Certificate In Horticulture (Landscaping & Garden Design)

Training in horticulture, garden design and landscaping. While still covering design and drawing a plan; this course covers less design, and more horticulture and garden construction, than the certificate in garden design.

Course CodeVHT002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)700 hours

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Become a professional landscaper - learn how plants grow, how to identify them and how to care for them.
This course is designed specifically as training for people who want to work in landscaping as a designer, contractor or in landscape construction. It is suitable both for people who want to commence their own business; or for anyone seeking work with an established landscape enterprise. This course is similar to our other horticulture certificates in its introductory (core) units, but devotes 50% of the course to topics specifically related to landscaping. This course covers all the important aspects of Horticulture, as well as the basis for good landscape design .



This certificate entails the following:

  • Core studies - half of the course, involving approximately 300hrs over 15 lessons
  • Elective studies - half of the course, involving stream studies specific to landscaping

Core Lessons

  1. Introduction to Plants
  2. Parts of the Plant
  3. Plant Culture - Planting
  4. Plant Culture - Pruning
  5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery
  6. Soils & Media
  7. Soils & Nutrition
  8. Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings
  9. Propagation - Other Techniques
  10. Identification and Use of Plants
  11. Identification and Use of Plants
  12. Identification and Use of Plants
  13. Pests
  14. Diseases
  15. Weeds

Stream Lessons

  1. History of Landscaping
  2. Principles of Design and Planning Information
  3. Drawing and Costs
  4. Irrigation
  5. Garden Designs
  6. Earth moving and Drainage
  7. Materials
  8. Paths, Walls and Fences
  9. Equipment
  10. Water Features
  11. Garden Art: Statues, Sundials and Figurines
  12. Landscaping for Sports and Games
  13. Landscape Management
  14. Industrial Relations: Unions and Workers
  15. Maintenance of a New Landscape

Lesson Structure

There are 30 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Plants
    • Nomenclature and taxonomy
    • The plant kingdom
    • Genus, species, hybrids
  2. Parts of the Plant
    • How plants grow
    • Plant structure
    • Parts of the flower and leaf
    • Modification of stems and roots
  3. Plant Culture - Planting
    • How to plant and protect newly planted specimens, annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants
  4. Plant Culture - Pruning
    • Purpose for pruning
    • Rules for pruning
    • How to prune
  5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery
    • Different irrigation systems
    • Components of an irrigation system
    • Designing an irrigation system
    • Maintenance in the garden and for tools
  6. Soils & Media
    • Soil classifications
    • Soil testing
    • Potting mixes
    • The U.C. system
    • Ingredients of potting mixes
  7. Soils & Nutrition
    • Fertilizers
    • Deficiencies and toxicities
    • N:P:K ratios
    • Salting
    • Fertilizer programming
    • Compost
  8. Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings
    • How to propagate plants with the two easiest techniques: seeds and cuttings
    • Propagating mixes
    • Cold frame construction
    • After care for young plants
  9. Propagation - Other Techniques
    • Other methods to increase plant numbers
    • Budding and grafting
    • Layering, division and tissue culture
  10. Identification and Use of Plants
    • How are plants used in the landscape
    • How to choose and purchase plants
    • Selecting plants suitable for the climate and site
  11. Identification and Use of Plants
    • Problems with plants
    • Choosing plants for problem sites
  12. Identification and Use of Plants
    • Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns
  13. Pests
    • Identifying and controlling pests
    • Chemical and natural methods for pest control
    • Chemical safety precautions
  14. Diseases
    • Identifying and controlling diseases
    • Plant pathology
    • Fungi, viruses, non pathogenic problems
    • Interactions with the host and the environment
  15. Weeds
    • Identifying weeds
    • Controlling weeds
    • Chemical terminology
  16. History of Landscaping
    • Garden styles
    • Types of gardens
    • History of gardens
  17. Principles of Design and Planning Information
    • Principles of design
    • Pre planning information
    • Using colour
    • Natural garden design
    • Eclectic gardens
    • Minimalist gardens
    • Plant application
    • Aesthetic criteria for design
    • Procedure for planting design
    • Entries
    • Birds in the garden
  18. Drawing and Costs
    • Cost effective design
    • Garden style versus costs
    • Construction decisions
    • Planting decisions
    • Maintenance decisions
    • Garden investment
    • Determining costs
    • Drawing techniques
    • Computer aided design
  19. Irrigation
    • Sprinkler systems
    • Micro irrigation
    • Planning an irrigation system
    • How to use a watering system
    • Automatic watering systems
  20. Garden Designs
    • Park design
    • Home garden design
    • Cottage garden design
    • Trail design
    • Types of trails (fitness, sensory, cryptic, environmental)
    • Recreational landsacaping
    • Playground design
    • Barriers and walls
    • Gradients and dimensions
  21. Earthmoving and Drainage
    • Levelling & basic surveying
    • Earthmoving equipment
    • Earth forming
    • Creating mounds
    • Raised beds
    • Importing or improving soil
    • Soil shaping
    • Soil degradation
    • Soil rehabilitation
    • Earthworks calculations
  22. Materials
    • Using, choosing & preserving timber
    • Recycled timber
    • Rock work
    • Concrete
    • Coloured pebbles and gravel
  23. Paths, Walls and Fences
    • Paths: guidelines, gradients, surfaces
    • Walls & sleeper walls
    • Types of fences
    • Building a wood fence
    • Garden structures
    • Play Structures
    • Skate facilities, motor vehicle parks
    • Pavers, stone and gravels
    • Contracts and specifications
  24. Equipment
    • Manual tools and equipment
    • Power tools for landscaping
  25. Water Features
    • Planning a water garden
    • Types of water gardens
    • Water quality, depth, area, safety etc.
    • Water effects
    • Finishing touches to a water garden
    • Fountains
  26. Garden Art: Statues, Sundials and Figurines
    • Garden rooms: How to design a garden room, what to put in a garden room
    • Positioning garden art
    • Painting in the garden
    • Pots
    • Sculpture and statues
    • Outdoor furniture
  27. Landscaping for Sports and Games
    • Fun and fitness trails
    • Outdoor multi purpose courts
    • Skateboarding
    • Types of playgrounds
    • Park design criteria
  28. Landscape Management
    • Role of a manager
    • Management processes
    • Law and business
    • Communication skill
    • Marketing
    • Industry awareness
    • Landscape management
  29. Industrial Relations: Unions and Workers
    • Work scheduling
    • Unions
    • Workplace health and safety
  30. Maintenance of a New Landscape
    • Protecting young plants
    • Replanting
    • Pruning
    • Weed control
    • Maintaining turf

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

More About the Stream (elective) Studies:


The aim of the stream studies is to develop skills and knowledge in landscape design, construction, features and landscape business management.

The student will engage in the following activities as part of the stream studies:

  • Review the historical evolution of gardens
  • Obtain pre-planning information and use of that information to draw plans
  • Identify different principles and styles of landscape designs
  • Analyze garden designs
  • Develop graphic skills, and a knowledge of drawing materials and techniques
  • Prepare cost estimates for a landscape job
  • Describe surfacing materials and their effects
  • Explain the quality and cost of different landscape materials
  • Develop a knowledge of plants, both native and exotic, suitable for local conditions
  • Select plants for difficult sites and conditions
  • Describe advantages and disadvantages of various pipes, sprinklers and pumping equipment
  • Recommend irrigation systems for different landscape situations
  • Design a simple irrigation system
  • Design a bush garden and the value and relevance of using native plants
  • Analyse and report on a cottage garden design
  • Analyse and report on a playground design
  • Prepare a playground design for a school or public park
  • Draw layout plans for a range of gardens
  • Conduct a detailed survey of a site, prepare a detailed plan based on that survey, estimate costs and develop contract documentation for that project
  • Explain earthworks and soil preparation techniques used in landscaping
  • Describe alternative techniques for establishing and growing plants
  • Explain a range of landscape construction techniques including building fences, walls, rockeries, paths, water gardens, paving and drainage
  • Compare different landscape materials with respect to their quality, cost, availability and application in garden construction
  • Describe the correct procedures for the proper and safe removal of a limb from a tree, and for the felling of trees
  • Develop a detailed maintenance program for a garden
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare for, and plant a new lawn
  • Explain how to establish turf on a steep slope
  • Write and advertisement for a landscaping business
  • Explain basic management procedures
  • Show a reasonable level of communication skill
  • Explain health and safety requirements on a landscape site


  • Support:  communicate directly with staff . Answering you is our top priority. Our staff include some of the most exceptional garden industry leaders from both Australia and the UK. We also back up students with a large variety of text books written specifically by our academic staff to supplement the learning needs for this and other courses.
  • Different:  if your training is different, you stand out
  • Resources:  unique collection of people and intellectual property.
  • Reputation: A team of a dozen university trained horticulturists led by our principal John Mason, with a 40 year career incl. author of over 50 gardening books, garden editor, landscape, nurseryman and parks director
  • Flexibility:  more options for how, where, when and what you study
  • Learning is top priority: what you learn changes you for life. Everything else is secondary
  • Better value:   Compare our cost per study hour.
  • Reliability:  Established since 1979, and being independent means we have avoided the stresses suffered by many other institutions




Graduates from this course will know how to create gardens. They will be able to identify a lot of different plants and make logical choices about what to plant where. They'll also understand the design process and be able to draw a plan.

This course is different to our certificate in garden design though in that it also teaches you more general horticulture skills including how to propagate and produce plants before the landscaping; and how to care for them after the landscaping is over. In this respect it is more holistic training than a pure landscaping course.

You need to build a foundation first, to understand design, the science that underpins horticulture, and to be able to identify and know the cultural peculiarities of lots of different plants.

To be a successful landscape professional you may need a fit body. You definitely need organizational ability, imagination,  passion, persistence and a willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

If this describes you; we can help you to get a start.

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