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Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture – day-time (College certificate)

This qualification provides a route to employment in professional horticulture by assessing knowledge and providing the necessary skills to become a competent landscape gardener.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: Horticulture
Adult and Community
Location: Broomfield Hall
Full Time or Part Time: PT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 1
Interview Required?: Y
Weeks: 36
Hours: 3.00
Start: 10/09/2024
Tuition: £850.00
Broomfield Hall

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Course Information for Students

The Level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture focuses on developing the essential basic horticultural skills. These not only offer opportunities for employment, but also provide the foundation for further skills development at Levels 2 and 3.

By carefully focusing on key essential skills, it has been possible to develop a practical qualification that can be studied on a part-time basis, either during the day or in the evening. RHS theoretical and practical qualifications are offered separately in order to provide maximum flexibility to candidates, providers and employers. 

You need a Level 2 RHS or equivalent qualification, such as a Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture (Dist) or Subsidiary Diploma at Level 3. 

Unit 1 – Garden Surveying and Design

  • How to survey a garden.
  • How to take reduced levels and plot a cross section.
  • Carry out a site analysis.
  • Develop an understanding of design principles.
  • Draw up a garden to the client’s brief.
  • Appreciate the different garden design style over time.
  • An introduction to computer aided design.

Unit 2 – Soft Landscape

  • Use of plants in the landscape.
  • Trees and shrubs.
  • Designing an herbaceous border.
  • Designing an integrated rose garden.
  • Recommending design features to establish a permanent interior display.
  • Designing a sensory garden.

Unit 3 – Marking Out and Landscape Construction

  • Marking out a garden from a plan.
  • Being able to concrete an area and imprint the concrete.
  • Install an area of blockpaving.
  • Build a drystone wall.
  • Create a pergola.
  • Use wrought iron components to make an ornamental display.

NB – Normally we build a show garden at the NEC Gardeners’ World Live, so the skills may vary to meet the garden requirements.

This course will be delivered on-site.

You will need to provide your own:

  • Steel toe-capped boots
  • Secateurs
  • Writing materials

The course will be assessed throughout its duration to meet RHS criteria. You will be assessed by practical assessments and written assignments.

The written assessments include surveying and designing a private garden, designing an herbaceous border, and selecting plants suitable for an integrated rose garden.

The construction part is assessed by continual practical assessment.

After the course, students can progress to the HNC in Professional Gardening or complete the Level 3 Garden Planning unit.

For more information contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering the curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...

Horticultural Trades


Horticultural Trades

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DCG Success Stories

Former Derby College Horticulture student Steve Williams

Steve Williams

Derby College course pivotal for BBC show’s garden designer Steve

Going to Broomfield and continuing to learn helped me to connect the dots. Broomfield’s a beautiful site with historic gardens and I got on well with my lecturer Mike Baldwin.

Read More about Steve Williams

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Course Information Last Updated On: February 15, 2024 2:55 pm