RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting

Full CourseLocationPrice
RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and PlantingHome£372.00
Course ModulesPrice
(DL) Level 3GP Individual unit 1: Garden Survey Techniques and Design Principles£99.00
(DL) Level 3GP Individual unit 2: Selection and Use of Landscaping Elements in the Garden£99.00
(DL) Level 3GP Individual unit 3:Setting Out and Construction of Landscaping Elements in the Garden£99.00
(DL) Level 3GP Individual unit 4: Specialist Elements in Garden and Urban Plantings£99.00

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This means that we can continue to offer the Level 3 Plant Growth Certificate  in 2021-22 before it is superseded by the new theory certificate in September 2022, and  the current Level 3 Garden Planning Certificate for study in 2022-23.

 The new format for Level 3 will  now include one theory Certificate (Garden and Designed Landscape Management) and a  new practical Certificate, which together will form an Advanced Certificate. There is currently no proposed Certificate in Plant Science. A research project can be added to achieve a Level 3 Diploma. 

Also it will normally be necessary to complete the two level 2 Certificates before starting level 3.

Embarking on either the Level 3 Plant Growth or Garden Planning Certificates in 2021 will allow you to continue to complete the Diploma in its present format, using either the current or the new Practical Certificate as the third element.  However each certificate will be at least 150 hours of study, so please make sure you are prepared to take exams before their final round (probably 2024/25 for Garden Planning).

A level 3 qualification from the RHS can help you to move upwards in your horticultural career. The National Trust and many other employers require level 3 qualifications for supervisory roles, and the RHS qualification builds on Level 2 skills to focus on a deeper understanding of horticulture, and on more professional techniques. Keen gardeners can challenge themselves, and develop their skills to a professional level. 

This current course looks at garden history and design principles, the planning of private gardens and public spaces, and includes an outline of setting out and construction for hard landscaping; it builds up plant knowledge for a wide range of planting styles and contemporary garden situations. 

Note: The current course is also available as a Distance Correspondence option but students are advised to consider that there is now a limited time in which to achieve their qualification; click on the tabs below for more information.

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 Survey Techniques and Design Principles
Selection and Use of Landscaping Elements in the Garden
Setting Out and Construction of Landscaping Elements in the Garden
A Range of Specialist Elements in the Establishment of Garden and Urban Plantings

What is covered?

Click here for the RHS Level 3 Syllabus which provides you with a complete overview of the course.

How is it delivered and assessed?

Online study through a “virtual classroom” 

There is a dedicated online space for each unit, which you share with other students on your course. 

You can download all your notes and presentations to read on or offline, view interactive materials and ‘self-test’ quizzes, contact the course tutor by internal messaging for feedback and support, upload practice exam papers and questions for marking, and get in touch with other students. 

Click here to enter the teaching website and see some examples of course materials in a sample online classroom.


What qualification will I get?

When you have passed exams in all the units, the Royal Horticultural Society will award a Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting.

If you successfully complete the other theory Certificate, and the RHS Level 3 Practical Certificate in Horticulture as well, the RHS will award you a Level 3 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. You can download most of the course materials, print them out if you prefer, or take them with you on a tablet on your daily commute.

You can buy each unit separately at £99 (£82.50 + VAT), or the full Certificate (four units) is £372 (£310 + VAT)

These course costs do not include RHS examination fees  (currently £27 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.


What is the enrolment process?

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

For online courses, your username and password should be emailed to you automatically; please check spam filters if you do not see an email within an hour, and contact us if nothing has arrived overnight.


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 if you are going to take 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 enrolment gives you online access and tutor support for two years,  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 second theory Certificate, the RHS Level 3 Certificate in Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation. Alternatively, you could undertake the RHS Level 3 Practical Certificate in Horticulture, which is assessed rather than examination- based qualification, and work towards the  full RHS Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. 

An RHS Level 3 qualification is well respected in the horticultural industry and can help with career progression to a supervisory role for National Trust and many other employers.

After completing your studies at Level 3 you might want to consider the RHS’s own Master of Horticulture, a degree-level qualification which is suitable if you are already employed in horticulture with supervisory experience, or a horticultural degree at a British university.

We also offer you the opportunity to pursue an interest in a garden design with our Practical Garden Design Course. Click  on the tabs below for more information.