RHS level III Certificate in horticulture - Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting

This is one of a new generation of certificates launched by the Royal Horticultural Society in 2010 to replace older qualifications.

This vocationally-oriented course is designed to lay a foundation for a long-term career in horticulture by assessing knowledge of the principles underpinning horticultural practices. It supports the career development of those already working in horticulture and is best undertaken by those with training to Level II.

The course consists of approximately 200 hours of study in 15 lessons. It covers the four units set by the RHS as follows:

  1. Understaning garden survey techniques and design principles
  2. Understanding the selection and use of landscaping elements in the garden
  3. Understanding the setting out and construction of landscape elements in the garden
  4. Understanding a range of specialist elements in the establishment of garden and urban plantings

The first part of the RHS Level III Certificate in Horticulture can be found here.

To obtain the RHS Level III Certificate awarded by the RHS in England, the student needs to sit and pass written exams conducted under supervision and assessed by the RHS. Exams can be arranged to be sat anywhere in the world and are offered twice annually; in February and June.

A separate fee applies for exams; set by and paid to the RHS. A network of exam centres are located across the UK for students located in the UK. For students located elsewhere; a provision is made for exams to be conducted "under arrangements for exceptional supervision".

Those who want only to study the subject without sitting an exam are free to do so.

Working with Colin Elliott, an experienced professional horticulturist and garden designer, this CD-based course is your route to this highly respected and widely recognised qualification.

Students who successfully complete this course will be welcomed in all sectors of horticultural employment.

There are 15 lessons in the course:

    Unit 1 - Garden Survey Techniques and the Principles of Garden Design:

    Lesson 1 - History of Garden Design and Style
    Lesson 2 - Site Appraisals, Basic Surveying Techniques and Client Briefs
    Lesson 3 - Principles and Elements of Garden Design and the Influence of Site Characteristics

    Unit 2 - The Selection and Use of Landscaping Elements in the Garden:

    Lesson 4 - Hard Landscaping Features and their Contribution to Garden Design and Function
    Lesson 5 - The Function of Drainage Systems in the Garden
    Lesson 6 - Soft Landscaping Features and their Contribution to Garden Design and Function
    Lesson 7 - Turf and its Contribution to Garden Design and Function

    Unit 3 - Setting out and Construction of Landscaping Elements in the Garden; Risk Assessments

    Lesson 8 - Setting out a Site to Scale Plans and Drawings
    Lesson 9 - Earthworks, Soil Storage and Drainage Systems
    Lesson 10 - Landscape Construction Procedures and Materials
    Lesson 11 - Constructing Rock Gardens and Water Features

    Unit 4 - Specialist Elements in the Establishment of Garden and Urban Plantings:

    Lesson 12 - Amenity Bedding Schemes
    Lesson 13 - Specialist Garden Areas and Urban Garden Options
    Lesson 14 - Specialist Pruning Techniques Lesson 15 - Adapting Gardens for Water Sustainability

Each lesson ends with assignments to test your knowledge and reinforce your learning; these are sent to your tutor for marking and comments.


Course cost: £ 450 (single payment)

OR 2 payments of £ 245

Payment Method



  • ChelseaDesign & Landscape Centre at Chelsea
  • EccremocarpusEccremocarpus
  • CD'sCD's