Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Landscaping)

Learn about plants and how to use them in gardens, parks & streetscapes. Combine plant knowledge with landscaping skills such as planning & design. An in-depth course providing technical & practical training for landscape professionals.

Course Code: VHT081
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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A Broad-based Horticulture and Landscaping Course

Prepare yourself for a career in landscaping with this course. Learn about core horticulture principles and techniques as well as landscaping skills such as planning and designing gardens.   

This course provides a stronger training in plant knowledge and science than many other colleges. 

Understand plant science, plant identification, plant care, irrigation, soils and nutrition, horticultural management and all aspects of landscaping and landscape design.

You need Exceptional Diversity to prepare you for an unpredictable and rapidly changing industry!

Completion of this course opens your career up to management positions in landscaping, general horticulture and garden design as well as teaching.

Enrol in one of the most comprehensive landscape horticulture courses available. Understand plant science, plant identification, plant care, irrigation, soils and nutrition,  horticultural management and all aspects of landscaping and landscape design. Choose electives in fields of interest that will help you to realise your ambitions.

“Not too many courses are this comprehensive! When you complete this course you will understand all the aspects associated with landscaping and design. Most landscaping courses only focus on design - but without the fundamental knowledge of plants and landscape construction a designer cannot truly design a workable garden. This course covers all the design and construction aspects plus botany and horticultural skills enabling you to understand how plants will perform and work for you in your designs.” - Adriana Fraser , Adv.Dip.Hort, Cert.Hort., Adv. Cert. App. Mgt., Cert 1V Assessment and Training. ACS Tutor, author, garden designer.

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Landscaping).
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Landscaping II BHT214
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT324
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 39 modules.
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Carpentry BSS100
 Cottage Garden Design BHT110
 Growing Annuals BHT115
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Horticulture and Research I BHT118
 Horticulture III (Plant Health) BHT116
 Landscape Construction BHT111
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Masonry (Brick, Stone and Concrete Work) BSS101
 Mud Brick Construction ASS103
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
 Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
 Turf Care BHT104
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Green Walls and Roofs BHT256
 Horticulture And Research II BHT241
 Irrigation (Gardens) BHT210
 Landscaping III (Landscaping Styles) BHT235
 Natural Garden Design BHT215
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Planning Layout And Construction Of Ornamental Gardens BHT242
 Playground Design BHT216
 Project Management BBS201
 Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens BHT243
 Scented Plants BHT229
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Tropical Plants BHT234
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT325
 Biophilic Landscaping BHT343
 Garden History BHT329
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Managing Notable Gardens BHT340
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Water Gardening BHT307
 

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Horticulture (Landscaping) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


WHERE YOU MIGHT USE THESE STUDIES

This course may be used to launch or enhance a career in any branch of landscaping or amenity horticulture.

Obvious careers for graduates would be to become a garden designer or landscape contractor; but opportunities are always changing in this industry; and the broad skills you develop here will give you a very sound foundation for working in parks management; garden maintenance, turf management or other areas of horticulture.

Working as a Garden Designer

Garden Design is a unique profession that blends science with art.

Designing a garden involves:
1. Communicating with the client to determine their needs and desires.
2. Surveying the site, and creating a base plan (drawing)
3. Determining potentials and limitations (What is and is not feasible)
4. Systematically working through a logical design process, to develop, step by step, a concept that is physically achievable, as well as being functional and aesthetically appropriate.

The amount of work available in garden design has increased in recent decades, particularly in more affluent parts of the developed world. In situations where both husband and wife work, and money is relatively available, all home services including garden design have become growth industries.


Opportunities

Some garden designers work full time doing nothing but garden design.
Others combine garden design with another job, such as landscape contracting, garden consultancy, garden writing or retail nursery.
Garden centres sometimes offer a garden design service to entice people to buy plants from them. They may employ, or do a deal with a designer; or the owner or staff may even go and learn design themselves.

Most landscape designers are self employed. Some other employment opportunities for landscape designers include being employed by:

  • Horticultural businesses (eg. garden centres; landscape contractors). 

  • Planning or design firms (eg. Architects, engineers, Town planners)

  • Developers or construction companies

  • Government (eg. Parks departments)

Consultants may charge anything from low to extremely high rates for their design work. A garden design for a 500 to 1000 sq. metre property (home) may cost as much as a person’s weekly wage; or much more if designed by a well known and prestigious designer. The ability to command high fees will depend upon reputation and that will only develop over time, and if you are able to develop a unique and popular flair to your work.
Designers who are able to obtain employment (part time or full time) with others should be able to earn a professional level salary.

Advancement in this industry is most dependent upon reputation. If your work becomes famous, you will also, and your ability to charge more will increase. In some places, a good way of advancing your career as a designer is to create display gardens in a major garden show. Designers who win medals at Chelsea Flower Show (London) or MIFGIS (Melbourne) for instance, will find it easier to get work; and often be able to command higher fees.

Risks and challenges
Every job has certain risks associated with it; and even something that seems as easy going as garden design can still bring worries from time to time.
Self employed garden designers face the same problems as any other small business person (eg. Dissatisfied clients refusing to pay, not having an income when you are ill, too much work at times and too little at other times, people being slow to pay, etc).
While being your own boss can be a negative for some, others see it as a big bonus in this career. If your personality fits not only the job, but also the way of life, this could be a career you are well suited to.
Before you have developed a reputation in this industry you may initially find it difficult to get work.

How to become a Landscape Designer
A garden design career commonly starts by either:

  • Designing your own garden, and discovering you love the experience 

  • Drifting into it from working in a related field such as gardening or architecture

  • Studying a garden design course because you just love gardens or gardening.

Landscape contractors often seek to develop design skills to broaden the services they can offer a client; or to give them a less physically demanding income source they can move into as they get older. Garden writers or consultants may offer a design service, to broaden their income opportunities.
Many of the most successful garden designers are those who have specialised in a particular garden style. For a self employed designer, this is an obvious way of making yourself stand out from the competition. Consider for instance, becoming a specialist in designing modern gardens, cottage gardens, formal gardens, tropical gardens or Japanese gardens.

Some designers focus on residential designs, and others on commercial work, public parks, or even children’s playgrounds. Just think of the number of schools and pre schools that need playgrounds designed.

If you are seeking employment with someone else as a designer, you should consider the courses you study and the skills you develop. Different skills will be attractive to different types of firms (or organisations).

Professional institutes and associations in both the landscape and horticulture industries are useful to join. Many will require you to hold some type of qualification (or be a student) before joining.

Becoming active within such an association or institute will help you develop valuable contacts within the industry; and remain current with trends and developments.
If you establish your own consultancy, you should investigate Professional Indemnity Insurance and any other necessary insurances. The situation does vary from country to country (and time to time), but the issue of insurance should not be neglected.

 

WHAT WILL THIS COURSE DO FOR YOU?

You will develop the skills and knowledge required to work as a professional landscaper.

This course is different to many others. It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with the horticulture industry as you study. The industry is changing faster than ever; and will continue to change; and for ongoing success you need to become "connected" and remain "connected", so that you see and adapt to recent changes, and ongoing changes as your career moves forward.

Given that new research indicates that landscapers are among the highest paid tradespeople in Australia (with the average hourly rate being $91 per hour for some areas of Australia), it seems logical to take a look at return on investment when it comes to choosing education in this area.

Many landscapers have no formal education, but those wishing to make sure they have the right mix of knowledge and practical skill should choose a course that is well respected in industry (for example, does the course provide a solid foundation of basics like plant identification knowledge?). The next consideration is how much will it cost? Opting for a government-recognised course will more often than not mean you will be paying a high price, and that price does not necessarily mean you’ll get the right education. Paying a higher price for education means it will take a lot longer to see a return on your education investment, despite the high average hourly rate. Because ACS Distance Education doesn’t have the high overheads brought on by the high cost of maintaining accreditation, we can pass that saving on to our students with affordable but high quality education.

ACS Distance Education has been delivering horticultural education since the 70’s, and is remains prominent and well regarded in industry circles. All horticulture tutors hold at least a degree, and five years industry experience, but many also additionally bring decades of experience to ACS horticulture students. Tutors take an active interest in students’ plans for their businesses, and can offer practical advice on how to get started in industry.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).




Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Jacinda Cole (Horticulturist)

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer.
She was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up her own landscaping firm. She spent three ye

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Timothy Walker

B.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed.

Timothy is a Botanist, Horticulturist and Gardener. He is an Author, and also a lecturer at Somerville College, Oxford. After training at a number of gardens including Windsor Great Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Timothy commenced work at Oxford Botanic Gardens in 1986. Appointed as "Horti Praefectus" (Superintendent/Director) there in 1988, he held that position until 2014. Under Timothy's watch, the garden won four gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show, and developed 67 acres of MG5 wild flower meadow at the Harcourt Arboretum; a UK threatened habitat. Timothy remains an active practical gardener as well as a highly respected international academic in the fields of horticulture and plant botany.

Maggi Brown

RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA)

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association (Now Garden Organic). Since leaving the employ of Garden Organic, she has been honoured with a life membership. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades.

Jan Kelly

Dip Hort (Burnley); Cert IV Assessment & Training

Jan has around 50 years of experience in horticulture, including over 20 years as owner/manager of a wholesale/retail nursery. She has worked in both Australia and New Guinea, in many different capacities, including as a horticultural consultant and landscape designer for domestic and development projects, with considerable experience in Conservation & Land Management. Jan has been a trainer of Amenity Horticulture and Landscape Design for 10 years.

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