A grounds maintenance worker is employed in a variety of places like golf courses, parks, and businesses ensuring the grounds are healthy, attractive, and functional. Although these workers are most often working outdoors, some jobs are indoors such as those hired by a mall, hotel, botanical garden, and other public and commercial facilities caring for plants and gardens.
Watch a Video to see what a Grounds Maintenance Worker Does:
How to Become a Grounds Maintenance Worker
Some employers want a grounds maintenance worker to have a formal education or certification, especially for jobs related to horticulture, landscape design, or arboriculture. However, most employers do not require a formal education or certification though may require a valid driver’s license. Employers will expect you to able to physically perform the duties of the job, work well with others, and be reliable.
For grounds maintenance workers that must handle pesticides and fertilizers, you must usually get licensed by your state as these are considered hazardous materials. If you are new to this career, you are usually given on-the-job training.
Job Description of a Grounds Maintenance Worker
Grounds maintenance workers typically mow grass, edge, and fertilize lawns. They also weed and mulch landscape beds and plant flowers, shrubs, and trees and may also trim hedges, small trees and shrubs, and would remove damaged, dead, or unwanted trees. In addition to all this, they water gardens, lawns, and landscapes and may maintain or install sprinkler systems. These workers also rake leaves, clear snow from walkways, and upkeep parking lots, fountains, sidewalks, and other grounds keeping equipment, like benches. They can perform duties of landscapers, groundkeepers, greenskeepers, tree/bush trimmers, or even pest control duties. The focus is on keeping buildings, designated areas, parks, and industrial areas clean and safe from clutter, debris, and pests that may be present.
Some workers even maintain cemeteries and memorial gardens and may be required to dig graves using a backhoe. These are just a few of the tasks these workers may be asked to do. Each day could easily bring a new surprise that a grounds maintenance worker must be prepared to handle.
Grounds Maintenance Workers experience job satisfaction seeing the grounds they worked on become beautiful with curb appeal, have the opportunity to work outdoors instead of in an office setting, and are able work independently without anyone looking over their shoulders!
Maintenance Worker Job Posting
Let’s look at a job description posted by the National Park Service. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:
- Assist with repairs that can be accomplished by removing, cleaning, replacing, packing, and sealing defective parts of utility, supply, and disposal systems such as dirty traps, sections of broken pipe, faucets and leaky drains. Measure, cut, bend, and thread pipe and tile, and caulk and seal elbows, union joints, tile pipe, faucets, and shower drains.
- Prepare surface through removal of such things as scale, rust, dirt, and old paint from surfaces so that coating materials will adhere properly.
- Mix, pour, spread, and level cement and concrete surfaces for structures, sidewalks, steps, walls, curbs, ramps, and roads.
- Measure, cut, construct, install and repair wood products where the finished appearance of work products is not the primary consideration.
- Assist in preventive and corrective maintenance on traditional and alternative (e.g. wind, solar, geothermal) heating, refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
- Operate farm-type tractors and towed or attached equipment to maintain grounds, dikes, canals, levees, marshes, fire maintenance/prevention, and road medians or perform farming functions.
- Operate tractors while raising and lowering mowers or other attached equipment.
- Operate and perform operator maintenance on one or more motor vehicles including platform trucks, van trucks, stake trucks, dump trucks, passenger shuttle vans, and cargo vans.
- Repair by replacing, adjusting, or cleaning defective limited external combustion parts or components.
- Keep written maintenance records for all equipment operated. Keeps equipment log books up-to-date at all times.
This position was posted to run until 08/01/2023 with a salary range of $25.51 – $29.76 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Free Teacher and Student Resources
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers a rather large Landscaping and Turf Management Instructor Guide (link opens in a new tab) on their website that educators may find useful in the classroom.
Grounds Maintenance Worker Career Video Transcript
Creating and maintaining outdoor spaces is the work of grounds maintenance workers. Under the direction of a manager, they ensure that both public and private grounds are beautiful and healthy. Landscaping workers are typically employed by homeowners, apartment or office buildings, shopping malls, and hotels… to plant and trim trees, flowers, and other plants. Some maintain permanent fixtures, such as walkways, patios, and decks, or install lighting and sprinkler systems.
Groundskeeping workers keep properties, such as parks and businesses, looking good through every season. In summer, they care for plants, grass, and trees… in fall, they rake and mulch leaves and in winter, they clear snow. They also may maintain parking lots, fountains, swimming pools, and fences. Athletic field groundskeepers keep natural and artificial turf in top condition. They mark out boundaries, and paint turf with team logos and names. At cemeteries, groundskeepers may use a backhoe to dig graves. Greenskeepers maintain golf courses, from intensive turf maintenance, to keeping canopies and tee markers in good repair. Other workers also help keep grounds accessible: pesticide workers apply chemicals to handle weeds, insects, and diseases.
Tree trimmers and pruners work high off the ground to cut away excess branches— keeping roads and sidewalks safe, and clearing utility lines. Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal, although year-round positions may be available. Work is generally outdoors in all weather conditions, and involves frequent bending, kneeling, lifting and shoveling. Grounds maintenance workers typically do not require any formal education and are trained on the job. Workers who apply pesticides or fertilizers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and must obtain a license.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Grounds Maintenance Workers.
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The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.