A groundskeeper is responsible for taking care of outdoor properties. Depending on his duties, he may also be called a gardener, caretaker, landscaper, or grounds supervisor. He is usually hired by private homeowners, schools, cemeteries, country clubs, and any other outdoor areas. Groundskeeping is usually a year-round job, keeping the property in top condition for the owners.
Much of what a groundskeeper does is keeping the lawn in good shape. This includes mowing, aerating, and watering. A groundskeeper will also remove weeds, spread grass seed if needed, and mulch. Care for flower gardens and landscaping are also a part of the job, as are seasonal duties, such as shoveling and applying salt to ice or raking leaves. These tasks will take up most of his time, especially on large properties.
Landscaping fixtures, such as fountains, pools, and patio furniture, also need to be taken care of. This includes any necessary repairs. Outdoor lighting needs to be maintained. Burial sites need to be kept free of weeds, and structures, such as sheds or other outbuildings, need to be painted and cared for regularly. This requires regular inspections to look for any potential problems.
Part of being a groundskeeper is using heavy equipment. Lawnmowers, weed eaters, hedgers, and trimmers are all typical tools of the trade. A groundskeeper may also use snow blowers, tractors, and chain-saws. This requires knowledge of how to safely use these tools. She will also be using shovels, rakes, trowels, and other manually operated tools. Part of using landscaping tools is making sure they are kept in good shape.
What groundskeepers specifically do is influenced by any specialty they might have. Someone working in a cemetery would spend most of his time clearing weeds, cleaning gravestones, and possibly digging graves, if there is not a separate team for that job. Golf course groundskeepers mow and rake the lawns, smooth the sand pits, and keep the golf course looking professional. A groundskeeper working at a school may also be responsible for taking care of any playground equipment or playing fields.
Groundskeepers work outside, regardless of the weather. During and after a bad snowstorm, while the occupants of the property may be warm inside, the groundskeeper will be outside clearing the driveway, sidewalks, and parking area. He may be subjected to possible cuts, bee stings, skin damage from the sun, and exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. It is a physically demanding job, but one that may be enjoyable for people who prefer to work outside instead of behind a desk.