What Is a Master Gardener?

What Is a Master Gardener?

Gardening
Landscaping
Outdoor and Gardening
By Contractors.com Team July 14, 2021

And When You Might Need One


Gardening and softscaping are two very complex trades that require years of training to master. It is equal parts careful handiwork and acute calculation, but a big chunk of it is nothing but determination and patience. While gardeners are required to know all the nuances surrounding growing and maintaining plants, trees, and shrubbery, master gardeners are tasked with taking their trade to the next level.

Thanks to their years of training, work experience, and education, a master gardener is an invaluable professional for homeowners looking to create a more pleasant home exterior and landscape. Working alongside other building specialists and exterior designers, master gardeners will incorporate nature into your home, bringing a little more green into your and your family’s lives — one of the many benefits of gardening.

What Is a Master Gardener?

Master Gardeners Are Well-Trained Professionals

Master Gardeners Are Well-Trained Professionals

The main difference between a gardener and a master gardener is their experience and education. To become a gardener, you simply need to make gardening, landscaping, and softscaping a regular part of your life. Cultivating plants, growing succulents around the house, and even putting extra care into lawn maintenance are all great ways to get into gardening. 

A master gardener on the other hand makes gardening a profession. While they still handle many of the tasks that any other gardener would they are also more specialized and have a deeper knowledge of horticulture. Many educational institutions across the country offer various programs in master gardening that typically require the prospective master gardener to go through various courses and fulfill at least 40 hours of volunteer gardening work. After completing the master gardener program these individuals are formally recognized and certified as professionals of their trade. 

What Does a Master Gardener Do?

Like other gardeners, the master gardener is tasked with caring for lawns, flowers, gardens, and trees. They work on gardens, help homeowners with their landscape design, work in communal gardens, and volunteer to help care for the local greenery.

Master Gardeners Offer a Wealth of Experience

Master Gardeners Offer a Wealth of Experience

What sets master gardeners apart from other gardeners is their more extensive knowledge and experience of cultivating plants, garden maintenance, and other special tasks that only a trained professional would know how to handle. A very generalized list of what they do includes:

  • cultivating plants;
  • growing trees;
  • landscape maintenance;
  • fertilizer and pesticide application;
  • advising and regulating safety procedures;
  • understanding the uses for different types of soil;
  • and teaching others how to garden.


These are only the most basic tasks that gardeners take care of. From helping to get rid of termite infestations to optimizing the growth schedule of your vegetable garden, master gardeners are here to offer their helping hand in much more as well. 

When Would You Need a Master Gardener?

A Master Gardener Can Help You Ace Your Complex Garden Project

A Master Gardener Can Help You Ace Your Complex Garden Project

Master gardeners really shine on bigger, more complex gardening and landscaping projects that other gardeners would need extra time and resources to pull off. Menial tasks such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves are typically done by the homeowners themselves or less specialized gardeners. While master gardeners will most likely know their way around a lawnmower and rake, they generally accept jobs that are more specialized and that utilize their expert knowledge and skills.

Master gardeners are hired for a variety of reasons. Most people get the help of master gardeners when they are having a hard time growing their backyard garden or don’t understand why their landscape isn’t blooming with life. Starting a vegetable garden, for example, is not an easy task when working alone and with little to no experience in gardening. Growing crops like fruits and vegetables is a big part of a master gardener’s responsibilities, making them the ideal specialist for helping you with that vegetable garden you’ve always wanted to cultivate. 

How Master Gardeners Fit in The Bigger Picture 

Translate Your Ambitious Garden Plans Into Reality

Translate Your Ambitious Garden Plans Into Reality

Gardens are a great way to start a new hobby and add more character and life to the landscape around your home. Many landscapers and hardscape designers work closely with master gardeners to determine exactly what kind of plant life is needed in various areas of a landscape. They are in charge of all the trees, flowers, shrubbery, crops, as well as the soil, planters, raised garden beds, the garden’s layout, and to some extent the landscaping and hardscaping.

Master gardeners may also work with contractors to help them design the interior and exterior when building a greenhouse. As most contractors or builders may not know the intricacies of what goes where inside a greenhouse, it is up to the master gardener to advise them during the building process. This ensures that the greenhouse is built and designed to optimize plant growth, a nuance that experienced and knowledgeable gardeners can really pinpoint. 

Reimagine Your Garden With Expert Assistance

Reimagine Your Garden With Expert Assistance

As previously mentioned, a major aspect of any master gardener’s career is crop growing. Growing a fruit or vegetable garden is one of the hardest projects in horticulture. There are a lot of elements that must come together to cultivate a healthy garden that is capable of producing organic and healthy food. For novice gardeners, these elements may be somewhat difficult to grasp. But with master gardeners by their side, beginners will have handy pointers as to which vegetable seeds to use, what the most optimal garden design is for a fruit garden, when and how often to irrigate, and everything in between.

Whether it’s building your own zen garden or planting simple garden roses, the master gardeners’ wide range of skills and knowledge allows them to be very suitable specialists for any plant or garden-related task.

How Much Do They Cost?

Hiring a Master Gardener is a Worthwhile Investment

Hiring a Master Gardener is a Worthwhile Investment

Each specialist will have their own pricing models and service charges that vary from project to project. The national average is around $750 for an entire project that a master gardener may work on, with hourly rates ranging from $70 to $150 for gardeners without any certification. 

A master gardener with formal education and certification will most likely charge a service fee closer to $150. But there are a lot of specialists you can find online and therefore many to ask about their particular pricing. Finding a specialist for your project and an agreeable budget is all about doing the research.

How to Choose the Right One for Your Project?

Every home and therefore every landscape and therefore every garden is different. Each may present itself with unique challenges and needs, so you will need to hire a professional that has the right skills and experience to handle your job in particular. There are a few ways to get a feel for whether a master gardener is right for your job:

Each Master Gardener Has Their Own Specialty

Each Master Gardener Has Their Own Specialty

  • Give your potential hire as much information about your project as possible. This will help them understand what kind of work needs to be done and better answer your 9questions. This will also allow a prospective hire to give you more accurate estimates on deadlines and service charges.

  • Asking for their portfolio and learning about their previous work will help you get a much better idea of their skill set, experience, and work ethic.

  • Speak with several potential prospective gardeners before making the final decision. It is very easy to impulsively pick the first hiree who sounds relatively like the kind of specialist you need,  but it's a better idea to talk to a few potential hirees before coming to a decision

  • Don’t focus too much on the prices when looking for a master gardener. While service charges and pricing models are very important in determining the ideal hire for your project, it will be more reflective of a job well done if your specialist matches your requirements and expectations. Start comparing prices after you’ve found potential matches.
Any Qualified Master Gardner Will Be Happy to Answer Your Questions

Any Qualified Master Gardner Will Be Happy to Answer Your Questions

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team