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JOB Ref: EC7957

Head Gardener – This position has now been filled

An excellent opportunity has arisen for a knowledgeable and experienced Garden/Grounds Manager to take the lead on a prestigious site near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. This role would suit a diplomatic, presentable and well-rounded Head Gardener with a desire to utilise their skills and develop a respected site on a permanent basis.

The property covers approximately 100-acres and comprises expansive areas of lawn and woodland with sports fields and ornamental areas. The gardens include mixed beds/borders with herbaceous and perennial planting, climbing plants, shrubs, young and mature trees, a green roof, wildflowers, a small orchard, a pond and various sports fields. The property is located rurally and is surrounded by fields and paddocks; managed by local farmers.

The successful applicant will manage and work alongside another two other gardeners in working towards objectives for the extensive site, including the pond, sports lawns and wildflower meadow, as well as general maintenance and development of the property.

Applicants will ideally hold an academic horticultural qualification with demonstrable experience of managing large gardens or grounds, and of managing gardeners directly. Candidates must be confident in their plant knowledge and in their use (and basic maintenance) of garden machinery, must have good physical fitness and have an ability to work to a high standard at all times. Suitable applicants will be well-versed in working to established health and safety standards within the industry and will be able to ensure gardeners under their management comply to the same standards. Though chemical use is kept to a minimum, the garden areas of the estate are not managed organically and as such, chemical spray certificates are desirable but not essential as training can be provided. A full driving licence and your own transport are required for this role.

The successful applicant will be responsible for lawn care (mowing, edging, feeding, scarifying, aerating, watering and weeding), planting and pruning, maintenance of the flowerbeds and wildflower meadow, basic maintenance of all garden equipment, plant pest and disease management where necessary, management of the irrigation system and will be expected to contribute significantly to the development and ongoing improvement of the garden aesthetics, as well as efficiency in garden management overall.

As Head Gardener, the main responsibilities of this role are to map out a plan of action and a garden management plan of how to best manage the gardens in the short, medium and long term. Applicants should possess excellent management skills as the responsibility for developing a small team will play a key part of the role.

Summary of Responsibilities:

  • Lead and manage a team of two experienced grounds staff.
  • Deliver practical and flexible planning in both daily and seasonal work.
  • Manage the garden budget and deliver cost-effective solutions.
  • Maintain sports surfaces in accordance with relevant best practice.
  • Ensure an exceptional standard of presentation of formal and informal lawns and gardens.
  • Be responsible for the safe operation of all equipment and vehicles.
  • Maintain the safe and tidy preparation of all playing surfaces, roads and car park areas.
  • Responsible for keeping the site free from litter.
  • Management of waste/green waste areas and liaison with refuse collectors (garden equipment used for transport of waste etc.).
  • Flexible approach to working practices which will include some weekends (approximately 4 weekend days per year).

Detailed Duties:

  • General horticulture; planting, watering, weeding, irrigation, pruning and small tree work, topiary and small box hedging, leaf clearance and border work across the site.
  • Maintaining the lawns, playing fields and hard-court areas to a high standard, ensuring they are safe and fit for purpose. This will involve top dressing, weed control and other such duties.
  • Ensure that at all times the presentation of the borders, shrubs, hedges and flowerbeds is of the highest order, paying particular attention during the time leading up to high profile events.
  • Arrange the marking out of pitches for various sporting events.
  • Maintaining the environmental area to a safe and healthy condition using a variety of horticultural techniques and specialised equipment.
  • Carry out basic maintenance and first-line repairs of the mechanical equipment, ensuring that all grounds equipment is maintained to a safe and serviceable condition and workshop facilities are kept clean and tidy.
  • Assist with traffic management and parking for major events at the site; cover traffic duties when required, on an infrequent basis, i.e. when security staff are off.
  • Manage the annual woodland plan and ensure associated areas are safe.
  • Liaise with and monitor contractors as required.
  • Ensure the safe use, storage, calibration and disposal of pesticides, herbicides, fuel, oils and other similar substances including regular review of risk assessments and COSHH data.
  • Ensure work areas are kept clean, safe and tidy and that grounds buildings are kept secure at all times.
  • Maintain effective working relationships with managers, colleagues and teaching staff.
  • Carry out any other duties within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as required by the Estates and Operations Manager.

Person Specification:

Excellent communication skills are needed as the Head Gardener will be required to deal with a varied group of people, of all ages.

  • The Head Gardener must possess enthusiasm and commitment to horticulture as a career and be able to demonstrate this via their work and education history.
  • The successful applicant must enjoy working as part of a team, be able to use initiative and a have a flexible approach.
  • This is a physically demanding role, so applicants must be willing and able to be involved in the maintenance and development of the grounds, outdoor facilities, gardens and landscaping with this in mind.
  • The successful candidate should be able to evidence their reliability and be amenable to some flexibility in working hours according to the needs of the seasonal workloads.
  • Punctuality is an important part of the function of the grounds department as well as a methodical approach to day to day work and the ability to prioritise workloads.
  • The post holder will be a responsive and willing individual, with good communication skills as an essential part of the busy and capable team.
  • The successful candidate will be courteous and helpful to all others on site at all times.

Desirable Skills and Certificates:

  • NPTC Pesticides PA1,2 & 6 Spraying Licence.
  • NVQ Level 3 Qualification Amenity Horticulture and Sports Turf Management or IOG National Diploma Level 3 in Turf Management or BTEC/HND/HNC in Turf Management or equivalent.
  • Registered member of IOG (Institute of Groundsmanship).
  • Training and certification in Health & Safety, COSHH, Manual Handling, Risk Assessment and First Aid.
  • Training and certification in forestry/arboriculture and/or use of chainsaws.
  • Training and certification for all types of grounds machinery use.

Principal Terms of Service:

  • 40 hours/week.
  • Flexible planned daily hours to support the needs of the site during operational times.
  • 5 weeks annual holiday; 25-days plus Bank Holidays
  • Contributory pension scheme available.
  • Lunch and refreshments provided.
  • Uniform supplied.

SALARY:       £35,000 DOE

LOCATION:  Buckinghamshire

JOB No:          EC7957

If this Head Gardener vacancy is of interest, please apply or contact Mark Read on 01233 733510 or

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Thank you for the interest you have shown in this Head Gardener vacancy.  Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications that we receive, it is not possible to respond to every one.  Therefore, unless you hear from us within the next 14 days, your application for this Head Gardener vacancy will have been unsuccessful.

Tagged as: head gardener, Live Out

Recruitment Specialist Mark Read