The Landscape Guide

Knowledge and skills


Conservation movement - Garden conservation - Comparisions - Jobs - Garden historians - Data collection - Garden Archaeology - Data storage - Data processing - Conservation plans - Case study

The management of a historic garden requires several types of ability which can be learned from books or through educational courses:

  • Historical understanding: a familiarity with the period or periods in which parts of the garden were made is essential. This extends to a wide range of factors: general history, social history, philosophy, religion, art, architecture, horticulture, construction and design. No individual can be expert across such a wide field. The best approach is a contextual study of study of garden history - looking at how other fields of history impact on gardens.
  • Technical expertise in planting design and construction design. Materials must be carefully sourced and carefully used. These types of knowledge can be learned on courses in horticulture, garden design and landscape architecture.
  • Design judgement: where choices have to be made, design judgement has to be exercised. As with other types of ability, some people are born with more design judgement than others. But everyone can improve their design judgement through practice and study. Debate is also important: the expression and exchange of opinions sharpens a person's critical faculties.
  • Management principles for gardens. Good management is applied common sense. One has to balance the types of knowledge identified above with people skills, record keeping, finance and much else.


An education leads naturally to jobs in the care of historic gardens.