Suitable for home or professional gardeners, this course explores how to use good planting design to make the most of the seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter – and bring colour, shape and interest to a garden all year round.
Your first set of course materials will be sent to you when you enrol. You can start as soon as you want and progress through the course at your own pace (you have 2 years to complete it), studying when and where you choose. As you complete each lesson, your tutor will promptly return your marked assignment with constructive feedback and guidance.
Lesson 1 – An introduction to planting design; site; planning; budgets; maintenance and plant data.
Lesson 2 – Overcoming limitations; plants for the site; integrating house, landscape and plants; hard landscape; plant design.
Lesson 3 – Developing the planting design: details of a five year plan; preparing a budget and planning; using computers for planting design; charts and colour use in planting design; choosing plant material; establishing an order of planting; ongoing maintenance.
Lesson 4 – Autumn and the yearly cycle; sun, shadow, wind, rain; sound and movement; water, lighting and hard landscape; four seasonal gardens; herbaceous perennials and biennials; flowers and fruit; a potager; wildlife in the autumn garden; ferns, fungi and moss; trees and shrubs with berries and fruit; herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses; bulbs and corms for autumn flowering.
Lesson 5 – Britain in winter; sun, rain, snow and ice; winter weather and the landscape; scale; microclimate effects; shelter; water and ice – ice sculpture; food plants for people; winter bedding.
Lesson 6 – Winter into spring; the landscape in spring; planning a spring garden; developing a planting strategy; spring bulbs and bedding; pre-vernal herbaceous plants; spring flowering trees and shrubs; foliage and stems; using the glasshouse; spring maintenance.
Lesson 7 – Annual and biennial plants; tender perennials; succulents; summer bedding; using the glasshouse; summer maintenance.
Lesson 8 – Herbaceous perennials, traditional views; integrating herbaceous perennials in the garden; ornamental grasses, form and function; mixed planting of herbaceous perennials and grasses; dry gardens; ideas for lawns; maintenance.
Lesson 9 – Trees and shrubs to create scale and enclosure; trees in parks and gardens and mixed borders; the use of trees and shrubs in rock gardens; the meaning of plantings in oriental gardens; the Mediterranean garden; roses; hedges.
Lesson 10 – Water in the landscape and in the garden; water ecology; designing with water; sculpture and water as a sculptural element; design solutions; climbing plants, form and function; designing with climbing plants; wall plants.
Successfully complete this course and you will achieve the HCC Certificate*.
* The HCC Certificate will be issued once you have successfully completed your course and finished your course payments.
Throughout your training, you will be able to ask questions, receive feedback and further develop your knowledge by contacting our experienced tutors by phone or email.
You do not need previous gardening knowledge or experience to enrol on this course.
If needed you have 2 years to complete the course. Many students are able to complete this course in approximately 6-12 months*.
*Timescales are approximate and depend upon application and motivation.
Successfully complete this course and:
RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development
RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance
The Principles of Gardening
Start Gardening – the Basics and Beyond
To enrol, you can either: