Amenity Horticulture II

Course CodeBHT235
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to manage parks, gardens, commercial and public landscapes.

Amenity Horticulture has a significant impact upon the local communities; and communities have an impact upon the landscape in which they live and work.
This course is relevant to:
  • People who create and manage commercial and public landscapes (parks managers, landscapers, planners, engineers)
  • Individuals and communities who are impacted by such landscapes (families who use parks; people who walk through streetscapes; anyone who works in an office, shopping precinct or factory complex surrounded by a commercial landscape)
  • Politicians, community groups or anyone else who is concerned with local environments.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Adapting Amenity Horticulture to Changing Needs
    • What is an amenity horticulture site
    • Challenges of amenity horticulture: political, social, economic, environmental
    • Management of Amenity horticulture sites
    • Defining a mission, vision, goals and activities planning
    • Ensuring that the above are reached or planned within a specified timeframe
    • Managing budgets
    • Managing human resources
    • Managing material resources
    • Managing natural resources
    • Management options
    • Amenity sites; horticultural displays
    • Management framework
    • Types of organisational structures
    • Chains of command
  2. Macro Panning for Amenity Land Provision
    • Macro planning introduction
    • What to plan for
    • Principles of neighbourhood planning
    • What is a community
    • Principles of leisure facility planning, including sports grounds
  3. Resources and Information
    • Information sources
    • PBL project to create and present a report that identifies, describes and uses up-to-date information sources relating to changing influences on the amenity industry
  4. Social, Cultural and Environmental Impacts
    • Introduction
    • Comparing positive and negative aspects of different factors
    • Examples of environmentally driven management decisions
    • Cultural, social and environmental issues
  5. Economic Impacts
    • Financing amenity horticulture sites
    • What are we funding
    • Funding sources
    • Funding amounts
    • Human resource management
    • Volunteer management
    • Material resources management
  6. Community Involvement
    • Amenity horticulture and the community
    • Where might you find community participation
    • Community needs or wants: not always the same
    • What motivates community involvement
    • Community participation to develop parks and playgrounds
  7. Developing a Management Plan
    • PBL project to create and present a management plan for an amenity horticulture site.
    • Components of a management plan
    • What to do to make those plans come true
    • Staff morale and enthusiasm
    • Involving the community so that they take responsibility
    • Solving the budget problem without cutting on services

Amenity horticulture may be managed by either public or private enterprises. Organisations can either be small or large. The way an organisation is structured is critical to efficient management. They might be highly pyramidal, with managers, department managers, area managers, one or two levels more, and general staff, or they may show a three level structure with a manager, area managers and staff.

In recent times organisations have tended to simplify their structures, producing flatter profiles, with the aim to save on high cost managerial positions. Pyramidal structures are more common in big companies. Flatter structures are used in smaller companies, family companies and in some state financed organisations (research organisations, for instance). In the latter, medium-sized organisations may work in teams whose members are organised by projects instead or departments.
This type of organisation provides maximum flexibility and efficiency as individual workers can contribute with their skills to different teams that only exist when a project is being developed. In some cases team members are not even permanent employees, but are external consultants hired only when there are projects available.

Small- or medium-sized organisations may work under some degree of direction from a client, or from senior management.

Regardless of the size, nature or complexity of the management structure, it is critical that there is clear communication and understanding between the different levels at all times. Organisations, whether simple or complex, will only function well when work roles are clearly defined and responsibilities are assigned and delineated in a very precise way. If everyone knows exactly what is expected of them, then managers only need to convey instructions within the established framework, and then monitor and control the work as it proceeds.

Natural Environments

Natural environments are often delicately balanced ecosystems. In any stable environment (e.g. natural forests, well-established roadside verges and undisturbed banks of water courses) there is a complex web of interdependent relationships existing between the soil, the plants, the animals and the microclimate. When any one thing is changed, there can be a risk of upsetting this intricate interaction between those many components. For example, if one type of plant is removed, you may be removing the food source for a particular insect, which in turn might be important to the pollination and seed production of another plant growing on that site. Removing one thing often creates a cascade effect which destabilises and irrevocably changes the ecosystem. Managing natural environments can be more complex than what may initially seem to be the case. This does not mean though that nothing should be done.

Some changes to natural environment are intentional, but many are not. Often natural environments will be threatened by changes from the outside. Weeds or animals invading an area can destabilise the natural balance; climate change or abnormal events (e.g. a prolonged drought or freak storm) can make an otherwise stable area more susceptible to invasion and permanent alteration. The manager may need to nurture and protect natural areas in such situations until a natural balance can again be restored.

Natural ecosystems continue to evolve all the time. They are in what ecologically is called “dynamic balance”, where balance doesn’t mean that the system is static, but that it changes, maintaining healthy relationships between the components of the ecosystem. Healthy natural environments are those where species are maintained over time, or if they change and numbers dwindle for one species in particular, it is due to the establishment of more relationships with more species within the environment. This happens in “mature” (climax) environments.

Managing natural environments therefore must allow for species to be able to evolve within healthy limits. The growth of alien species is not a healthy change, but the change in dominance of native species over time is. Managing a natural environment then doesn’t mean to keep it static and unchanged, but more to allow the natural evolution of the native species that define that ecosystem.

Good Management Decisions

In today’s world, management has to take into account many more factors than solely managing finances and personnel. Companies and public institutions must also ensure legal, social and environmental standards are implemented; increasingly this involves complying with quality and sustainability standards.

Organising workplace priorities concerning environmental, social and quality standards involves using cleaner production systems and following eco-efficiency and/or sustainability principles.

By eco-efficiency we mean managing workplace activities in a way that maintains or improves the environment, or at least doesn’t damage it. That means:

  • using resources wisely and minimising the use of non-natural substances so that  pollution and health-related issues are reduced, therefore benefiting workers and community health
  • enhancing the conservation of habitats and species
  • preserving genetic and species diversity
  • implementing social and community programs to benefit the community 

When priorities are organised this way, and eco-efficiency principles applied, there may also be financial gains as resources are much better used, while at the same time wastage is reduced. Also, by taking care of workers and community health, by avoiding pollution and workplace accidents, significant savings can be gained in insurances and damage compensation. Another benefit to companies is the enhancement of their public image through implementing socially and environmentally sustainable practices.

Good managers plan. In fact, managing is about thinking. Thinking about the best way to do what needs to be done to accomplish the planned goals. It is also about making things happen in the best way possible with the resources, time, people and skills available.

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