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Qualification -Certificate In Horticulture (Landscaping & Garden Design)

Course CodeVHT002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)700 hours

Learn Landscaping by Distance Learning

  • Start a landscape business, or get a job
  • Work in Landscape Construction, Design or Supply
  • Learn to identify plants, draw plans, create gardens


This certificate entails the following:

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


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, terms like: 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: Seed 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.

Stream (elective) studies: LANDSCAPE AND GARDEN DESIGN

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.
  • Analyze and report on a cottage garden design.
  • Analyze 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

The landscaping industry is involved with designing, constructing and maintaining private gardens and commercial landscapes. It utilises many diverse skills, ranging from designing and drafting to construction and installation, and landscape maintenance.  

There are two major divisions in this sector:

  • Hard landscaping or hardscaping – treatment of hard surfaces such as drives, walls, paths. Contractors and employees in this area must be skilled in construction work such as paving, bricklaying and building.
  • Soft landscaping or softscaping – treatment of plants. Those who select, advice and work with plants must have thorough plant knowledge and a sound understanding of horticultural processes. Some also have landscape design skills and construction skills.

Most landscapers work as private contractors. Small firms tend to work in the residential sector, while projects undertaken by larger contractors are generally in the commercial and government sectors. Landscape projects include design and installation of landscapes associated with new housing developments, shopping and office developments, sports and recreation facilities, large-scale engineering projects such as highways and other transport corridors, and hotel and resort constructions.