Qualification - Advanced Diploma Horticulture - Parks & Recreation

Course CodeVHT009
Fee CodeAD
Duration (approx)2500 hours
QualificationAdvanced Diploma

Learn to Develop and Manage Parks, Gardens and Amenity Landscapes

This course provides a foundation for employment in the following roles: Parks Manager, Head Ranger, Parks Manager, Technical Officer, Park Interpretation Officer, Recreation Facility Manager, Vocational Trainer.

This course provides training for people to work in the management and development of recreation and park facilities and services. It is relevant to all types of situations including municipal parks, national parks, tourist parks, commercial landscapes, resorts, and others.


ACS has outstanding credentials, This is also accredited through the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Advanced Diploma Horticulture - Parks & Recreation.
 Botany I BSC104
 Horticultural Research A BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT234
 Horticultural Management BHT203
 Horticultural Research B BHT241
 Playground Design BHT216
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 13 of the following 18 modules.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT235
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Landscaping II BHT214
 Landscaping III (Landscaping Styles) BHT235
 Nature Park Management II BEN204
 Planning Layout and Construction of Ornamental Gardens BHT242
 Practical Horticulture 1 BHT238
 Project Management BBS201
 Roses BHT231
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Reafforestation) BHT205
 Weed Control BHT209
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
 Water Gardening BHT307

Note that each module in the Qualification - Advanced Diploma Horticulture - Parks & Recreation is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Notes from one of the core units:

The Amenity Horticulture Industry

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.

Arboriculture deals with tree management. Arborists select, plant, maintain and manage trees in private and public landscapes. Their work includes tree pruning, transplanting and removal. They use specialised tree surgery techniques, such as bracing, crown thinning and crown renewal, to ensure public safety and to preserve important trees in the landscape. They are able to evaluate and assess tree health and monetary value, and are often involved in landscape preservation and rehabilitation schemes.

Due to the inherently risky nature of working with large trees, arborists work in teams, comprising climbers and ground staff. Many arborists work as private contractors, while others are employed by government authorities.

 Landscape Industry
The landscaping industry is involved with designing, constructing and maintaining private gardens and commercial landscapes. It utilises many diverse skills, ranging from designing and drafting to construction and installation, and landscape maintenance.  

There are two major divisions in this sector:

  • Hard landscaping or hardscaping – treatment of hard surfaces such as drives, walls, paths. Contractors and employees in this area must be skilled in construction work such as paving, bricklaying and building.
  • Soft landscaping or softscaping – treatment of plants. Those who select, advise and work with plants must have thorough plant knowledge and a sound understanding of horticultural processes. Some also have landscape design skills and construction skills.

Most landscapers work as private contractors. Small firms tend to work in the residential sector, while projects undertaken by larger contractors are generally in the commercial and government sectors. Landscape projects include design and installation of landscapes associated with new housing developments, shopping and office developments, sports and recreation facilities, large-scale engineering projects such as highways and other transport corridors, and hotel and resort constructions.

Parks and Gardens
The parks and garden industry is involved with the maintenance and management of public and private parks, reserves and gardens. Traditionally, the parks and gardens sector has been largely associated with public authorities and institutions responsible for maintaining large tracts of land; for example, council parks departments, regional botanic gardens, cemeteries, historic trusts, prisons and universities.

However, the development of the tourism, leisure and recreation industries over the last couple of decades has provided many other diverse opportunities in the commercial and private sectors; for example, developing and maintaining theme parks, zoos, golf courses, industrial parks, private hospitals and holiday resorts.  Environmental concerns in recent years have lead to many new types of jobs in this sector. Increasingly, ‘environmental horticulturists’ are employed to rehabilitate degraded sites, and to create, preserve and manage ‘natural’ environments. Their work may be associated with mine sites, traffic corridors, national parks, farm and rural planning, urban and rural reserves, and urban forestry schemes.

Since the nursery industry is largely concerned with producing and selling plants for ornamental purposes, this sector is sometimes (but not always) classified as an amenity horticulture industry.

There are two main divisions in this sector: the wholesale nursery industry, which is involved with propagating large numbers of plants for sale to retailers and landscapers; and the retail nursery industry, which is involved with marketing and selling plants and associated horticultural products to the public.The nursery industry is almost exclusively associated with the private sector. Traditionally wholesale nurseries have been small to medium family businesses, located on the outskirts of larger towns and cities. As land prices have increased, many larger production nurseries have moved further a field, relying on transport networks and sophisticated marketing strategies to ship and sell plants both nationally and globally.

Technology has had a significant impact on both the retail and wholesale nurseries, with computerised and automated equipment enabling the mass production of high quality, uniform plants.

Turf Management
The turf industry is a specialised branch of amenity horticulture involved with the management of recreational and commercial turfed areas. There are two main industry groups: turf producers, who grow and sell turf; and turf managers, who design, plant and maintain turfed areas.

Turf management is associated with recreational and sports surfaces such as ovals, golf courses, bowling greens, wicket and pitch preparations, playing fields and racing tracks. Work in the turf industry includes site design and preparation, planting, irrigating, fertilising, mowing, and undertaking other turf maintenance operations.

Interior Landscaping
We usually associate amenity horticulture as an outdoor pursuit, but the interior landscaping industry fills a small but increasingly important niche as we spend longer hours in offices and shopping centres. This industry is mostly concerned with designing, installing and maintaining plant displays in corporate and commercial environments; for example, offices, shopping arcades and malls, resorts and hotels, and private hospitals. Plants may be grown outdoors in courtyards, or indoors in reception areas, conservatories and atriums.

Floriculture is the production of cut flowers, seeds and foliage. Globally it is a very important industry, with many different countries producing and exporting flowers for sale around the world. In Australia, floriculture operations are mostly outdoors, with plants grown as intensive row crops. In cooler regions, in the UK and other parts of Europe, many cut flowers are grown under cover, where growing operations can be closely controlled and, increasingly, automated.

Floriculture operations include site preparation, planting, growing, harvesting, applying post-harvest treatments and marketing. This industry has greatly benefited from advances in plant breeding, improved mechanisation and technology, and more sophisticated marketing and distribution networks.



This course provides a foundation for employment in the following roles: Parks Manager, Head Ranger, Parks Manager, Technical Officer, Park Interpretation Officer, Recreation Facility Manager, Vocational Trainer.



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