Professor Emeritus James Hitchmough

B.Sc PhD

Department of Landscape Architecture

Emeritus Professor of Horticultural Ecology

A profile photo of James Hitchmough
Profile picture of A profile photo of James Hitchmough

+44 114 222 0610

Full contact details

Professor Emeritus James Hitchmough
Department of Landscape Architecture
Floor 13
Arts Tower
Western Bank
S10 2TN

My main research interests have centred around the ecology, design and management of herbaceous vegetation. In Australia this lead to the development of a still active research group in the restoration ecology of Australian native grasslands. Maintaining my strong interest in “native” semi-natural herbaceous vegetation, increasingly I have re-interpreted ecologically based herbaceous vegetation in the cultural context of the public greenspace of towns and cities.

This has resulted in a large volume of research on the creation of various native and non-native meadow, steppe and prairie vegetation from sowing seed in situ.

This vegetation is designed to be much more sustainable than the traditional herbaceous plantings, however the main goal of the work is to produce ecologically informed herbaceous plant communities that are highly attractive to the lay public.

1983-88: Lecturer in Amenity Horticulture at Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, University of Melbourne, Australia

1989: Visiting Lecturer in Landscape Management, University of Manchester 1988-93 Senior Lecturer in Environmental Horticulture at Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture, Melbourne, Australia.

1993-95: Lecturer/Course Tutor in Environmental Horticulture at SAC Auchincruive, Ayr, Scotland

1995-2003: Reader in Landscape, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield

2004: Professor of Horticultural Ecology, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield


1975 - 79: University of Bath (School of Biological Sciences). B.Sc Honours Degree in Horticulture (Specialising in Amenity Horticulture), Second Class, First Division

1979 - 82: University of Bath (School of Biological Sciences) Postgraduate Research (Ph.D.) into: "Development of a Computerised Information System for Landscape Plant Selection". Awarded Ph.D in 1984.

Research interests

As mentioned above, since the mid 1980's my main research interests have centred around the ecology, design and management of herbaceous vegetation. The research employs standard restoration ecology methodologies and involves rigorous collection and statistical analysis data.

As my interest in these new vegetation types has developed so has my desire to find out more about the aesthetic values and preferences of the public as they relate to urban vegetation. This has resulted in the development of a complementary strand of research based on the application of Environmental Psychology methodologies to designed urban vegetation.

A current PhD study (Helen Hoyle) looks at how ordinary people value designed vegetation, across planting character and structural gradients from the highly natural to the highly cultural. My PhD student research group currently consists of 5 PhD students. I collaborate on research with many individuals and organisations across the world and in Britain I have particularly strong links with the RHS.

I am an active publisher in both the research and professional literature, and my work results in numerous invites to keynote across the world.



Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


Teaching activities

Module co-ordinator for:

  • LSC 6008 Greenspace Maintenance
  • LSC 231 Materials of Landscape - Planting Design
  • LSC 333 Materials of Landscape - Detailed Design
  • LSC 6005 Design and Management stream for Special Project.
Professional activities and memberships
  • Member of Departmental Executive
  • Departmental REF Co-oridinator for the December 2013 submission and all previous RAE Submission back to 1996

Extramural activities

These fall into two major groups; speaking at conferences and seminars, and secondly consultancy work with the landscape industry. With regard to the former I am regularly invited to speak, normally to deliver Keynote Presentations at various conferences and seminars around the world.

As an example of my level of activity, since January 2013 I have delivered keynote presentations at academic and professional conferences in; Stockholm, Prague, Torino, Esfahan (Iran), Newport (USA), New London (USA) Melbourne, Brisbane, Chendong (China), Hanover, and Copenhagen, in addition to events in the UK.

Consultancy work is largely associated with putting into practice the outcomes from my research on herbaceous vegetation in high profile, prestigious projects. With my colleague Professor Nigel Dunnett I was Lead Planting Design and Horticultural Consultant at the 2012 Olympic Park, and responsible for the design and implementation of over 10 ha of planting.

I currently have a number of significant projects in train, including a 10ha plus project “Big Sky Meadow” for the RHS at Hyde Hall Garden.

Professional affiliations

 1995 - : Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture

2013: Fellow of British Naturalists Association