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5 Signs You Should Start Garden Coaching [2023]

Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

One of my favorite parts about today's economy is that you can make money following just about any interest or passion that can think of. The path to earning an income may not always be obvious, but it is definitely there.

Take gardening for example. Hundreds of thousands of Americans find peace and comfort from creating, building, and maintaining their gardens. But I bet you didn't know there were actually gardening coaches out there to help others create these beautiful spaces in their own yards.

It is something that I've put a lot of thought into. In fact, if I could pick any other career, it may be working as a garden coach.

Here is how to become a garden coach, as well as ten telltale signs it is the side hustle you're looking for.

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What is a garden coach?

A garden coach is a professional that specializes in guiding, instructing, and supporting others in their journeys to build or maintain beautiful gardens in their own yards.

Coaches oftentimes help clients work on their gardening skills, provide support on projects, and help clients achieve their goals.

What do garden coaches do?

I like to think of garden coaches as part landscape architect, part educator, and part consultant.

They may help clients to design their own beautiful spaces that they will enjoy for years to come, while at the same time helping educate them on what is needed to be successful.

But more often, garden coaches:

  • Educate and consult with clients on plants and best practices

  • Solve for problems involving pests, diseases, or other challenges

  • Create customized schedules and guides to fertilizing, watering, and soil preparation

Let's take a simple backyard shade garden as an example. A garden coach may work with a client to design a space that works for them, but may also educate the client on what plants, trees, or shrubs typically thrive in spaces like the one they are interested in building.

What don't garden coaches do?

Most garden coaches do not actually perform manual labor to transform spaces. Rather, they more oftentimes take on a consulting and support role if their services are utilized past the theoretical and educational phase of planning a new space!

Garden coaches also tend to stay away from:

  • Large scale renovations

  • Construction or hardscaping projects

  • Simple maintenance

  • Handling legal or regulatory questions about what may/may not be allowed in a certain area

Start a garden coaching business

Getting your garden coaching business off the ground can be surprisingly easy to pull off. I recommend that you get started by following these six steps:

  1. Conduct market research

  2. Write a business plan

  3. Register your business and complete legal requirements

  4. Set up financial systems

  5. Market your coaching

  6. Sign and impress clients

1. Conduct market research

Before you start signing clients to coach, it is a good idea to do some market research to see what people in your area need garden help with.

Ideally, you'll want to find a population representative of the one you hope to work with, and then ask them insightful questions. You'll want to cover background information, as well as ask about target customer needs, expectations, and preferences.

For instance, a sampling of useful questions may look like this:

  • How long have you been gardening?

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your experience?

  • Do you prefer one-on-one or group coaching?

  • Are you interested in topics like garden design, plant care, best practices, or something else altogether?

  • Would you ever work with a professional like me to get the help you need?

  • What qualities/expertise would be the most valuable for me to have?

  • What types of services would you expect to receive in this arrangement?

  • How much would you pay if I could solve these problems for/with you?

These questions are just a starting point, but they can get at the heart of helping you decide how to structure your services.

Ultimately, I recommend connecting with 10-20 people in total from a couple different sources, including in-person and virtually. Social media can be a great place to find people to interview.

2. Write a business plan

With your market research complete, you should spend some time writing a business plan to outline your coaching goals and objectives.

Your business plan can be a living and breathing document to a certain extent, but you will want to clearly outline the following as a starting point:

  • Your target customer

  • The exact services you plan to provide, including any supplemental DIY guides, checklists, or coaching worksheets

  • Your pricing

  • Your marketing strategy

  • 3-year future financial projection

  • Your "secret sauce" and what makes your coaching different

Most importantly, you always want to follow your market research. Let me run through an example. For instance, you may focus on teaching those in your area to build eco-friendly shade gardens that utilize native perennials.

But even here, you'll want to get more specific. Are you offering one-off consultations, an online-course, or a live coaching period over a period of time?

This is just one niche example, but you get the idea.

3. Register your business

With a coaching practice name and business plan written, I recommend that you register your business with your state and city/town/county (if required). As a garden coach, you'll have a number of options available to you, including:

  • Sole proprietorship

  • Partnership

  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

LLCs are probably the most popular option out there, since they're really easy (and cheap) to establish and they protect your personal assets in the event of bankruptcy or lawsuit.

Registering as a business may not be required for smaller side hustles, but it is definitely an option worth considering if you're looking to work on a full-time basis.

Consulting with an attorney is always a good idea if you're unsure what the best option for you is.

4. Set up your financial systems

I recommend that you spend a little bit of time setting up your financial systems and automating any administrative tasks that you can. You'll want to:

  • Open a business bank account

  • Begin keeping track of income and expenses

  • Build a way to accept payments

Open a business bank account

There are plenty of banks out there offering business accounts, but I recommend that you look for fee-free banks in particular. Fee-free banks tend to be online only, rather than having any sort of brick-and-mortar presence.

I use Bluevine for my business banking needs and have been impressed with the experience overall.

Track income and expenses

Remember to keep receipts and keep track of all of your business-related expenses, as you may be able to deduct them come tax time.

Initially, you can probably get away with doing this in an Excel spreadsheet, at least until you start to scale, and you sign more garden clients.

After this, you'll want to consider some software solutions, like QuickBooks or other similar services.

Accept payments

Most of your coaching clients are likely to pay via credit or debit card. If that is the case, you'll need a way to accept these payments.

Similar to your bank account, you'll want to use a service with the lowest fees possible.

Currently, I use Stripe, which costs 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

You may also want to explore PayPal and others, though when I checked, Stripe was among the most affordable options.

5. Market your garden coaching

Luckily, in an aesthetic focused niche like gardening, your marketing efforts will be easier than in many other coaching niches. Here are some marketing strategies to help you get started.

Build a website

Professional websites that focus on the before and after of spaces your coaching helped to design are the type of social proof that your business needs to grow.

Focus on practicing good search engine optimization (SEO) and be sure to also include clear information about your services, along with client testimonials and your contact information.

Try content marketing

One of the best ways to help your website grow is to try your hand at content marketing. Since you've begun to build a website, blogging is the most natural fit to start with, though you may also opt for video creation too.

No matter the ultimate route you pick, your content marketing should contain gardening focused how-to guides, DIY guides, and other helpful tips.

Create social media profiles

Social media profiles will be another fruitful way for you to find target clients, whether they're in your area or not.

If you're looking in your area, Facebook can be a great resource in particular because of its Groups functionality. Otherwise, Instagram and TikTok are excellent options too.

Regardless of which platforms you decide to focus your efforts on, the principles remain the same. You'll need to create aesthetically pleasing content that showcases your gardening expertise, offers viewers value, and convinces them on the importance of working with you.

Build relationships with nurseries

Another strategy that I've spent more time thinking about lately is building relationships with nurseries and garden centers in your area and asking them to funnel leads your way.

There does have to be something in it for the nurseries, so you'll want to think through what this would look like. A couple ideas are models where:

  • You pay the nursery per lead

  • You recommend the nursery to your clients for them to buy their plants

Something to think about for sure.


Other ways to market your garden consulting business include:

  • Networking at events, workshops, and other events in your area

  • Offer virtual or in-person workshops that demonstrate your gardening expertise.

  • Create a Google My Business profile to be listed on the directory.

  • Build partnerships with organizations and HOAs to offer services to their members.

6. Sign and impress clients

With your marketing efforts underway, you'll soon be attracting clients. After you've answered any questions that your prospects have, you'll gain commitment.

Once you've got a client, it is critical that you do anything you can to impress him/her.

Doing so will empower you to ask for a testimonial at the end, which will provide you the additional social proof that you'll need to continue growing your business.

5 signs you should be a garden coach

Like many other side gigs, garden coaching can be an excellent way to make money for those that are passionate about gardening and transformative landscaping projects.

Here are ten telltale signs that garden coaching may be the perfect side hustle or full-time job for you:

  • You enjoy coaching and teaching others: If you like being able to teach others and share knowledge about things that you're passionate about, then coaching is perfect for you!

  • You're flexible and adaptable: There will be times when you'll need to adapt your recommendations to accommodate client preferences, like different gardening styles, preferences, or challenges that any garden site may pose.

  • You have a strong plant knowledge: People are paying you for your expertise, so you'll want to have a strong working knowledge of plants, soils, mulches, and gardening techniques in your area.

  • You're a good listener: As a coach, one of the best lessons you'll learn is that listening is sometimes as important as what you say.

  • You're patient and empathetic: Some of your clients will come to you because they're upset and not making the progress that they want to see. If you can understand this, show patience, and empathize with their struggles to this point, you're already one step ahead.


Starting a garden coaching business is a great way to work on your own and maybe even become a full-time entrepreneur.

Is it a side venture that you'd consider? Tell me why or why not in the comments below.

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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