For a gorgeous garden throughout the seasons, you need to plan
Would you like to brighten dark winter days? Does your garden feel flat when summer ends? Suitable for home or professional gardeners, this course explores how to use good planting design to make the most of the seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter – and bring colour, shape and interest to a garden all year round. You will learn how to develop a planting design – from preparing a 5 year plan and a budget, to using colour, selecting plants, establishing an order of planting and ongoing maintenance. The course also examines in detail the unique aspects of each season and planting ideas to complement them, such as winter bedding, spring bulbs, annuals and biennials that come into their own in summer, and trees and shrubs bearing berries and fruit in autumn.
Your first set of course materials will be sent to you when you enrol. You can start as soon as you want and progress through the course at your own pace, studying when and where you choose.
This flexibility makes it easy to fit learning around work and family commitments.
The extensive course materials have been developed by gardening experts and are clear and straightforward, so your studying is easy and enjoyable. As you complete each lesson, your tutor will promptly return your marked assignment with constructive feedback and guidance. (You can also contact your tutor or the support team for help at any point during your studies.)
The course includes all the required study materials.
There is no formal examination. On successful completion you will be awarded an HCC Certificate. You have 2 years to complete the course.
We are proud of our friendly, caring ethos and aim to do all we can to help you succeed.
Our tutors are all experienced, highly qualified and passionate about sharing their love of their subject. You can phone or email your tutor throughout the course – to ask questions, for advice, encouragement or to draw on their wealth of knowledge.
You can also contact the support team who are here to help you Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Lesson 1 – An introduction to planting design; site; planning; budgets; maintenance and plant data.
Lesson 2 – Overcoming limitations; plants for the site; integrating house, landscape and plants; hard landscape; plant design.
Lesson 3 – Developing the planting design: details of a five year plan; preparing a budget and planning; using computers for planting design; charts and colour use in planting design; choosing plant material; establishing an order of planting; ongoing maintenance.
Lesson 4 – Autumn and the yearly cycle; sun, shadow, wind, rain; sound and movement; water, lighting and hard landscape; four seasonal gardens; herbaceous perennials and biennials; flowers and fruit; a potager; wildlife in the autumn garden; ferns, fungi and moss; trees and shrubs with berries and fruit; herbaceous plants and ornamental grasses; bulbs and corms for autumn flowering.
Lesson 5 – Britain in winter; sun, rain, snow and ice; winter weather and the landscape; scale; microclimate effects; shelter; water and ice – ice sculpture; food plants for people; winter bedding.
Lesson 6 – Winter into spring; the landscape in spring; planning a spring garden; developing a planting strategy; spring bulbs and bedding; pre-vernal herbaceous plants; spring flowering trees and shrubs; foliage and stems; using the glasshouse; spring maintenance.
Lesson 7 – Annual and biennial plants; tender perennials; succulents; summer bedding; using the glasshouse; summer maintenance.
Lesson 8 – Herbaceous perennials, traditional views; integrating herbaceous perennials in the garden; ornamental grasses, form and function; mixed planting of herbaceous perennials and grasses; dry gardens; ideas for lawns; maintenance.
Lesson 9 – Trees and shrubs to create scale and enclosure; trees in parks and gardens and mixed borders; the use of trees and shrubs in rock gardens; the meaning of plantings in oriental gardens; the Mediterranean garden; roses; hedges.
Lesson 10 – Water in the landscape and in the garden; water ecology; designing with water; sculpture and water as a sculptural element; design solutions; climbing plants, form and function; designing with climbing plants; wall plants.
If needed you have 2 years to complete the course. Many students are able to complete this course in approximately 6-12 months*.
*Timescales are approximate and depend upon application and motivation.
There are no exams. On successful completion of this course you will receive an HCC Certificate*, graded to show the standard you have reached. The HCC’s reputation means this can be highly regarded on a CV and, combined with your portfolio of coursework, is evidence of your achievements (whether you are applying for a job or a more advanced study course).
* The HCC Certificate will be issued once you have successfully completed your course and finished your course payments.
RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development
RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance
The Principles of Gardening
Start Gardening – the Basics and Beyond
You do not need previous gardening knowledge or experience to enrol on this course.