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The Work of a Landscape Gardener

Attractively designed, healthy and well-maintained lawns create a positive first impression and also increase property values. Gardeners plant trees, hedges and flowering plants, and may be contracted to care for their upkeep on a regular basis. Landscape gardening involves renovating an old garden for a client or creating an entirely new one. The opportunities for a Landscape Gardener are many and varied. Some find employment with Local Authorities, maintaining parks and playing pitches for the local community. Others work in private gardens, planting, growing and caring for a wide range of trees, shrubs and flowering plants. In recent years, Landscape Contractors have employed Gardeners to implement and maintain landscape schemes on the grounds of both private and commercial properties. Those with an interest in sales will find employment in garden centres.

Educational & Other Requirements

Training is given on the job, often as part of an apprenticeship. However, there are courses available in this area which are essential for career advancement (see below).

Gardeners generally enjoy the outdoor life. An interest in plants and how and where they grow is essential. A flair for design and construction coupled with an interest in machinery is also useful for the aspiring Gardener.


Diploma in Amenity Horticulture

There is a Diploma in Amenity Horticulture available. This is a three-year, non-residential course covering all aspects of amenity horticulture. The course is suitable for people who intend to engage in horticulture on their own account and for those who seek to follow careers in landscape construction and maintenance, garden centres, nurseries, public authority parks, private and public garden estates, the interior plantscape industry and golf course maintenance.

Applicants for the course should have completed the Leaving Certificate or an equivalent course (exceptions may be made in certain instances). All entrants must be at least seventeen years on 1st October in the year of entry.

The programme includes studies on Arboriculture, Design and Landscape Construction, Plant Science, Agrometeorology, among a number of other relevant topics. Practical activities are arranged to complement the classwork. Students are trained in supervisory techniques and become familiar with work practices and the organisation of work through work experience in the Botanic Gardens, the Parks Departments of Dublin County Council and Corporation and the Office of Public Works.

Students are assessed on a continuous basis on theory, practical skills, projects, performance at work, initiative and responsibility. Particular importance is placed on full attendance and punctuality.

The first and third years of the course are conducted at the Botanic Gardens. The second year consists of work experience on amenity horticulture in public parks. Trainees who satisfactorily complete the programme are awarded the Diploma in Amenity Horticulture.

For students participating in the Diploma in Amenity Horticulture course who intend to study afterwards for a qualification in Greenkeeping, there are a limited number of Golf Course placements available in the second year as an alternative to parks placement.

UCD B. Agr. Sc. Degree in Landscape Horticulture

This course provides students with a scientific background on which to build design and management skills. Flexibility in courses and individual and group projects allows undergraduates to concentrate on landscape design, landscape management, landscape science and horticulture.

Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa—Landscape Design and Construction

This one year non-residential course offers continuation training to students who have completed a basic horticultural course or who have acquired appropriate practical experience. Subjects offered provide trainees with knowledge and skills associated with the design, construction and maintenance of quality landscaped areas. Work placement forms an integral part of the training programme. Mature students are welcome to apply.

Employment Prospects

Many jobs for Gardeners tend to be seasonal. However, all year round vacancies do exist. Many Gardeners work for firms who operate real estate, for local government, including park departments and recreational facilities such as golf courses, race tracks and amusement parks. Some are self-employed and work on a contract basis.

Where to go for further information

The Principal, Teagasc,
College of Amenity Horticulture,
National Botanic Gardens,
Glasnevin, Dublin 9.

Admissions Office,
UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Information supplied by FÁS