RHS Theory

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

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

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 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: This course is also available as Distance Learning and Distance Correspondence options; click here to find out more. 

What will I study?

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

  • 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?

This qualification is classroom based; teaching consists of lectures and practical demonstrations 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 the opportunity to try sample examination questions if you are going to take the examination.

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)?

Tuition fees are £588, the RHS examination fees are £112.00, total payable £700 plus VAT @ 20% is £840.00. 

This can be paid in four instalments of £213.25, which includes an overall administration fee of £13.

Courses will take place at the Ryton Centre.

The course runs on Saturdays for 27 weeks, from 13.30 pm to 16.30 pm;  you can download a timetable here.

What is the enrolment process?

Complete the online enrolment form by clicking on the green 'Enrol for this Course' button above.

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 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 develop your interest in a garden design with our Practical Garden Design Course. Click on the tab below for more information.