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Start Your Garden Advisory Business

Start Your Garden Advisory Business and Travel the ‘Yellow Brick Road’

Garden specialists are in more demand these days as busy people outsource the design, implementation and care of their gardens. Garden design is the dream job for a lot of passionate horticulturists; it can be hard though to start out as a new designer - there is also a lot more competition out there. However there is also an emerging, trend in the business of garden care and design: the garden specialist as mentor and advisor. Most people love gardens but few know how to design them, implement them and look after them. This applies to new or old gardens – it can be just as overwhelming to buy a house and ‘inherit’ a garden and then realise that you have no idea on how to care for garden you fell in love with.

The Garden Advisor works with their clients on a prescriptive rather than proscriptive level; they collaborate with the client on a much more hands-on and personal level than generally a garden designer would. Not everyone can afford to pay thousands for a proscriptive garden design and then once the design is implemented then not know how to look after this space. The rising trend is for the garden advisor/designer to charge a set rate for garden advice – beyond just the design aspects. This set rate would have a time limit e.g. x amount of hours for x amount of dollars and can be tailored to the client’s needs - for example:

  • Advice on how to rejuvenate and old garden and how to tackle its ongoing care.
  • Advise on the most appropriate type of new garden for that area, the plot and the house. How to identify and treat sick or ailing plants.
  • How to build-up and care for the soil.
  • How to make sure that the plants growing in that garden or that the client wants to grow are right for the soil conditions.
  • How to group plants for water needs.
  • How to establish a food garden.
  • Advice on garden design and appropriate planting schemes.

During an advisory session the client may take notes, or the advisor may send through a list of notes later – at an extra cost to the client. Another approach is for the garden advisor to spend a day or half day with their client to physically demonstrate a range of gardening techniques and jobs appropriate to that garden: how to manage their garden from planting, pruning through to pest management. This can also create ongoing work where the advisor may be called in from time to time to help the client look at problems, that they can’t manage themselves without specialist knowledge.

This approach is educational for the client and interesting and inspiring for the designer. A garden designer does not have to limit their business to just giving off-the-cuff advice.

A range of other services could add to your business opportunities there are ways to offer add-on products to boost your income. 

Owning their first garden is when a lot of people get the ‘gardening bug’ (no pun intended). However most people lack the confidence or knowledge to care for their gardens – some may not want to employ gardeners or have advisors return month after month when they run into problems. This is where you as the advisor can extend your income – one possibility is to offer your clients online courses. Most people though, don’t want to take on years and years of study in order to be confident enough to manage their own gardens. In this age of digital learning, with all sorts of courses on offer – long commitment isn’t necessary. And you, as the business owner, may not need too much input either. There are digital learning programs available now that are fully automated – they include informative content, ranges of tasks the learner can engage in to extend their learning, self-assessment tests throughout, a longer test at the end to gauge the learner’s knowledge retention which when passed will automatically award them with a ‘certificate of completion’ they can print out themselves. These courses are a product, just like any other gardening product from garden gloves, to garden implements garden ornaments, and even ebooks and they could add to your profits.  Some course providers offer affiliations – a banner to add to your business and improve success.

Take a look at how we at ACS, specialists in digital learning, can help you on your own journey down the yellow brick road at a low cost input – speak with our staff and explore the possibilities! For more information email

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