Career profile - Landscape projects manager

Juggling many balls, a landscape contracts/projects manager is in charge of every aspect of a company's projects to ensure that they run smoothly.

This includes overseeing hard and soft landscaping elements of sites as well as the projects' design and health and safety requirements. The size of the company dictates the type (domestic/commercial) and scale of the landscape projects/contracts.

What is best about being a landscape projects/contracts manager?

Belderbos Landscapes sales and marketing director Claire Belderbos says: "You are the epicentre of the business because you are dealing with the directors. They are looking at you so you have to upward manage and manage your workers as well. You also have to be able to motivate the landscapers. We put a lot of trust into that kind of person."

PC Landscapes owner Paul Cowell agrees that the job's high level of responsibility makes it "a great role in any company". He adds that, depending on the size of the firm, it is often a dual role merged with that of landscape estimator.

What kind of skills, attributes, knowledge and experience do you feel are most in demand for this role in the recruitment market at the moment - and why?

Diplomacy

"You need to be diplomatic," says Cowell. "You have to liaise with the clients and the designers as well as all the different tradespeople and subcontractors on site, and you have to be able to liaise competently with all of them to get the work done." Belderbos has similar sentiments. "Sometimes there's a bit of hierarchy on site among the contractors. Can you communicate to people well enough to get your job done, without upsetting the other contractors? You are running projects with everything finished on time and to budget and you are doing that on a multiple scale, rather than just being a landscaper on site."

Understanding of the business

Belderbos says: "Our contracts manager rose through the ranks but, in my experience, not everyone could make the transfer from being on site all the time to having to constantly switch from being on-site to being in the office and managing projects. He (our contracts manager) has a very good understanding of the business." Cowell adds: "A prerequisite of the job is that you have to have an incredible amount of knowledge."

Being an all-rounder

Given that the landscape/contracts manager is involved in all aspects of the business, Belderbos admits that "you need a plethora of skills rather than an in-depth knowledge of one area". Although the role requires a certain amount of horticultural knowledge, she says employers would rather employ someone with a "fantastic attitude and some knowledge of horticulture". Cowell adds: "It helps to have horticultural knowledge but when you are pricing a job or organising it you end up familiarising yourself with the different types of plants anyway."

What sort of qualifications and experience would you need to see from a candidate to be convinced that they possess these qualities?

Both Belderbos and Cowell assert that because of the practical nature of the role a landscape projects/contracts manager must have adequate experience, which for this job outweighs a preference for any particular qualifications. "Often people are excellent at one area but lacking in another. That deficit will catch up with them in the end if they don't improve," says Belderbos. Cowell notes that the landscape projects/contracts manager he knows have all started out as landscapers and steadily worked their way up the career ladder.

Are any of the skills that are in demand transferable from other horticulture roles?

"I have known people who've come from grounds maintenance or greenkeeping backgrounds and then gone into landscaping," says Cowell. "They've then worked their way up, using their varied knowledge."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.


Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space
 

Read Noel Farrer