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Duration (approx) 700 hours
Qualification Certificate
Special Offer.  Study horticulture and permaculture - learn about plants, garden design, and landscape design, and much more.

  • This detailed certificate course enables you to study permaculture and horticulture.
  • Comprehensive training for people working or wishing to work in horticulture with a particular emphasis on the design, development and management of productive natural garden systems.






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Study horticulture and permaculture with this comprehensive course. Special Offer.



Study Permaculture and Horticulture in this intensive certificate covering the principles of permaculture and the fundamentals of horticulture. 

These studies provide you with an important broad based understanding of horticulture which greatly improves your ability to design effective permaculture systems.

These studies also broaden the employment prospects of graduates enabling them to seek employment in areas such as nurseries, landscaping and garden management. You will not only know about Permaculture systems, you will know how to integrate the two together, making you a valuable consultant to the Horticulture industry.

Graduates may find employment in either general horticulture, or in areas servicing permaculture or natural gardening (eg. Garden/system design, plant nurseries, teaching, consulting, etc). Half of the course is identical to the Permaculture courses outlined previously, and the other half provides a broad, general foundation in horticultural practices. This course was compiled to cover all components of the Permaculture Institute's Permaculture Design Certificate curriculum (the equivalent of 72 hrs of study).

Graduates of this course are awarded PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATE by your tutor (as is normal practice in the permaculture industry).


The course is divided into 2 main areas, consisting of:

1.The CORE UNITS common to all streams of the Certificate in Horticulture:
(i.e. Introduction to plants, Plant Culture, Soils & nutrition, Pests, diseases and weeds and Introductory propagation).

This comprises the 3 units:

Module details are given below; follow the links in the module titles for further information on each.

Enrolment fees do not include exam fees  (You need to sit 2 exams for the core, and one for each of the stream modules = 5 in total)


CORE UNITS (more details)

1. Introduction to Plants

  • Nomenclature and taxonomy,
  • he plant kingdom,
  • genus, species, hybrids.

2. Parts of the Plant

  • How plants grow, plant structure,
  • parts of the flower and leaf,
  • modification of stems and roots.

3. Plant Culture - Planting

  • How to plant and protect newly planted specimens,
  • terms like: annuals, biennials, perennials, deciduous, evergreen and herbaceous plants.

4. Plant Culture - Pruning

  • Purpose for pruning,
  • rules for pruning,
  • how to prune.

5. Plant Culture - Irrigation and Machinery

  • Different irrigation systems,
  • components of an irrigation system,
  • designing an irrigation system, selection,
  • use and maintenance of machinery and tools.

6. Soils & Media

  • Soil classifications,
  • testing soil,
  • potting mixes,
  • the U.C. System, ingredients of potting mixes.

7. Soils & Nutrition

  • Fertilisers
  •  deficiencies and toxicities,
  • N:P:K ratios,
  • salting,
  • fertiliser programming,
  • compost.

8. Propagation - Seeds & Cuttings

  • How to propagate plants by seed and cuttings,
  • propagating mixes,
  • cold frame construction,
  • after care for young plants.

9. Propagation - Other Techniques

  • Other methods to increase plant numbers
  • budding, grafting, layering, division and tissue culture.

10. Identification and Use of Plants

  • How are plants used in the landscape,
  • how to choose and purchase plants,
  • selecting plants suitable for the climate and site.

11. Identification and Use of Plants

  • Problems with plants
  • choosing plants for problem sites.

12. Identification and Use of Plants

  • Indoor and tropical plants, flowers, herbs, bulbs, ferns.

13. Pests

  • Identifying and controlling pests,
  • chemical and natural methods for control,
  • chemical safety precautions.

14. Diseases

  • Identifying and controlling diseases,
  • plant pathology,
  • fungi, viruses, non-pathogenic problems,
  • interactions with the host and the environment.

15. Weeds

  • Identifying and controlling weeds,
  • chemical terminology.



Module 1  Permaculture Systems

The course is divided into 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Permaculture Principles
  2. Natural Systems
  3. Zone & Sector Planning
  4. Permaculture Techniques
  5. Animals in Permaculture
  6. Plants in Permaculture
  7. Appropriate Technologies
  8. Preparing a Plan



  • To apply the principles of permaculture.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of natural systems.
  • To apply permaculture techniques - involving zones and sector planning.
  • To use a range of permaculture techniques: (forest plantings, mandala gardens, etc.).



Module 2   Advanced Permaculture
There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Evaluating Design Strategies

2. Understanding Patterns

3. Water

4. Earthworks

5. Humid Tropics

6. Dry Climates

7. Temperate to Cold Climates

8. Planning Work

9. Costing

10. Sustainable Systems



  • Evaluate appropriate design strategies for a specific development site.
  • Explain the relationship between a Permaculture system and natural patterns occurring in your local area.
  • Develop strategies for the management of water in a Permaculture design.
  • Determine earthworks for the development of a Permaculture system.
  • Design a Permaculture system for the humid tropics.
  • Design a Permaculture system for a dry climate.
  • Design a Permaculture system for a temperate to cold climate.
  • Determine planning strategies for the development of a Permaculture system.
  • Prepare cost estimates for a Permaculture development plan.
  • Explain alternative sustainable systems practiced in various places around the world.

MODULE 3 (Stream - Elective Module)

You can choose any of the school's 100 hour modules so long as it is relevant module (for this final stream study module).

Appropriate modules would be:

Upon completion of the course you will be awarded a Permaculture Design Certificate by your tutor and a Certificate in Horticulture (Permaculture).

Please get in touch. Our Permaculture Tutors are happy to help.



Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

Meet some of our academics

John MasonMr Mason has worked 45+ years in Writing, Education, Horticulture and Recreation. His experience in both public & private sectors is extensive; particularly across Australia and England.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Bob James B.Sc.,M.Env.Mgt.Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC, M.Enviro.Mgt.

Check out our eBooks

EucalyptsExtensive guide to understanding Eucalypts, Corymbia and Angophora
Garden Design Part 1The Garden Design ebook part 1 is an essential handbook for students and landscape professionals. A foundation guide to garden design, this book provides stunning full illustrations to demonstrate tips and examples on garden design, functional uses and aesthetics. Some topics that are covered in this ebook include 1/ Introduction to Garden Design, 2/ Appropriateness of garden design, 3/ Creating an impact, 4/ Designing to a budget, 5/ Choosing plants, 6/ Using the garden, 7/ Where the garden meets the house, 8/ Making the winter garden more comfortable, 9/ Gardens for children, 10/The secure home and garden, 11/ Lighting a garden, 12/ Dealing with shade, 13/ Garden Art, 14/ Pots and planters, 15/ Colour in the garden, 16/ Applications for colour and 17/ Garden furniture.
Garden Design Part 2Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. The Garden Design Part 2 ebook is ideal for students and landscaping professionals. Brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. Topics covered in this ebook include 18/ (Continuing on from Garden Design 1) Surfacing ideas, 19/ Garden arches, pergolas & pavilions, 20/ Dealing with confined spaces, 21/ Water gardens, 22/ Using plants in the garden, 23/ Formal gardens, 24/ Natural gardens, 25/ Rainforest gardens, 26/ Coastal gardens, 27/ Cottage gardens, 28/ Late Victorian/Edwardian gardens, 29/ Oriental gardens, 30/ Mediterranean gardens, 31/ Mexican style, 32/ Minimalist landscape design and 33/ Eclectic gardens.
Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.