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What does a Groundskeeper do?

Margo Upson
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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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.

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Margo Upson
By Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a Practical Adult Insights writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.
Discussion Comments
By anon288201 — On Aug 28, 2012

I currently work as an estate groundskeeper as a part time job. I could easily work 40 hours a week. I have keys to everything and a credit card for purchases but no benefits, sadly. That is what stops me from quitting my desk job. I'm dreaming of the day I can retire to only one job.

By Kristee — On Aug 08, 2012

If I were ever going to seek groundskeeper employment, I would do it in a mild climate instead of a cold one. I simply cannot tolerate being outdoors in freezing temperatures, especially if precipitation is falling.

Last year, my area got a rare eight-inch snowfall. I had to spend time shoveling off my driveway, and I felt like my fingers were going to fall off! I had on gloves, but they kept getting wet with snow.

Groundskeepers in cold climates must have really thick skin and warm blood. They probably also have access to clothing that insulates them very well.

By andee — On Aug 08, 2012

My uncle was a grounds supervisor for a large golf course. He had several staff members that he was in charge of that also worked full time.

During their busy season, it took several people to keep the golf course grounds in good shape. I have no idea what a groundskeeper salary is, but he seemed to make pretty good money. I am sure being a supervisor, he was paid quite a bit more than his average worker.

By bagley79 — On Aug 08, 2012

I don't mind keeping up with my own yard, but don't enjoy it enough that I would ever want to have a groundskeeping job.

I think the worst one would be working for a cemetery. There would be so much trimming you would need to do around all of the gravestones.

I don't mind mowing if I can sit on a mower and cover a lot of ground, but I think using a weed eater would be the main thing you would do at a cemetery.

By myharley — On Aug 07, 2012

I have worked for several years as a groundskeeper in landscaping. Most of job duties require me to do landscaping projects for homeowners.

I have done everything from big to small jobs. Most of the time I install the landscaping and the homeowner keeps up with the regular upkeep. There are some people who don't like doing their own landscaping and maintenance, so they pay me to take care of it for them.

Working as a groundskeeper is hard work and you have to work outside no matter what the weather is. Even so, I would much prefer to do this than be stuck at a desk inside an office building all day long.

By golf07 — On Aug 06, 2012

I am not rich and don't own a large property, but there have been many times when I mentioned I would love to have a gardener.

I love having a green, well manicured lawn with lots of flowers in bloom, but it takes a lot of time and work. In the summer I spend most of my free time outside working on the lawn and garden.

I can understand how this would be a full time job for someone who was maintaining a huge property.

The older I get, the less I enjoy it, and wonder what it would be like to hire someone to take care of these lawn services for me. I don't foresee that it will actually ever happen, but it is nice to dream about once in awhile.

By matthewc23 — On Aug 06, 2012

@titans62 - Although that may seem to be the case, there are many people, like ranchers or simply people that own a lot of property, that need to hire groundskeepers simply because there is no way for one person to maintain the property on their own.

Although there are some rich people, with large estates, that have groundskeepers to take care of and maintain their property, there are way more instances of people that are not rich that hire someone to take care of their property.

A groundskeeper's duties vary on what is wanted from those who hire them and this mean that even someone hired to mow a person's lawn can be considered a groundskeeper.

If someone is looking to make some extra cash as a groundskeeper, this is something they can easily do, but if one wants to get into the profession professionally they need to join a grounds keeping company or start a business on their own.

By titans62 — On Aug 05, 2012

It seems to me like groundskeepers that work at private residences tend to only work for people that have a lot of money and do not wish to go through the trouble of maintaining their own lawns.

I really feel like that in order to be a groundskeeper at a home, one probably has to look for a rich person that is hiring people to do maintain the property, simply because most people tend to maintain their own lawn.

When I think of groundskeepers for private residences I think of large properties owned by people with a lot of money, that either simply do not have the time to maintain their own property or have the money that they do not feel like they should and can simply pay someone else to do the necessary labor.

By Izzy78 — On Aug 04, 2012

@Emilski - I have heard that groundskeepers for major league baseball teams all have one specific job to do and they sometimes rotate their duties.

Because of the nature of the profession, there are millions of dollars put into maintaining the field every year, so they must be in immaculate shape and every single detail must be addressed.

I have heard that these groundskeepers can sometimes work 12 to 16 hour days if there are any problems out of the ordinary with the field, such as if there was heavy rain, or if there is a drought and the grass is dying.

Just like with the ball players, there are different levels of groundskeepers and the ones that work for major league baseball teams have reached the top of their profession and when their careers are over with the baseball teams they can go onto maintaining fields for colleges or even work on people's estates maintaining the grounds.

By Emilski — On Aug 03, 2012
Although most groundskeepers take care of estates, there are many other types of groundskeepers, especially those who take care of fields for sporting events.

I used to work as a groundskeeper, and my job was to take care of and maintain little league diamonds for baseball.

Because of the lack of funds, I was forced to take care of three fields all by myself. My duties included picking up trash that people left from previous games, painting the foul lines, smoothing out the infield dirt, so it was playable, mowing the grass in the outfield, and mowing the grass.

This job required me to do a lot in order to maintain the field properly and I can only imagine what groundskeepers for professional sports teams have to go through, as those fields are in immaculate condition and not just in the condition that local kids can play on the field.

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
Learn more
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