landscapers, with annual mean rates of $34,910. Alaska’s landscapers took the second-highest place on the BLS list, with annual mean wages of $32,830. In Massachusetts, employers paid the third-highest rates, at $31,700, followed by those in Washington state and Connecticut, both paying $30,340.
Room to Grow
The state with the highest level of landscaper employment in the country at the time of the survey was California, which also had a higher-than-average rate of pay with wages of $27,900. In other states, high employment didn’t always correlate with high salaries, though. Florida, which had the second-highest level of employment for landscaping and groundskeeping workers, paid just below the median at $22,970, and Texas, with the third-highest employment level, paid just below Florida’s rate at $22,450. New York’s landscapers, with the fourth-highest employment level, received above-average annual mean wages of $28,770. Illinois, home to the fifth-highest employment level, also paid above the median with statewide wages of $25,980.
The majority of landscapers were employed by companies that fell into the BLS category of building and dwelling services, which employed more than four times more landscaping and groundskeeping workers than any other category. The category also paid a slightly higher-than-average wage of $24,680. Landscapers employed by the next-largest employer, amusement and recreation industries, actually earned slightly below-average wages, at $23,070. It was landscapers employed by the federal executive branch of the government who earned the highest wages, at $45,650. Specialty hospitals also paid their landscapers above the median, at $38,190, as did the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry, with wages of $34,970.
2016 Salary Information for Grounds Maintenance Workers
Grounds maintenance workers earned a median annual salary of $26,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, grounds maintenance workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $22,230, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $33,640, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,309,300 people were employed in the U.S. as grounds maintenance workers.