Certificate in Social Horticulture

Course CodeVHT072
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

Learn how Horticulture Can be Used as a Tool for Social Improvement

A certificate that brings together biophilia, social planning, health care and horticulture.

Consider how good horticultural design and practice supports individuals and communities. Parks, playgrounds, community gardens and sports grounds are just some of the many horticultural facilities that are key parts of the modern social fabric. When you study and understand horticulture from a social perspective, your capacity to work with horticulture can open up possibilities you may not have even considered previously.

This course can be used as either a foundation to work in social horticulture.
You may already have a background in social services, or in horticulture. Whatever perspective you are coming from; this course has the potential to expand the way you view work possibilities and expand your prospects for the future.

Learn How Horticulture Relates to Society

Use this Course to explore the very important relationship between the human condition and horticulture.

Gardens can strongle affect the psychology of individuals (i.e. their state of mind), and ways in which people relate to each othe,r both individually and within groups.  By planning for and growing plants in places where we live; we have the ability to enhance many aspects of our existence.

  • Social expectations and preconceptions. Home and public gardens are influenced by preconceived ideas and ‘normal’ expectations. (For example, a local park might contain playground equipment because that is a preconception of what should be in a park –rather than because a particular need has been investigated and established. Similarly, in many places, home gardens contain lawns, mainly because everyone just expects a garden to have a lawn. Maybe other options have not even been considered). People expect their neighbourhoods to look a certain way and contain certain facilities. If people are used to having lots of parks around, they will expect new estates to contain parks, but if they are used to living in concrete jungles, their expectations may not be so high. If they are used to communities where lawns are mown and gardens are well maintained, they will complain if the council doesn’t keep the roadsides neat, or if gardens become over-run with weeds. Often the determining factor is not that people need a park, or in fact even use a park, but simply that they expect a park.

  • Demographics. Areas with lots of children may require different facilities to areas with lots of elderly people. Accessibility is an increasingly important concern for persons in wheelchairs, mothers with prams, or other people with mobility problems. 

  • Safety issues. People need to feel safe. Good landscape design and proper maintenance minimises risk of injury. Consider hand rails, ramps, path widths, evenness of surfaces, hard or soft ground surfaces, and drainage problems (surfaces should not be slippery).

  • User conflicts.  Boundaries between properties are always sensitive zones. When one area imposes upon another, potential for conflict between neighbours can develop (e.g. unwelcome smells or views, overhanging branches, damaging roots, chemical spray drift). Well designed facilities discourage conflict, but poor design or inadequate provision may foster conflict. If a toddler play area is located beside a skate board track, toddlers may feel intimidated by older, very active children. Hidden areas may encourage violent attacks, but properly designed facilities give undesirables no place to hide. Properly maintained areas similarly help avoid conflict.

  • Security. Lighting in public parks may be important. In some communities, certain facilities may be best locked up at night or have security measures in place (e.g. burglar alarms, fencing, security patrols). Poor design may provide hiding places for criminals. Lack of fencing and easy access may increase the risk of vandalism.

  • Tourism and the community. Amenity horticulture can contribute in a very significant way to the overall image of an area. Well kept street trees, attractive home gardens and parks, baskets of flowering plants hanging on lamp posts, well maintained gardens surrounding public buildings … these and other such things all contribute to the image both local people and visitors alike will have and hold.

  • Psychological significance. Being surrounded by plants has a positive effect on a person’s state of mind. Not only can horticulture have a general stress releasing effect, but different types of gardens can create different types of effects upon the psyche of those who view them. Warm colours (e.g. lots of red and yellow flowering plants) will create a sense of vibrancy and activity, while cool colours (e.g. masses of blue and green) can have a relaxing effect on the psyche.


  • Garden Designers
  • Horticultural Therapists
  • Planners and Architects
  • Gardeners, horticulturists, Social Workers or anyone else wishing to broaden and deepen their awareness and skills.


It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!