Study nature & scope of amenity horticulture locally and globally - benefits, influences, best practice, financial management and adapting to industry change.

Course Code: BHT324
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Amenity horticulture plays a vital role in the management of the environment.

As custodians of both natural and developed landscapes, amenity horticulturists will be increasingly responsible for ensuring the Earth's resources are used in a responsible and sustainable manner. From amenity horticulturists who work in backyard gardens to those who contribute to the management of national parks covering thousands of hectares, the trend will be to promote and implement strategies that conserve soil, water, air and biodiversity for the benefit of future generations.


Explain the nature and scope of providing, establishing and managing amenity horticulture sites.

The horticulture industry can be divided into two broad sectors: the production sector, which is largely involved with producing food crops, and the amenity sector, which is involved with growing plants for recreational or ornamental purposes. However, these should not be seen as clear-cut divisions. The boundaries defining the two sectors tend to vary from country to country and between horticultural institutions and employers. For example, some horticulturists might view floriculture enterprises or wholesale nurseries as being in the production sector, while others would classify them as amenity industries.


What is Amenity Horticulture?

Amenity horticulture is sometimes described as 'gardening and landscaping', 'ornamental horticulture' or 'recreational horticulture'. However, as the nature and scope of the horticulture industry has broadened and evolved, these tags, although convenient, do not adequately describe the range of different industries that fall under the umbrella of 'amenity horticulture'.


Major sectors within the amenity horticulture industry typically include the following:

  • Arboriculture
  • Landscape industry
  • Parks and gardens
  • Turf management
  • Nurseries - retail and wholesale
  • Interior landscaping
  • Floriculture


Each sector uses specialised technical skills and management strategies, but they are all underpinned by the basic horticultural skills of soil and water management, plant nutrition, pests and disease management, and plant knowledge.

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of the Amenity Horticulture Industry
    • What is amenity horticulture
    • Arboriculture
    • Landscape industries
    • Parks and gardens
    • Nurseries
    • Turf management
    • Interior plantscaping
    • Floriculture
  2. Global Variations: Nature and Scope of the Amenity Horticulture Industry in Different Countries
    • The changing nature of amenity horticulture
    • PBL project to create and present a plan that identifies and compares global variations in the amenity horticulture industry.
  3. Benefits of Amenity Horticulture
    • Amenity horticulture and society
    • Aesthetic value
    • Health benefits
    • Benefits of gardening
    • Horticultural therapy
    • Kitchen garden programs
    • Community gardens
    • Recreational benefits of public open space
    • Economic benefits
    • Nature based tourism
    • Private land use for recreation
    • Environmental benefits
  4. Amenity Horticulture Management Options
    • Management of amenity sites
    • Management processes: planning, organising controlling, leading, etc
    • The organisational structure
    • Managing natural environments
    • Good and bad management decisions
  5. Influences
    • Legal concerns for amenity horticulture
    • Legal and illegal plants
    • Law and money
    • Land ownership
    • Land planning and planning processes
    • Central place theory
    • Psycho social considerations
    • Environmental concerns
  6. Determining Best Practice
    • Best practice management
    • How is best practice determined
    • Quality systems
    • Managing finance
    • User pays pricing
    • Budgets
    • Managing physical resources
    • Staff management
    • Teams based management
    • Managing workplace safety
    • Risk control
  7. Preparing for the Future
    • Future of Amenity horticulture
    • Ecologically sustainable development
    • PBL project to identify the current impacts on the environment of amenity horticulture operations in your area and suggest ways that ESD will impact on those operations and on the community in the short and long term.


  • Describe the complexity of the amenity horticulture industry
  • Compare the changing complexity of the amenity industry in different countries
  • Discuss the diverse benefits that amenity horticulture offers to society.
  • Explain processes underlying the natural and manmade environments used to manipulate and control amenity sites effectively within economic and environmental parameters.
  • Identify legal, social, economic and environmental conditions that impact on amenity industry.
  • Demonstrate prudent use of financial and physical resources to manage amenity landscapes.
  • Identify and review the changing complexity of the amenity industry.

Amenity Horticulture Keeps Changing

The amenity horticulture industry has evolved immensely over the past hundred years. Whilst some of the job titles remain the same, the nature of the work has changed as new innovations and technologies have been incorporated. For instance, these days, a gardener would be expected to understand how to operate and maintain an irrigation system as they have become commonplace in public and private gardens. Whilst a general understanding of horticultural principles and practices is required for most positions in amenity horticulture, the depth of this knowledge varies with the job role.

Gardeners work in gardens maintaining the landscape undertaking jobs such as: controlling weeds, pests and diseases; pruning, mowing, fertilising, mulching, watering, cleaning sprinkler heads, using machinery, staking, raking or blowing leaf litter, making compost, removing and replacing dead plants, lifting and dividing bulbs, cultivating and aerating soil, and simple handyman jobs such as repairing garden features including paths, fences and walls, or maintaining them through painting, staining, etc. The tasks which a gardener might do can vary greatly from one garden to the next. Tasks can also be seasonal, so the work undertaken can vary from week to week.



  • Reputation:
      -teaching Horticulture since 1979
      -exceptional faculty staff (see below)
  • Hands on: develop practical as well as theoretical skills
  • Uniqueness:
      -successful people are always those who can offer a skill or service that others can't
      -this course is different; our graduates have different skills to set them apart.
  • Relevance -curriculum developed in response to industry needs
  • Lots of help: personal, prompt attention from tutors
  • Holistic Courses: We teach more than just "facts"
      -success is only 20% about intelligence (and what you know)
      -you also need to build networking, problem solving & communication skills, and more!
      -this course helps you develop all of these things and more
  • Value: courses compare very favorably on a cost per study hour basis
  • Up to date: courses under constant review
  • Student amenities: This school is backed by over one of the most unique and comprehensive private collections of intellectual property in the horticultural industry. The principal and staff have written and published over 50 books and 150 gardening magazines, as well as 20,000 hours horticultural study programs. A team of 5 horticultural writers continue to develop and update new material continually. These resources together with web sites, an online student room, social media etc. provide a unique and comprehensive facility to support students studying with the school.

These are just some of the people involved with developing and updating courses; and tutoring our horticulture students

John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc.
40 years + in horticulture Graduated from Burnley Horticultural College in 1971,Nurseryman, Landscape Designer and Parks Director through the 1970's. One of Australia's most published garden writers, author of books published by Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, CSIRO and other major publishers; Editor for 4 different national gardening magazines; honored as a fellow of both the Institute of Horticulture in Australia and the Institute of Horticulture in the UK.

Gavin Cole B.Sc., M.Psych.
30 years + in horticulture. Renowned horticulturist and psychologist. Former operations manager for the highly regarded "Chelsea Gardener" landscape firm in London, garden writer and landscaper in both Brisbane and Adelaide in Australia.

Maggi Brown
40 years + in horticulture. Former education manager for "Garden Organic"; England's peak organic gardening and farming body.

Dr Lyn Morgan Phd
25 years + in horticulture. New Zealand based hydroponic consultant and author, with experience working everywhere from Asia to America.

Rosemary Davies Dip.Hort.Sc.
30 years + in horticulture; including Victorian Department of Agriculture Gradening Advisor, Gardening Editor/writer/author for major publishers and newspapers.

Diana Cole  B,A., RHS Dip Hort, NTEC Higher Dip in Garden Design
15 years + in horticulture and landscaping

Adriana Fraser Adv.Dip.Hort.
30 years + in horticulture. Consultant, teacher, garden write, manager of plant collections

Bob James B.App.Sc(Hort), M. Env.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt., PDC, Dip.An.Husb.

Yvonne Sharpe  Dip.Hort., M.Hort.

Martin Powdrill  B.Sc(Hons), M.Sc. PDC

Marie Beerman  B.Sc., M.Hort. 


ACS operates a student bookshop that supplies a range of horticulture texts to supplement our courses.
Many are written by the principal (well known gardening author John Mason), or other staff. All have been reviewed and approved by our academic experts (to be accurate and relevant to students studying our horticulture courses).
  • Student discounts are available to anyone studying with ACS Distance Education.
  • Both printed books and ebooks (as downloads) available

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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