Celebrating Women In Landscaping

March 8th is international women’s day, and in honor of this annual observance, we’re taking a moment to appreciate and discuss the roles of women in landscaping. TDL’s team spans all landscape specialisations, providing commercial and residential design, construction, and maintenance. Women continue to represent a deeply skewed minority in the construction industry, representing only 10-15% of the workforce, this minority especially noticeable in ‘front-line’ roles. Beyond the ethical considerations of striving for diversity, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that gender-diverse businesses, especially at leadership levels, perform better than their counterparts. Not only this, but more inclusivity on the front line of the industry can improve the performance, happiness, and overall mental health of the workforce.

Unfortunately, there are a number of barriers to entry for women in our industry. These barriers don’t all have simple solutions. In taking steps to improve women’s representation, and increase their involvement across all spheres of our business, we’re also taking stock of our performance so far, and investigating the qualitative experiences of women in our business and industry overall.

Our Performance

At TDL, at the time of writing this, approximately 24% of our staff overall are women. Among our departments, women represent the smallest proportion of staff in maintenance and construction. Our largest departments in staff numbers, around 9% of TDL’s maintenance staff, and 24% of TDL’s construction staff are women. TDL’s design department is the most equal in gender representation, where an even 50% of the team are women. 40% of our senior management team are women, and in business support (admin, accounts, human resources, and marketing) 87% of the team are women.  To expand on our understanding of how we could benefit from greater diversity, we spoke to some of the outstanding women who are already with us about what they like about working in landscaping, what barriers to entry or difficulties they’ve faced in their careers, and how they think we can attract and retain more women to the front lines of landscaping. Here’s what our team had to say:


Landscape Architect Martine Holland

Martine Holland – Residential Landscape Architect 

Martine is a long-time team member, having just had her 17th anniversary at TDL. Martine’s experience, and her empathetic, practical approach to landscape design make her an extremely valuable member of the residential design team. Martine approaches her projects like she’s solving a puzzle, reliably producing landscapes that expertly balance the wishes of clients with their budgets, lifestyles, and their unique blocks. Martine told us how she came to Landscaping, what keeps her passionate about her work, and her advice for women joining the workforce now.


Q: Why did you choose to do what you do as a career?

MH: “When I finished school the top of my career selection criteria was ‘connection to nature’ and ‘creative’.  After a false start in Forestry I was lucky to fall into Landscape Architecture which better matched my criteria.  It is the perfect balance between aesthetics and function, and of course, involves the outdoors.  Over the years, working in different areas of landscape design, I have found my niche and passion in residential garden design.”

Q: What do you like about what you do?

MH: “Gardens connect us to nature.  I feel that the spaces I create can make a huge difference in people’s lives’ and ultimately their wellbeing. Constantly challenged. Every project brings a different set of variables and an opportunity to learn. Design is a puzzle to be solved. I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of the job.  I love compiling a comprehensive list of all the elements that need to be considered, then with this list, come up with a creative solution that meets all the functional needs but still looks beautiful.  Something the client might never have imagined.  My job is most rewarding when the solution falls into place and the client loves it.”

Q: What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

MH: “You are the master of your own destiny. Don’t make decisions based on what other people think or have done, or to please others.  Be true to yourself.”

Q: What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

MH: “A large percentage of your life will most likely be spent at work. Follow a path by choosing something you feel passionate about, that energises and resonates with you.  It is ok to make mistakes.  Mistakes really are opportunities to help discover where you need to go and how you can improve.”


Plant Procurement Marsha Wulf

Marsha Wulf – Plant Procurement & Nursey Management

Marsha is our plant procurement officer, with a Cert III in horticulture and a background in nursery work, she manages our green stock and nursery, and she’s also a big part of the heart and soul of the workplace. Marsha regularly initiates and runs charity collections for the Perth Homeless Support Group and WA pet project, and last year was nominated for a NAWIC award for Social Responsibility. Marsha is a member of our construction department, she told us about how she got into Horticulture, her experiences as a woman in the industry, and why she loves doing what she does.


Q: Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

MW: “Having an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and actively call out gender discrimination! What’s not to important about that J I know this campaign has been around for many years, and has come a long way, but there is still a lot of general bias in the workplace (especially in the pay packet) and in the communities. I hear about it all the time. Try to imagine a gender equal world, a time when we are all celebrated. I think it’s very important to fight for this, especially for future generations.”

Q: Why did you choose to do what you do as a career?

MW: “Horticulture has always been in my blood and although I was late to start, I have never regretted a moment. Yes there have been tough times in the past, where I have had to stand up for myself and feel I’ve had to prove myself in a male dominated trade, but I love it. and I will not let anyone try to sway me or tell me im not ‘good enough’ to do this.”

Q: What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

MW: “The year was 1991, and I was in grade 10 at school. I lived in a small mining town in the Northern territory. A group of us girls were asked if we were interested in a ‘Tradeswomen on the move” program. Of course we were. I think there were 6 of us that got put on a plane and sent to Darwin for this. We did a one week automotive mechanics course where we took an engine apart and put it back together and it was the best fun! It was then that my eyes were opened to women in trades. Of  course, I knew of no women currently doing any trades at the local mine sites but you know.. the seed was planted. And I am grateful for that because I learnt that its OK to do that if I wanted to. There was no discrimination, no funny looks or being spoken down to – all of which I have dealt with later on down the track.

The message is.. don’t let anyone stop you. If a trade is what you want to do then know its OK to want that.

Even though there will always be the ones that won’t support you and judge you on your gender, you are just as good and just as able to do the job.”

Q: Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

MW: “I have many inspiration women around me. They are successful in their own business or in their chosen field and amaze me daily

If we are talking ‘famous’ ladies… I would have to say Sabrina Hahn. She is seriously amazing! She is a master gardener and I aspire to have half of her knowledge one day.”

Q: What do you like about what you do?

MW: “For me, it’s therapy. Spending time in nature and learning about how things grow, it all blows my mind. Work wise yes it can be stressful at time, but finding the best plants and watching them thrive is great encouragement and inspirational.

Seeing the designs come in on a piece of paper and then seeing the end result is so fulfilling. Encouraging and educating others to love plants and trees and create greener spaces for the future is important.”


Landscape Architect Qian Yap

Qian Yap – Commercial Landscape Architect

Qian is a passionate, ambitious landscape architect. Having completed her Master’s degree just a few years ago, she’s quickly established herself as an asset to the commercial design team. Qian is currently engaged in a number of exciting commercial projects, including the Shire of Chittering’s Bindoon Mountain Bike Adventure Park. She is an adventurous self-starter, constantly and effortlessly finding new things to do and feathers to add to her cap. Qian is an invigorating and optimistic presence in the design department, and she gave us some insight into why she loves landscape architecture, and why she believes women are of such value to the industry.

Q: Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

QY: “To celebrate us being fabulous and tough at the same time!”

Q: Why did you choose to do what you do as a career?

QY: “My dad was a great influence on me being of strong environmental consciousness and like him, I have always been curious about how things work and are built. Landscape architecture happens to be the best combination of everything that I’m enthusiastic about.”

 Q: What do you like about what you do?

QY: “I like being able to be part of the environment’s stewardship, and to think ahead for the environment and people. I also love seeing projects come to reality, getting positive outcomes is just the best feeling.”

 Q: Why is it important more women take up your field in the near future?

QY: “I think being a woman represents being resilient, and resilience is a critical aspect of our landscape and environment. Somehow our work also represents ourselves, and being women, we are adaptable and able to work out the best solutions in a challenging environment.”

Q: What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

QY: “Be humble, learn from anyone, and always bring a pair of steel caps with you so you don’t look funny in heels!”

Q: What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

QY: “Keep an open mind to everything around you, anything is possible.”

We’d like to extend a special thanks to the women who took time out of their busy days to take part in this exercise, and to those who joined us for our International Women’s Day afternoon tea, engaging in an open discussion about the valuable contributions of women to the built and cultivated environment.


Considering a career in Landscaping?

We want to help you on your way! TDL provides opportunities for flexible work, and on-the-job training. We’re always on the lookout for fresh talent and keen gardeners. Contact us today to explore opportunities in Landscaping.