A Head Gardener will have overall responsibility for overseeing the maintenance, care and management of gardens, parkland and all other outdoor spaces.
They will play an integral role in planting, garden layout/planning, seed cultivation, managing gardening projects and supervising a team of gardeners and labourers.
Each role will of course have its’ own unique requirements and no two jobs will be the same. There are however, a number of typical Head Gardener responsibilities which are key to the role:
Planning and design: A Head Gardener will be involved in the planning and designing phase of the garden/grounds. They will work closely with landscape architects to develop planting schemes, help select appropriate flowers/plants/shrubs/trees and determine the overall layout of the garden. This could also include planning for fruit/vegetable gardens.
- Plant/Vegetable cultivation: The Head Gardener is responsible for overseeing the planting, management and care of everything in the garden/grounds. They will possess a sound knowledge of horticulture and flower/plant/tree species as well as fruit/vegetables and need to ensure that everything is correctly watered, fed and pruned according to growth cycles/seasons to maintain their health and appearance.
- Garden maintenance: The Head Gardener will oversee the regular maintenance of the garden/grounds including tasks such as lawn care, mowing, weeding, deadheading flowers, pruning, trimming, fruit and vegetable picking, clearing and maintaining important irrigation systems. They will devise and manage a schedule and seasonal timetable for garden maintenance tasks and ensure that they are carried out efficiently.
- Soil management: A Head Gardener will be knowledgeable about soil composition and its impact on plant growth. They will periodically test and amend the soil as needed to ensure it is fertile and well-drained, creating an optimal environment for plants to thrive.
- Pest and disease control: The Head Gardener is responsible for identifying and managing pests and diseases that may affect plants/shrubs/trees/veg in the gardens and grounds. They will be knowledgeable about various control methods and may use organic, chemical, or biological solutions to tackle these issues.
- Team management: The Head Gardener will usually supervise a team of gardeners, labourers and other staff members. They will assign and delegate tasks, provide guidance and training and also ensure that the team is working efficiently to meet the garden maintenance requirements and standards.
- Equipment and tool maintenance: The Head Gardener will ensure that all the gardening tools, equipment and machinery are in good working order and are well maintained – essential to providing a safe and efficient working environment.
- Budgeting and procurement: The Head Gardener will be involved in budget planning, estimating costs for seeds/new plants/trees and garden maintenance and procuring the necessary materials and equipment. They will also liaise with suppliers and negotiate contracts to ensure the timely availability of resources.
- Health and Safety compliance: It is the Head Gardener’s job to ensure that all health and safety measures and regulations are followed in the grounds/gardens. They are also responsible for identifying and minimising potential hazards, ensuring the proper use of tools and equipment and providing training to the team members where required.
- Communication with property owners: The Head Gardener will be expected to communicate directly with the property owner(s) to discuss their wishes & preferences, providing regular updates on the garden’s health, recommend improvements and addressing any concerns or issues.
- Visitor engagement: On occasion, a Head Gardener position may involve the Head Gardener interacting with visitors to the garden/grounds, providing information, giving tours and answering questions about the plant/trees/veg and the design of the garden. They could also be required to participate in educational outreach programmes or organise events such as gardening workshops.
Overall, the role of a Head Gardener is multi-faceted, combining practical horticultural skills with managerial and organisational abilities. Also key is the ability and passion for creating a beautiful setting and enhancing all the outdoor spaces to maximise their beauty and functionality.
Guide to Recruiting a Head Gardener /Gardener for A Private Household
Recruiting a Head Gardener /Gardener for a private household requires careful consideration as they will play a crucial role in carrying out your wishes for beautiful and well-maintained gardens/outside spaces.
Our guide to recruiting will help hone your process of identifying the right person for you:
- Determine your needs: Assess your garden’s size, complexity, and specific requirements. Do you have a large garden that needs extensive care? Are you looking for someone with expertise in organic gardening or specific plant types? Understanding your needs will help you find a gardener with the appropriate skills and knowledge.
- Write a detailed job description: Prepare a comprehensive job description outlining the responsibilities, expectations and qualifications required for the role. Include information about the size of the garden, specific tasks involved, desirable skills (such as pruning techniques or plant knowledge), and any other requirements you have.
- Interviewing Candidates: Once we have sent a shortlist of candidates, think of what you will be looking for and what they will be doing: do they demonstrate a passion and interest for gardening, ask about their relevant experience in similar positions and gauge their ability to handle the job requirements.
- Reference Checking: We will have already reference checked all the short-listed candidates, however, we strongly recommend that at the very least, you contact their last referee to satisfy yourself to verify their work history, reliability and performance.
- Discuss Terms and Conditions: Once you have identified the right candidate, discuss the terms and conditions of employment. This includes salary, working hours, benefits (if any) and any specific contractual agreements, such as notice periods or grounds for termination.
It is important to establish and maintain a good working relationship with your Gardener. Open communication will ensure regular feedback on their progress and allows for the opportunity to raise any concerns or suggestions they may have. Building a solid working relationship with your Gardener will make sure that your garden and outdoor spaces are maintained in line with your particular wishes and to a high standard.
Please speak to a member of the Eden Team on 020 7471600 to commence a search for a Gardener or for further advice and information.