Jones worked at the Tivoli business during its previous incarnations as ISS Landscaping, a division of ISS Facility Service when he was managing director and Waterers Landscapes. He was instrumental in arranging its sale to Sullivan Street Partners in December 2017.
Jones said he moved to ESL following "an opportunity that was too good to refuse".
"The sale of a business in my view was always the end of a process rather than an exciting new venture. I had a responsibility to make sure that everything was done properly. At the time he thought it was long-term but I got a better offer."
ESL Landscape Construction turns over around £10m a year and has been in operation since 1993. It was grown by its founder before being sold to two investors two years ago.
"They didn’t want to run the business but they want some involvement," said Jones. "They wanted someone from the landscape industry that clearly knew the industry and they could leverage that position in the industry to benefit the business and grow the business.
Currently 70 staff work in operations and 30 in the office in St Leonards-on-Sea, West Sussex. It is overwhelmingly a soft landscape construction firm, with around 5% of sales coming from maintenance contracts which follow on from its landscape build projects.
Jones added: "I am delighted to have joined ESL at such an exciting stage of its development. The business has very sound foundations and a very good team, the members of which have been instrumental in the growth of the company to date. I look forward to leading the business and to contributing to its future success."
He said that first on his list was to modernise structures and procedures.
"The business has got what I would describe as growing pains. It’s had periods of rapid growth and it needs some consolidation with that growth. It has very much the feel of a privately-owned company. We want to retain that feeling but we want to make it more commercial."
ESL chairman James Mahoney said: "We are very pleased to have Phil join the team at ESL. He combines a deep landscaping background with years of senior corporate and industry leadership experience which will be invaluable to ESL. We look forward to Phil leading the business as we continue our growth and development."
Jones is also current chairman of BALI-NCF the National Contractor’s Forum.