Correspondence Courses

RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance

Full CourseLocationPrice
RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and MaintenanceHome£444.00
Course ModulesPrice
(DC) Level 2GP Individual unit 1: Garden features, plant selection and planning£126.00
(DC) Level 2GP Individual unit 2: Establishment and maintenance of plants and lawns£126.00
(DC) Level 2GP Individual unit 3: Production of outdoor vegetables and fruit£126.00
(DC) Level 2GP Individual unit 4: Protected environments and the use in cultivation£126.00

Enrol for this course or module

We have new information from the RHS in January 2021 that the current suite of RHS qualifications at levels 2 and 3 will NOT now be replaced in centres until September 2022.

This means that we can continue to offer the Level 2 Plant Growth Certificate online in 2021-22 before it is superseded by the new Level 2 Principles of Horticulture in September 2022.

We can also offer the current Garden Planning Certificate for study in 2022-23.  Exams  in both Certificates will finish in February 2024.

 The most recent RHS information ( 10/3/2021) on final deadlines for achieving these qualifications is aimed at centres delivering them, not at distance learners studying independently, so we may have to change our advice when we can get clarification, but our current interpretation is that:

To be able to achieve the Certificates, you will need to register for your first examination NO LATER than  the February 2022 session for Plant Growth, but for your first exam in Garden Planning you can register up to February 2023. If you are not registered for these sessions you will not be able to achieve the RHS Level 2 Diploma.

There is no equivalent Level 2 qualification for the RHS Garden Planning Certificate in the new courses. This is why it will run for one additional year. 

Note: This course may also be studied at our Ryton and Bampton centres, and as an online course. From September 2021 it can also be taken at Ryton or Bampton as part of a combined Diploma in Garden Design (with practical design units from City & Guilds).

Level 2 qualifications from the RHS can be the first step in changing to a career in horticulture, and an accepted route into the horticultural profession for National Trust and many other employers.

The current RHS Garden Planning Certificate is an ideal course for adult beginners or keen gardeners who want to broaden their knowledge. It introduces you to the basics of garden planning and planting: how to survey a site, choose and grow plants suitable for different situations, grow fruit and vegetables in the garden and under cover.

What will I study?

Each RHS Certificate is made up of four individual units: you can work through them in turn, or you can just study single units that interest you.

  • Garden features, plant selection and planning
  • Choice, establishment and maintenance of garden plants and lawns
  • Production of outdoor vegetables and fruit
  • Protected environments and their use in plant cultivation

What is covered?

Click here for the RHS Level 2 Syllabus which provide you with a complete overview of the course.

How is it delivered and assessed?

Correspondence course 

We will send you full-colour printed course materials, plus a revision workbook test paper,  for each unit. Your tutor can be contacted via email to support you in your studies, marking your revision workbook and mock examination papers to give you feedback and help you to prepare for examinations. You will also have access to the online classroom as a backup, to get reminders about examinations and to network with other students.


The theory Certificates are assessed by national exams set by the RHS each year in February and June. Each unit has its own  short written exam.

We do not enter you for the examinations, but we will make you aware through the online classroom of exam dates and deadlines and your tutor will give you guidance on whether you are ready to take the exams. 

What qualification will I get?

When you have passed exams in all the units, the Royal Horticultural Society will award a Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.

If you successfully complete the other theory Certificate, you will be awarded the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture; and when you successfully complete the RHS Level 2 Practical Certificate in Horticulture as well, the RHS will award you a Level 2 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture.

What is the cost and venue(s)?

Study at home, or whenever and wherever it suits you, with your full colour printed course books.

Individual units are  £126 each (£105 + VAT) or the full Certificate is  £444 (£370 + VAT)

These course costs do not include RHS examination fees  (currently £18 per unit). 

These are paid to the RHS by the Centre where you choose to take your exams, and while we offer our students the facility to take exams at our Ryton and North Moreton, these may not be the most convenient locations for you. You can arrange to take examinations at any Centre which offers your specific exam and which will accept an external candidate.  The RHS website gives guidance on finding an exam centre.

NOTE:  From 2021 all students enrolling on RHS courses may need to be entered for RHS examinations at the start of their course; we are waiting for confirmation.

What is the enrolment process?

You can enrol and buy your chosen units on the website using PayPal.

Correspondence materials will be sent out to you within a week, with contact information for your course tutor. You will also be sent details of how to log in to the online classrooms.

What else do I need to know?

There is no compulsory course work, but you will be given the opportunity to try practice examination questions to prepare yourself for the examinations.

Our candidates enjoy a high level of success in RHS examinations, with over 90% passing on the first attempt and approximately half of those, passing with commendation (that means they achieve 70% or more in the exam).

Your course notes are yours to keep; your enrolment gives you tutor support for two years, with access to the online classrooms,  or until the final examinations which the RHS hold for this form of the Certificate.

What can I do after completing this course?

You can go on to study the Level 2 theory Certificate in Plant Growth. You could also undertake the  RHS Level 2 Practical Certificate in Horticulture. If you have begun your studies with this current Certificate you will also be able to use the new qualifications to complete a Level 2 Diploma.

An RHS Level 2 qualification is well respected in the horticultural industry and can be the first step in changing to a career in horticulture. It is an accepted route into the horticultural profession for National Trust and many other employers.

After completing your studies at Level 2 you can progress on to an RHS Level 3 qualification.