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

This is the last opportunity to study the 'old' Level 3 Certificate in Garden Planning, Construction and Planting in a classroom; it  will continue to be available online and as a correspondence course  up to March 2023, and examinations will take place in February and June 2024 and February 2025.

Elements of the 'New'  RHS qualifications can be combined back with 'old' Level 3 Certificates to complete the 'old' Level 3 Diploma as long as all parts are completed by July 2025; 'old' Level 3 Certificates cannot be combined forwards into the 'New' Level 3 Diploma, which will consist on one practical and one theory certificate, and one award - a research project whose details have not been finalised yet(September 2023).

You should enrol on this Certificate if you want to complete a Level 3 Diploma and

  • you have already completed a Level 3 Practical Certificate + the Level 3 Certificate in Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation
  • you have already completed a Level 3 Practical Certificate + you intend to complete the 'New' Level 3 Certificate in Plant Growth, Garden Planning and Applied Propagation by July 2025 (exams in February, June and October 2024 and February and June 2025)
  • you have completed Level 3 Certificate in Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation + you are taking the 'New' Practical Certificate in 2023-24 OR 2024-25.

A transition plan between old and new certificates is now available on the RHS website.

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. 


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 but as it is a final opportunity for students to take this Certificate it will run on alternate weeks of classroom teaching /directed study or zoom as agreed with the group, to reduce the amount of travelling. 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.  February 2025 will be the last possible chance to sit these exams.

There is no compulsory course work, but you will be given frequent opportunities to work on past examination questions to prepare you for the exams.

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.

What is the cost and venue(s)?

The course will run at North Moreton in 2023-24, from 13.30 - 16.30  - starting on 20/9/2023 at the Village Hall and alternating classroom sessions with zoom or directed study as agreed.

Tuition fees are £730, the RHS examination fees are £120.00,  total payable £850.

You can prepay £850 for your complete course, or you can secure your place on the course with a non-refundable booking fee payable when you enrol on the course of 25% of the full cost of the course plus an administration charge ( £217.50 payable as the first instalment). This covers the exam registration fees and secures your place on the course.

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

The remainder of the course fees can be

 paid in three equal instalments of £217.50, on weeks 8, 16 and 24  (including an administration fee of £5.00 for each instalment). You will receive statements of account during your course but we do not sent  out specific reminders for staged payments.
You can ask us to set up a direct debit mandate when you book the course by indicating 'yes' on the enrolment 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 .

Course dates are in the timetable which you can download here.

What is the enrolment process?

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

What else do I need to know?

Our candidates enjoy a high level of success in  these RHS examinations, with over 80% 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 could undertake the new RHS Level 3 Practical Certificate in Horticulture, which is assessed  by one Practical Competence Assessment with an RHS assessor, including a professional discussion; and by an OCA (Online Competence Assessment) which is an online multiple choice examination. If you are working towards the 'old' RHS Level 3 Diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture, you could also consider the new RHS Level 3 Certificate in Plant Growth, Planning and Applied Propagation. 

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 or DIY Garden Design online. Click on the tabs below for more information.