Train in both horticulture and landscaping -start a business or get a job. Discounted Fees available to studying easier.

Course Code: VHT002
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 700 hours
Qualification Certificate
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This certificate entails the following:
  • Core studies - half of the course, involving approximately 350hrs over 15 lessons.
  • Elective studies - half of the course, involving stream studies specific to landscaping.

Core units

1. Introduction to Plants -Start by learning how plants are identified. Plant knowledge is fundamental to good landscaping, and learning to identify plants and remembering plant names can be made easier with a good understanding of how plants are classified.

2. Parts of the Plant -Learn a range of botanical terms, differentiate between various types of flowers, leaves, stems and roots, and build a foundation for understanding how plants grow.

3. Plant Culture - Learn how you should plant and nurture different types of plants (eg. annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants); to give them the best chance of surviving and thriving.

4. Plant Culture - Understanding pruning is important to the landscaper. When you first introduce a plant to a landscape, it is important to ensure it is shaped properly. An understanding of pruning helps the landscaper foresee the eventual appearance; the level of maintenance that might be needed and choose specimens accordingly.

5. Plant Culture - Develop a broad understanding of how irrigation and machinery can contribute toward developing a landscape. Learn about different irrigation systems, components of an irrigation system,  the design of an irrigation system, and the machinery and tools that might be used by a landscape gardener.

6. Soils and Media -Hard landscape features are built on soil, and plants grow in soil. It is important for any landscaper to understand soil. If you can understand both the physical and chemical nature of soil; you will have a vastly improved ability to  build a functional landscape.  This lesson covers classification of soils, testing soils, potting mixes, the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7. Soils and Nutrition -Following on from the previous lesson, learn more about fertilizers, nutrient deficiencies and toxicities, N:P:K ratios, salt contamination, fertilizer programming, and making compost.

8. Propagation - Some landscapers will propagate their own plants (saving money on buying in plants); and others do not. Either way though; it is important to understand how plants are propagated, because the method of propagation can affect the reliability of how a plant might perform in a landscape. Seed grown plants can be inexpensive to buy, but their performance may at times be unpredictable. Cutting grown plants can be more predictable in growth habit and flowering; but sometimes a grafted plant may have further advantages beyond that.  Learn how to propagate plants with the two easiest techniques, propagating mixes, cold frame construction, after care for young plants.

9. Propagation - Lean about other techniques including budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.

10. Identification and Use of Plants -At this stage of the course, you will have become familiar with a lot of different plant cultivars. With that knowledge in hand, you are ready to start considering how are plants used in the landscape, how to choose and purchase plants, and the way you can select plants suitable for the climate and site.


11. Identification and Use of Plants -Building on the previous lesson, you explore choosing plants for problem situations.

12. Identification and Use of Plants -This lesson further develops your plant knowledge by looking at some groups of plants that may not have been explored so much, earlier in the course (eg. Indoor and Tropical Plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns).

13. Pests -By understanding the risks that can impact on a plant's survival; you can better select plants, and advise clients how to look after plants in their garden. These next three lessons build your awareness of these problems that can arise in any garden. This lesson concentrates on identifying and controlling pests, both through chemical and natural methods for control, and makes you aware of chemical safety precautions that any gardener or landscaper should follow.

14. Diseases-  This lesson focuses on identifying and controlling diseases, plant pathology, fungi, viruses, non pathogenic problems, interactions with the host and the environment.

15. Weeds-  This is the final lesson of the core studies. Identifying and controlling weeds is often one of the first jobs for a landscaper. If a new site is not properly cleaned up; weed problems can emerge and be a continual problem before you even complete the landscape construction., chemical terminology.

Stream Studies:
The aim of the stream studies is to develop skills and knowledge that are even more specific to landscape design, construction and landscape business management.   There are a further 15 lessons in this part of the course (as below).
16. History of Landscaping -Explore how gardens have been different in different places and at different times. Some gardens are formal, others very informal, and some have elements of both formality and informality. Other gardens may be oriental, Mediterranean or tropical in style; even if they are not located in the orient, Mediterranean or tropics. By learning about the history and styles; a landscaper has an broadened understanding of what might be possible in their garden designs.
17. Principles of Design and Planning Information- Garden design should be a systematic, logical process; and that process needs to incorporate principles that the designer properly understands and appreciates. This lesson provides a foundation for working through a proper and appropriate design process.
18. Drawing and Costs- Designing a garden requires an appreciation of cost (both cost of developing and also ongoing cost). It also requires an ability to communicate ideas via drawings (whether drawn by hand or electronically). Landscapers use plans to communicate with not only clients, but also sub contractors and other on site workers. Without a plan, the constructed landscape may simply not be as intended; and without drawing skills, a landscaper cannot create a plan.
19. Irrigation- This lesson builds on the irrigation studies in the first half of the course, helping you toward an understanding of how to design an irrigation system. Irrigation design on a large or sophisticated scale though, can be a specialist job that takes years to learn well. A single lesson will not make you into an irrigation designer, but it can bring you to a point where you can communicate properly with irrigation designers and installers.
20. Garden Designs- This lesson explores different types of designs and design features further.
21. Earthmoving and Drainage- Lean about basic surveying, including levelling; and ways of managing earthmoving to form the ground into an appropriate shape, to manage topsoil properly, and avoid mistakes that could result in soil degradation on a site after the landscaping work has been finished.
22. Materials- This lesson helps you understand the inert materials (eg. timber, stone, rock, gravel) that are used to create a landscape; so that you can better choose the materials to use, and understand how they should be used.
23. Paths, Walls and Fences- Explore the options for creating structural components including paths, fences, walls; and how they should be properly constructed.
24. Equipment- Learn more about both power tools and hand tools, building on what you started exploring in the first half of this course.
25. Water Features- Learn the options for using water in a landscape and explore how to plan a water garden.
26. Garden Art- A good landscaper needs to know the choices they have for creating features or focal points in a garden. One way of doing that is with plants, but another is using artwork such as statues, sundials, wall plaques or figurines. The  choice and placement of features can make or break a garden; and it is important for any student of landscaping to take time to consider the options in this respect. 
27. Landscaping for Sports and Games-  Not all landscapers need to consider catering for sports and games in all of their designs; but most will sooner or later, encounter a client who has a priority of catering for such activities. Whether public parks or small home gardens, the need for a basket ball ring or a place to kick a ball, may sooner or later become a demand.
28. Landscaping Management- This lesson considers how you should establish a contract with a client. The business end of landscaping is sometimes not as appealing as other aspects of the job; but without an understanding of contracting, a career or business can be significantly impaired.
29. Unions and Workers- Managing contractors or employees is something that can make or break the success of a landscape enterprise
30. Maintenance after Construction- Most landscape contractors will need to return to a project at some stage after completion; to undertake follow up work. Some firms provide an ongoing maintenance contract on their jobs; while other may simply do a follow up once only, to attend to any issues that have emerged. Either way; a well trained landscaper does need to understand a certain amount about maintenance.

Why Study this Course?
Everyone has a different reason. We have seen hundreds of successful graduates emerge from this course since we first started offering it over 15 years ago. (NB: It has been revised and updated several times over the years). Typical reasons include:
  • To get a start in the landscape or horticulture industry
  • To advance a career you have already started
  • To prepare for launching a landscaping business
Why Study Here
Ou knowledge of the landscaping industry goes back over 4 decades, and our tutors include some exceptionally knowledgeable and exceptional industry professionals.
John Mason, our principal, has designed over 1,000 gardens, written several landscaping books, run his own landscape businesses and been editor of several national landscaping and gardening magazines.
Gavin Cole has worked in landscape firms in both Australia and the UK, and even exhibited at the world renowned Chelsea Flower Show
We have tutors who have designed and built gardens from northern England through to Southern Australia. All of our tutors are professionally qualified with years of hands on practical experience.
Let us help you to develop a career or business in landscaping. Enrol today.
LIMITED TIME OFFER Only applies if you enrol on this page

Course Contributors

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

Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

Adriana has worked in horticulture since the 1980's. She has lived what she preaches - developing large gardens and growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs and making her own preserves.
In 1992 she formalised her training by graduating with a certif

Bob James (Horticulturist)

Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry.
He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Maste

Gavin Cole (Horticulturist)

Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. I

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