Diploma (Advanced) in Horticulture (Parks And Recreation)

Course CodeVHT009
Fee CodeAD
Duration (approx)2500 hours
QualificationAdvanced Diploma


Would you like to care and manage parks, natural parks, holiday and recreation resort facilities? Then this is the course to do. This course provides training for people to work in the management and development of recreation and park facilities and services. It is relevant to all types of situations including municipal parks, national parks, tourist parks, commercial landscapes, resorts, etc.


This Advanced Diploma involves both core studies and electives. Core modules are compulsory, electives are chosen to suit your particular specialization or work needs.



The core modules would normally be completed before anything else. Beyond that it is possible for you to determine your order of studies.

Note: Fees cover all tuition and "essential" texts.
They do not include fees for any Industry conferences or seminars which are attended.

Note: Course fee does not include exam fees



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Diploma (Advanced) in Horticulture (Parks And Recreation).
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Horticultural Research I BHT118
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Horticulture II (Plant Knowledge) BHT102
 Soil Management (Horticulture) BHT105
 Turf Care BHT104
 Horticultural Research II BHT241
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Playground Design BHT216
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT324
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 13 of the following 30 modules.
 Aquarium Management BEN105
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Bookkeeping Foundations (Bookkeeping I) BBS103
 Carpentry BSS100
 Ecotour Management BTR101
 Engineering I - Machinery & Equipment BSC105
 Food & Beverage Management BTR102
 Landscaping I BHT109
 Leisure Management 1 BRE103
 Leisure Management II BRE104
 Nature Park Management I BEN120
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Conservation and Environmental Management BEN201
 Engineering II - Engineering Applications BSC205
 Environmental Waste Management BEN202
 Event Management BRE209
 Irrigation (Gardens) BHT210
 Leisure Facility Management I BRE205
 Leisure Management III BRE204
 Nature Park Management II BEN207
 Project Management - Special Offer BBS201
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Landcare Reafforestation) BHT205
 Zoo Keeping BEN208
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT325
 Bush Tucker Plants BHT328
 Ecotourism Tour Guide Course BTR301
 Leisure Facility Management II BRE306
 Leisure Management IV BRE305
 Operational Business Management I (Horticulture) BHT326
 Operational Business Management II (Horticulture) BHT327

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


There are many different types of parks, and that means there can be many different types of parks management jobs.

Large organisations may employ a senior manager, and a series of deputy or sub managers. Smaller organisations may only employ a single manager.

Parks managers need to be knowledgeable in a wide range of things; from horticulture to managing the sustainable use of land resources; to management and planning in areas of staffing, finance and day to day operations. 

Parks managers may be responsible for small or large areas of parkland, in urban or rural areas, and either public owned or privately owned facilities. The role of the parks manager will ultimately depend upon the types and sizes of facilities they care for. These may include:

  • Wilderness areas
  • Urban Parks
  • Countryside parks
  • Wildlife parks and zoos
  • Holiday resorts
  • Tourist Theme Parks

Meet our Principal John Mason

John Mason has years of experience as a horticulturalist and park manager. After graduating from Burnley Horticultural College in 1971; Mr. Mason established a nursery and landscape business in Melbourne. After two years in private enterprise he took up the position of Superintendent of Parks and Gardens for the Shire of Melton. During three and a half years at Melton, he designed and built 42 new play areas (prior to his appointment, this 200 square mile municipality boasted less than 10 playgrounds).
In mid of 1977 Mr. Mason moved to the City of Essendon to become their first Director of Parks and Recreation. In a little over a year at Essendon several innovative projects commenced, including Montgomery Park.
Late in 1978 he was offered a new position (part time) with the Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Victoria; to promote and develop the concept of community groups building their own playgrounds through voluntary labour and use of recycled and donated materials. A little over two years (and more than a hundred playgrounds later) he left this position (due to withdrawal of government funding) to establish an Australian branch of Playground Clearing House Inc. (Paul Hogan's American Community Playground Organisation).
In the early 80's, John also worked for a period as Superintendent of Parks for the City of Heidelberg.
Whilst successfully operating Playground Clearing House for several years, Mr. Mason founded the Australian Horticultural Correspondence School (now ACS Distance Education) and a freelance consultant in park planning and management.

ACS Distance Education now offers over 600 different courses.

John Mason is a former Australian National representative for the International Playgrounds Association, former Victorian Secretary and Vice President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture, President of the Latrobe University Biology Society, and member of many professional bodies, including:

  • A fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia (formerly The Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation)
  • Fellow of the Australian Institute of Horticulture
  • Fellow of the (UK) Institute of Horticulture
  • Member of the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation

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Brief Outlines for Core Modules

  • Biochemistry Plants
    Biochemistry is the chemistry of living things. This 
    introductory course concentrates on the chemistry of either animals or 
    plants. Some secondary school chemistry will be helpful though it 
    is not essential. Lessons cover biochemical substances and 
    terms, carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, 
    metabolism, the nitrogen cycle, photosynthesis, respiration, 
    transpiration, acidity and alkalinity, nutrition, hormones, 
    chemical analysis and biochemical applications in the 


  • Workplace Health and Safety 
    An important subject area applicable to all industries. This 
    course covers the following topics: 
    * Introduction to workplace health and safety, procedures, duty of care 
    * Legislation 
    * Handling chemicals, including pesticides, cleaning chemicals, explosives, petrol 
    * Handling equipment: tools and machinery 
    * Handling objects: lifting, manual handling 
    * Standards and rules: safety audits, codes of practice 
    * Signs and signals: communicating in the presence of noise, eye problems, hazardous chemicals


  • Project Management

There are nine lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
    Understanding what project management is, and what its applications might be.
  2. Project Identification
    Identification and defining projects which need management.
  3. Project Planning
    Developing a strategy and framework for the plan.
  4. Project Implementation
    Managers duties during implementation, developing a Preparation Control Chart,
    Regulating implementation.
  5. Project Completion & Evaluation
    Dangers in this stage, Steps in Project completion, Declaring a project sustainable,
    Developing an evaluation method.
  6. Technical Project Management Skills
    Preparing a proposal, budget control/management, steps in drawing up a 
    post project appraisal.
  7. Leadership Skills
    Styles of leadership, leadership principles and methods.
  8. Improving Key Personnel Skills
    Listening skills, Negotiation skills, Conflict management.
  9. Major Assignment
    Developing full documentation for a project.


  • Instructional Skills
    There are 11 lessons with a written assignment to be submitted at the end of each lesson as follows:

1. Introduction to Training – Communication
2. Understanding Learning
3. Determining Training Requirements in The Workplace
4. Commencing Training
5. Developing a Lesson Plan
6. Assessment and Evaluation of Training Programs
7. Training Aids
8. One-To-One Training
9. Motivation Skills and Techniques
10. Promoting Training
11. Assessor Training


  • Horticulture I

There are twelve lessons in this course, as follows:

1. Plant Identification: Naming plants; distinguishing the taxonomic divisions of plants including family, genus, species and variety or hybrid; identifying the different parts of a flower; distinguishing the morphological characteristics of leaves.

2. Planting: Planting methods used for different types of plants including annuals, perennials, evergreen and deciduous plants; influence of environmental factors on planting techniques.

3. Soils: Classifying soils; sampling and testing soils; chemical and physical properties of soils; soil improvement techniques; composting; potting mixes.

4. Nutrition: Major and micro elements necessary for plant growth; nutrient deficiencies and toxicities; fertilisers.

5. Water Management: Irrigation systems – characteristics, advantages and disadvantages; drainage systems; waterwise gardening.

6. Pruning: Pruning techniques; importance of pruning to growth, flowering and fruiting; pruning tools.

7. Weeds: Identifying common weeds; characteristics of weeds; control techniques; herbicides.

8. Pests and Diseases: Identifying common insect and disease problems; control methods; Integrated Pest Management; pesticides; hygiene procedures; chemical safety.

9. Landscaping: Stages of landscaping; design procedures; collating pre-planning information; preparing plans; selecting plants for specified sites.

10. Propagation: Asexual and sexual propagation; taking cuttings; sowing seeds; aftercare of propagated plants.

11. Lawns: Turf grass varieties; laying a new lawn; cultural techniques including watering, fertilizing, topdressing, aerating, pest and disease control.

12. Arboriculture: Tree management techniques including pruning, removal and tree surgery; identifying tree problems.


  • Arboriculture I

There are eight lessons in this module, as follows:

  1. Introduction To Arboriculture
  2. Tree Biology
  3. Soils In Relation To Trees
  4. Diagnosing Tree Problems
  5. Tree Surgery
  6. Pruning Of Trees
  7. Arboricultural Equipment
  8. Workplace Health & Safety.
  • Turf Care

There are eleven lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction - Turf Varieties
  2. Turf Grass Physiology
  3. Turf Establishment
  4. Soils
  5. Turf Weed Problems
  6. Turf Pests & Diseases
  7. Turf Maintenance Techniques
  8. Irrigation - An Overview
  9. Playing Fields & Bowling Greens
  10. Managing Established Turf
  11. Establishing Ornamental Turf


  • Irrigation

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Irrigation
  2. Soil Characteristics & Problems
  3. Estimating Plant Needs & Irrigation Scheduling
  4. Drainage
  5. Types of Irrigation Systems
  6. Trickle Systems
  7. Design Specifications
  8. Pumps & Filters
  9. Selecting the Right System for a Plant
  10. Design & Operation of Systems.
  • Playground Design I

There are eight lessons in this unit as follows:

  1. Overview of Parks & Playgrounds
  2. Playground Philosophy
  3. Preparing a Concept Plan
  4. Materials
  5. Park & Playground Structures and Materials
  6. Local and Neighbourhood Parks
  7. Community Participation In Park Development
  8. Special Assignment.
  • Recreation Marketing 
    The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:
  1. Introduction to Marketing
  2. Marketing Strategy
  3. Media Promotions
  4. Promotional Materials
  5. Complaints
  6. Managing Membership Levels
  7. Sponsorship & Fundraising
  8. Managing Events
  9. Managing Promotional Activities
  10. Market sensitive recreation services.
  • Recreation Management-Human Resources

Lessons are structured as follows:

  1. Work Schedules
  2. Work Teams
  3. Workplace Efficiency
  4. Recruitment
  5. Staff Performance
  6. Workplace Communications
  7. Staff Grievances
  8. Developing a Staff Manual
  • Recreation Management -Financial/Clerical

There are eight lessons as follows:

  1. Financial Analysis
  2. Budget Control
  3. Legal Requirements
  4. Funding Opportunities
  5. Workplace Communications
  6. Managing Documents
  7. Managing a Resource Library
  8. Managing Information Technology


Other Courses/Studies we offer:

You can also study Certificates, Associate Diplomas or vocational (career) studies in Ecology, Botany, Plant Ecology, Zoology, Horticulture (Nature Park Management), Wildlife Management, Environment Management, Earth Science, Marine Studies, Waste Management and much more.




This course is accredited by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.
This course is accredited by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development
ACS is an Organisational Member of the British Institute for Learning and Development

Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau
Member of the Institute of Horticulture Careers Advisory Bureau

Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network
Member of Study Gold Coast, Education Network

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

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association
Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association

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  Rosemary Davies

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 (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
  John Mason

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; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
  Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Horticulturist, Horticultural Scientist, and Horticultural Consultant
  Gavin Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".
  Garden Design Part 1
This stunning full colour Garden Design ebook is full of useful tips, information and inspiration. It contains around 300 colour illustrations! It is comprised of three parts: Design, How a Garden Functions and Aesthetics (making it look good).
  Garden Design Part 2
Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. It's brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. It contains around 300 colour photos! Written by John Mason over several decades of visiting and photographing gardens, writing, teaching and creating gardens.
  Getting Work in Horticulture
Find out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
  Plant Pests & Diseases
Are you one of those people that kill every plant you touch? Perhaps it's not you. Perhaps it's a pest or disease. A little bit of reading might just turn your garden into an oasis. Learn how to identify pests and diseases and bring the spring back into your plant...visit the bookshop to find out more...