RHS Theory

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

Sorry, there is currently no availability for this course, for further information on when there will be availability for this course, please feel free to contact us.

Enrol for this course

Please note that some places are still available for the Certificate in Garden Planning course starting at Ryton on 13th September and at Bampton on 14 September, although the last booking date has passed and the automatic booking has been removed; please contact our Administrator to book.


IMPORTANT NOTE:  the RHS suite of level 2 and 3 qualifications is changing and from September 2022 centres will be delivering the new format qualifications.

Those students who have completed one part of the current Diploma by September 2022 will be able to complete it using the new Certificate in Horticultural Principles, the new Certificate in Horticultural Practice, or the existing Certificate in Garden Planning  which can be offered by Centres for a further year.   We intend to offer the current Garden Planning Certificate in September 2021 and September 2022.

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.

 There is no equivalent Level 2 qualification for the RHS Garden Planning Certificate in the new courses, which is why it continues for a further year after the new syllabus is introduced.

Note: This course is also available as Distance Learning (Online and Correspondence options);  click  on the Course tabs below to find out more. It is also available at Ryton on Mondays from September 2021 combined with a City & Guilds Certificate giving you more practical experience of the design process in our new Diploma in Garden Planning and Practical Garden Design.

What will I study?

You will study four units, which make together make up this certificate: these are:

  • 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 provides you with a complete overview of the course.

How is it delivered and assessed?

This qualification is classroom based; teaching consists of lectures, practical demonstrations and plant identification sessions, with outdoor discussions where relevant. Each unit is assessed by a short written examination set by the Royal Horticultural Society in February and June each year.

There is no compulsory course work, but you will be given frequent opportunities to try sample examination questions to help you to prepare for examinations.

What qualification will I get?

When you have passed exams in all the units, the Royal Horticultural Society will award a Royal Horticultural Society 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)?

Tuition fees are £525.00, the RHS examination fees are £72.00, total payable £597.00 plus VAT @ 20% is £716.40. 

You can prepay £716.40 for your complete course, or you can secure your place on the course with a non-refundable booking fee, payable on enrolment, of 25% of the full cost of the course. This is payable as the first instalment of £184.10 (including VAT) and covers the registration and certification fees.

Please note: In the event of a place not being available or if the course does not run, the booking fee will be returned to you. 

The remainder of the course fees (£552.30 including  VAT and administration fees) should be paid by week 8 of the course; or if preferred in three equal instalments of £184.10 on weeks 8, 16 and 24 of the course.

You can ask us to set up a direct debit mandate when you book the course by saying 'yes' on the form and we will be pleased to send you a mandate form by email. Once this has been returned to us we can request payments from your bank on or about weeks 8, 16 and 24.

The course takes place at Bampton on a Tuesday morning, and at Ryton on a Saturday morning;  you may enrol for whichever centre is most convenient.

It can also be studied  on its own, or as part of the Diploma in Garden Planning and Practical Garden Design, on Mondays at Ryton. Click on the tab below for more information.

What is the enrolment process?

Complete the online enrolment form.

Please note course places are limited; completing the form does not guarantee that a place is available on the course you have chosen, our administrator will contact you to confirm your place. Shortly before the course begins you will be sent joining instructions.

What else do I need to know?

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).

What can I do after completing this course?

You can go on to study the second theory Certificate, The RHS Level 2 Certificate in Plant Growth, Propagation and Development, or the new Principles of Horticulture Certificate from September 2022.  Alternatively, you could undertake the new RHS Level 2 Practical Certificate in Horticulture.

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.

We also offer you the opportunity to continue your interest in garden design by adding to your theoretical knowledge with a practical City & Guilds qualification, our new Practical Garden Design Certificate. Click on the tab below for more information.