Amenity Horticulture Quality Assurance Programmes

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Amenity Horticulture Quality Assurance Programmes

Amenity Horticulture Quality Scheme

Bord Bia (& formally Bord Glas) introduced the first quality scheme for the Food Horticulture sector in 1991.

Quality programmes for the Amenity sectors were developed in subsequent years and include:

  • The Garden Centre Quality Awards
  • Nursery Quality Programme
  • Landscape Contractor Quality Programme


The Garden Centre Quality Awards was introduced in 1992, while the Nursery/Amenity Quality Scheme was introduced to the industry in 2003. 2005 saw the introduction of the Quality Scheme for Landscape Contractors.  All of the schemes were developed in close consultation with industry representatives, associated bodies and industry experts.

The Amenity Quality Programmes were developed as business improvement schemes. Businesses have benefited either by improving compliance with statutory requirements, and/or recognising where business processes can be changed to improve future performance.


To provide horticultural enterprises with the guidelines on ‘best practice’ in managing their businesses:

  • To define quality standards for the industry.
  • To improve overall standards within the industry.
  • To provide a Quality Mark that would be used to differentiate quality businesses.  
  • To increase productivity and efficiency. 
  • To improve overall standards within the industry.
  • To assist businesses to comply with legislative requirements.
  • To increase B2B customer confidence in the industry. 
  • To create a positive image for the industry among consumers.
  • To reward excellence


Nursery & Landscape Quality Programmes

The Bord Bia Nursery Quality Programme is a voluntary quality assurance scheme designed to assist Irish nurseries reach best practise in commercial nursery crop production and management systems. It sets out a ‘code of practice’ for the efficient running of a nursery business and provides a standard against which nursery businesses are evaluated. 

Participants in the programme receive one announced inspection (two for participants of less than two years) over a twelve month period and are expected to carry out a self audit.  The first inspection identifies the areas in the nursery that need attention. The inspection sheet, which remains with the nursery after the audit, can be used as a guide to implement any changes necessary. The score achieved on the second audit is final.

The Landscape Contractor Quality Programme is tailored to the size and capabilities of Irish landscape businesses.  It is flexible enough to meet the needs of the smallest and largest participants.

Concentrating on the important areas, it identifies best practice, and helps managers to install it in the most cost effective and time efficient way.

It operates in a similar way to the Nursery Quality Programme, with participants to date receiving two announced audits annually. In addition it is sector specific and open to all landscape contractors in the Republic of Ireland.

To date the Landscape Quality Award has been achieved by eight companies, while there are 21 holders of the Nursery Quality Award.

There are two award levels on both programmes; a Certificate of Merit (60% score) and the Quality Award (75% score). 

Those who achieve the quality award are entitled to use the Bord Bia Quality Approved Quality Mark in the promotion of their business. However it is not permitted to appear on plant pots or labels.  Any use of the quality mark must be approvied by Bord Bia in advance.  A copy of the conditions which govern the use of the quality mark are available from Bord Bia on request.

Critical Items

There are a number of critical items that each business must comply with in order to be eligible for an award. The critical items are:

  1. Safety Statement available
  2. Safety Statement completed 
  3. Safety Statement Signed and up to date
  4. Toilet and hand washing facilities available and in working order
  5. Customer Complaints Records
  6. First Aid Certificate
  7. Chemical Store of sound structure
  8. Chemical records available
  9. Chemical Store Maintained
  10. Chemical Store Up to date

Bord Bia Garden Centre Quality Awards

The Bord Bia Garden Centre Quality Awards have been instrumental in raising standards within garden centres throughout Ireland. Over the years, the aim of the awards has been to set achievable standards for the industry while simultaneously rewarding those centres that consistently strive for excellence.

Each participating garden centre undergoes a comprehensive audit conducted by an experienced consultant.  The centre is assessed on a number of criteria including:- plant quality, customer service, merchandising, outdoor / indoor presentation, information, accessories and marketing.  The facility achieves a Star rating based on the audit score. 

Star Rating System

Introduced in 2000, star rating system seeks to distinguish and reward business according to their offer to consumers.

The Two Star award is achieved by centres’ achieving a score of  50% or above overall.   The Three Star award is achieved by centres’ scoring 60% or greater overall, offering a wide range of quality products and services in a pleasant shopping environment. 

At an overall score of 70% or greater the Four Star centre offers premium quality products plus additional facilities, services and merchandise, such as a covered plant section, customer information area and an extensive plant range. 

The Five Star Award awarded only to those centres’ that achieve a score of 80% or more for all categories, signifying ‘the best of the best’.

Inspection & Certification

The inspections on all three schemes are carried out by independent auditors.


Application forms are distributed each February and accepted until 30th April.   From 2009 the application form will be available to download from the Bord Bia website.

You may also discuss details of the scheme at any time by contacting
Carol Marks – or Tel: 01 6142266

Garden Centre Quality Award Application Form 

GCQA Application Form

Download:  Word Icon(51KB 7 sec @56K) PDF Icon(81KB 11 sec @56K)

Landscape Application Form

Download:  PDF Icon(62KB 9 sec @56K) Excel Icon(59KB 8 sec @56K)

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