Landscaping II

Professional development for landscapers. Add to your landscape skills and knowledge. Learn about landscape elements in greater detail and where and how to use different types of plants. Aim to boost your understanding of design.

Course CodeBHT214
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn What it Takes to Become a Competent Landscape Designer

Landscaping is an area of work which gets more complex the more you know. There are always lots of options for creating designs from choosing which materials to use, which plants to best suit the client's needs and the prevailing conditions, how to include garden features, and how to put it all together into a coherent design.

A garden is like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of many pieces.

  • The first step in landscaping is to choose the right pieces to use.
  • The next step is to arrange them together in the best way

The pieces or components of any landscape might include living plants plus any non-living material such as soil, rocks, gravel, wood, brick, water, metal, or anything else your imagination can conjure up.

Learn to choose the best components for the space you are dealing with; then how to use them for the best effect.

Discover how to blend hard and soft features

Take this course to discover a variety of methods for expanding on elementary landscape design knowledge and has a greater focus on plants. Learn about a range of hard landscape materials and their impact on design, as well as a broad array of plants from annuals through to trees and where to use them. Find out how plants can be selected for different conditions and the impact of microclimates on design.     

“Less generic than Landscaping I, this course is more heavily weighted towards individual landscape components such as specific types of plants, paths, paving, walls, and garden features. It also covers landscape planning and management. This course need not follow its predecessor as it serves well as a stand alone module for landscapers, designers, and garden enthusiasts.” 

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. The Garden Environment
    • The ecosystem
    • Microclimates
    • What do you want in a garden
    • Components of a garden
    • Landscaping with water
    • Choosing a construction method for a water garden
    • Making a pool with a liner
    • Other types of water gardens
    • Water garden effects
    • Creating a waterfall
    • Cascades
    • Fencing and safety
    • Plants for water gardens
  2. Landscape Materials
    • Tools
    • Tool maintenance
    • Garden clothes
    • Construction materials
    • Concrete and cement
    • How to mix concrete and mortar
    • Reinforcing, rodding, expansion joints
    • Gravel and mulched paths
    • Outdoor furniture
    • Timber: types, stains, paints, preservatives
    • Plastics, Metal, Ulpholstery
    • Furniture design
  3. Using Bulbs, Annuals and other Low Growing Plants
    • Annuals
    • Scented annuals
    • Coloured foliage
    • Flower bed layout
    • Bedding schemes
    • Selecting annuals according to height
    • Annuals in containers
    • Bulbs
    • Scented bulbs
    • Amaryllis
    • Gladioli
    • Narcissus
    • Dahlia
    • Hyacinth
    • Iris
    • Ranunculus
    • Using Herbs
    • Types of herb gardens
  4. Landscaping with Trees
    • Introduction
    • Successions
    • Fast growing trees
    • Choosing plants
    • Trees in the landscape
    • Problems with trees
    • Plant applications for trees, shrubs, ground covers
    • Trees with damaging roots
    • Trees with narrow canopies
    • Aesthetic criteria for planting design
    • Procedure for planting design
  5. Ground Cover Plants
    • Introduction
    • Ground Covers: conifers, climbers, creepers, ornamental grasses
    • Low grasses to grow
    • How to build raised beds
    • Grevilleas
    • Thryptomene
    • Brachysema
    • Chorizema
    • Ardenbergia
    • Kennedya
    • Herbs: Thyme, chamomile, mint, alpine strawberry, etc
    • Landscaping with ferns
  6. Walls and Fences
    • Introduction
    • Getting the style right
    • Different fences
    • Plants to grow on trellis
    • Espaliers
    • Garden arches
    • Choosing the rich arch
    • Timber and metal arches
  7. Paths and Paving
    • Introduction
    • Where to use surfacing
    • Paving: different types of materials
    • Selecting materials
    • Concrete
    • Gravel
    • Asphalt
    • Edging
    • Edging materials
    • Maintaining an edge
    • Aesthetics
  8. Treating Slopes and Other Problem Areas
    • Erosion control
    • Helping plants establish on a slope
    • Drip irrigation, mulches, tree guards
    • Pocket planting, slope serration, wattling, spray seeding, etc
    • Shade
    • Plants suited to shade
    • Ferns and shade
    • Windbreaks, hedges and screens
    • Gardening in coastal areas
    • Design and planting a firebreak
    • Fire resistant plants
  9. Garden Features
    • Colour
    • Complementing colours
    • Outdoor living areas: Patios, seating, garden structures, pool areas, pool surrounds
    • Rockeries
    • Drystone walls
    • Wet walls
    • Garden buildings and structures
    • Siting garden buildings
    • What to build
    • What to do with the floor
    • Planting around a garden building
    • Protective structures
    • Types of greenhouses
    • Decorative planters
    • Choosing and siting a planter
    • Garden lighting
    • Lighting trees, paths, ponds etc
    • Letterboxes
  10. Designing for Low Maintenance
    • Introduction
    • The cost of garden maintenance
    • What costs
    • Expensive to maintain areas or features
    • Less expensive to maintain areas
    • Gardening in dry areas
    • Overcoming dry soils
    • Drought tolerant plants
    • Hardy plants for inner city gardens
  11. Developing a Landscape Plan
    • The site planning process
    • Site analysis
    • Design concept
    • Master plan
    • Keeping it to scale
    • The importance of space
  12. Management of Landscape Projects
    • Introduction
    • Mistakes to avoi
    • Earthmoving
    • Importing soil
    • Workplace safety

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.


  • Determine the resources required for a landscape development, including materials and equipment.
  • Determine appropriate plants for different locations within a landscape.
  • Determine the appropriate design and construction for landscape features, including walls, fences, pavers and buildings.
  • Determine treatments for problem areas in a landscape, including slopes and hostile environments.
  • Analyse maintenance requirements for a landscape.
  • Develop a landscape development plan, in accordance with a client brief, and in liaison with the client.
  • Plan the management of a landscape projects.

What You Will Do

  • Determine landscape materials readily available in the learners locality, including: soils, gravels, mulches and timbers.
  • Differentiate between landscape applications for twenty different types of timber.
  • Compare a range of materials in terms of function and aesthetics, including five types of mulches and five types of gravels.
  • Determine applications for five different specific items of machinery in landscape construction including a chainsaw, an earth moving machine, a rotary hoe and a tractor.
  • List minimum equipment required to construct two different landscapes in accordance with project specifications.
  • Determine criteria for selecting plants to be planted in 3 specified locations.
  • Explain the impact of trees in two specific landscapes, on both the environment and aesthetics of those landscapes.
  • Determine twenty different herbaceous plants, to grow in three different specified locations within the same garden.
  • Prepare a design for an annual flower display bed of 50 sq. metres.
  • List five groundcovers suited to plant in four different situations, including full shade, half shade, full sun and hanging baskets.
  • Prepare a planting design for a 100 sq. metre area of garden, using only groundcovers and trees.
  • List ten trees suited to each of the following cultural situations, in your locality: waterlogged soil; sandy soil; heavy soil; saline soil; fire prone sites and near drainage pipes.
  • Explain local government regulations which are relevant to landscape design and construction.
  • Develop design criteria for different garden structures, in specified situations, including: a pergola, swimming pool, steps and a garden seat.
  • Compare the design and construction of six different types of barriers, including walls and fences.
  • Design a fence for a landscape designed by you, including: construction detail drawing(s), materials specifications and a cost estimate.
  • Compare ten specific surfacing materials, in landscapes visited by you, including paving products, stone and gravel.
  • Design a set of steps, including construction detail drawing(s), materials specifications and a cost estimate.
  • Design a set of retaining walls, including construction, drawings, materials needed and a cost estimate.
  • Compare different types of garden buildings observed by you, including sheds, gazebos, car ports and garages, in terms of cost, durability, aesthetics and maintenance required.
  • Determine two different methods to treat a specified erosion problem.
  • Determine landscape preparations required for different soil types including clay, sand, shale, rocky soil and loam.
  • Describe four interim stabilisation techniques, including hydromulching and jutemaster.
  • List fifteen plant species which will adapt well to problem situations.
  • Determine ten plants suitable for each of a range of different soil types, including: clays, sands, acidic soil and alkaline soil.
  • Develop landscape plans, including illustrations and written instructions, for three difficult sites.
  • Determine landscape features that contribute towards the reduction of maintenance requirement on a landscaped site.
  • Compare the weekly maintenance requirement of a specific low maintenance garden, with that of a specific high maintenance garden.
  • Compile pre-planning information for a an existing landscape, which owners require to be redeveloped in order to reduce the maintenance requirement.
  • Prepare a detailed landscape design to achieve low maintenance.
  • Develop a ten week maintenance program, for a specific landscaped area visited by you.
  • Compare copies of two landscape briefs for projects advertised in the tenders column of a newspaper.
  • Develop a "client" brief, through an interview with a potential landscape client.
  • Survey a landscape site to confirm details in a client brief.
  • Develop three alternative concept plans for a landscape, in accordance with a client brief.
  • Determine the preferred option, from three concept plans presented to a client at a tape recorded meeting.
  • Prepare a detailed landscape design, conforming to decisions made during a discussion of alternative concept plans.
  • Prepare a quotation, based on a specified landscape plan.
  • Analyse the design of a landscape in comparison with the "Brief".
  • Prepare a work schedule according to both specifications and plans.
  • Monitor the progress of landscape work on a project, by keeping a logbook or work diary.
  • Assess standard of work carried out on a completed landscape project, against landscape plans for that project.
  • Select appropriate equipment, including tools and machinery, for a specified project.
  • List occupational health and safety regulations when dealing with machinery and equipment, which is relevant to a specified project.
  • Schedule the supply of materials and equipment for a project, in the logbook.
  • Develop contingency plans for a landscape development which addresses different possible irregularities including bad weather, security problems, weekend watering.
  • Explain how to finalise a specified project prior to handing over.
  • Explain the importance of monitoring a contract, through a specified project.
  • Develop guidelines for supervision of construction for a specified landscape project.

Gardens are Made up of Components

The components of a garden are arranged much the same way as components are arranged in a house. Garden design is achieved by both selecting appropriate components and arranging them in an appropriate way.
This course has a strong focus on getting to know and understand the use of those garden components.

The Garden Floor

The garden floor is like the floor inside a house, but instead of being timber, tiles or carpet; the floor of a garden room might be made up of low plants, lawn, paving and mulch.

Low plants may be used in a variety of ways in a garden design, either alone, or combined with other plants. Some of the ways low plants may be used are:

  • As a lawn substitute. Create a similar visual appearance to a lawn with any type of creeper or low spreading shrub. In shaded areas or poor soils, a lawn substitute may provide a more successful cover than a struggling grass lawn. Lawn substitutes can have both advantages and disadvantages over a lawn. You may not be able to play a game of football on a field of coastal juniper or creeping rosemary (for instance), but you don’t need to mow these things either.
  • Mass planting of a single variety (eg. 100 sq. metres covered by Ivy) can create a uniform affect that ties a garden together, and is relatively easy to maintain.
  • Mass planting of different but compatible varieties can create different affects across the seasons (eg. A meadow of ornamental grasses planted with daffodil bulbs creates a carpet of yellow flowers in late winter or spring and a soft blanket of dine foliage that ripples in the wind at other times).
  • A two tier planting of shade loving bulbs below tall trees (ie. No middle tier) can allow low growing plants to create a greater visual impact than what is achieved with a more traditional three tier planting.
  • Low plants in pots, tubs, raised bed or hanging baskets (eg. The traditional way to create a wall of foliage is to grow a medium size plant from the ground upwards; but an equally effective way is to suspend a creeping plant from a hanging basket or raised planter, and let it grow down).

The Garden Walls

Components such as hedges, clumps of shrubs, fences and walls are all like the walls of a house. In the same way that walls divide an interior into a series of rooms; these things can divide a garden intro a series of garden rooms.

Breaking a garden up into a lot of small areas can both create interest, and make a garden seem a lot bigger than it really is.

A garden which cannot all be seen from the one place will always seem bigger, as you move from one enclosed space to the next. The same area that is just one large open space will never feel like it is such a large garden.

Generally fences are less expensive than walls, but also thinner and perhaps less permanent than garden walls made from stone or brick. Nevertheless, a well built fence, made from quality materials and maintained properly will last 50 years or more.

The most common types of fence are solid, made from vertical timbers or metal sheets. Other, perhaps more attractive styles include spaced horizontal timbers, pickets or trellis. Walls, fences and other types of barriers are used in gardens for several reasons:

  • To define an area  creating the boundary of one section of a garden, separating it from other sections of the same garden
  • To screen an undesirable view (ie: To hide something you don't want to be looked at).
  • To provide a windbreak
  • To provide privacy (ie: Stop other people looking into that part of the garden).
  • To provide some barrier to noise (though this is minimal)
  • As a barrier to people, particularly children, and animals, either to keep them in or out of an area.

Where this Course Can Lead You

Graduates from this course will have an enhanced understanding of landscaping, and a greater awareness of the possibilities for creating a garden.

  • Anyone who already works in landscaping or gardening, will improve their career or business prospects
  • Amateur gardeners will see new possibilities for their own garden
  • People who work in landscape supplies or hardware will expand their understanding of at least some of the products they deal with.
  • Others may find enhanced opportunities for employment or business in something totally new to them.

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Diana Cole

B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild
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 (c
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.
Jacinda 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 year
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