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Duration (approx) 2500 hours
Qualification Advanced Diploma

 An outstanding Landscaping Course from ACS


  • The best training you are likely to find for working as an elite garden designer. Outstanding learning is of course only part of what makes a landscape designer exceptional. You also need a flair for design, a passion for gardens and a practical touch (including some management and business abilities).
  • This course works hard at developing all of these capabilities, as much as any course can; and provides interaction with leading landscape professionals in both Australia and the UK.

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Study landscaping, landscape construction, plant establishment and more

  • Exceptional training for Landscape Professionals
  • Work as a garden designer; planner, landscape architect.  horticulturist, consultant, contractor or specialist
  • Develop and supply services or products for the landscape industry
  • Course Duration - 2,500 hours of self paced learning - 3 years full time or longer part time.

This course comprises 25 modules. These modules are best undertaken in the order outlined below.

Students studying more than ten hours a week however are advised to take two or 5 more modules at a time (In for every 10 hours per week or part thereof). 

Exams should be taken after submitting the final assignment for each module. Exams can be undertaken anywhere in the world. Exam fees are an additional cost, payable each time you apply to sit an exam. The Industry Meetings and Workshop modules do not require exams. As such, you need to sit a total of 22 exams. If an exam is failed, you have unlimited options to reapply and resit exams until they are passed (but a new exam fee applies with each application).

Module 1. Landscaping I

Module 2. Horticulture I

Module 3. Landscaping II

Module 4. Landscaping III (Landscape Styles)

Module 5. Plant Establishment and Selection

Module 6. Landscape Construction

Module 7. Horticulture II

Module 8. Horticulture & Research I

Module 9. Water Gardening

Module 10. Playground Design

Module 11. Planning Layout and Construction of Ornamental Gardens

Module 12. Cottage Garden Design

Module 13. Permaculture Systems

Module 14. Horticultural Management

Module 15. Natural Garden Design

Module 16. Project Management

Module 17. Restoring Established Ornamental Gardens

Module 18. Horticulture & Research II

Module 19. Workshop I

Modules 20 and 21. Two relevant electives from horticulture or another area of study of value to people working in landscaping. For example … Advanced Permaculture; Irrigation – gardens; Trees for Rehabilitation; Horticultural Marketing; Plant Ecology; Conifers; Roses; Perennials; Australian Natives I; Tropical Plants; Photoshop; Starting a Small Business, Amenity Horticulture I.

Module 22 Workshop 2

Module 23 Industry Meetings 100 hrs

Modules 24 Professional Practice for Consultants

Module 25 One module chosen from: Operational Business Management I or Water Conservation & Management or Photoshop

This Diploma incorporates the Diploma in Landscaping VHT025 (Which equates with modules 1 to 21). As such, an alternative is to undertake the Diploma first, then upgrade to the Advanced Diploma by completing modules 22 to 25 later on.
Upon completing this Advanced Diploma, it is possible to upgrade to further qualifications through our UK school. For these options contact our UK office.





Proper Use of Plants in Landscaping
There are two main parts to garden or landscape design and development. One is the way you put together the non living things (eg. wood, stone, gravel, soil), and the other is how you put together the plants.
Some landscapers do the non living things (ie, hard landscaping) well; but fall down with the use of plants.
Other landscapers use the plants well (ie soft landscaping), but are never as good as they could be with hard landscaping
Few landscapers are really good at both. If you aspire to be good at both; this is the course for you. It lays a very sound foundation for you to realize your full potential with both hard and soft landscaping.
What is involved with Soft Landscaping?
There are thousands of different plants that are used in gardens; and to use them appropriately, and create predictable results, you need to learn about enough different plants to create the affects that you need to create. For a good landscaper, this would normally mean over one thousand different plants, and perhaps several thousand. This is not something you learn overnight; but this course should get your plant knowledge up to that level -along with everything else you need to learn.
1. Shade
Plant shade trees where they will do the most good, consider strength of branches, nature of root system, etc. proximity to buildings and other structures (i.e. Branches may fall and cause damage, roots may do damage). Also consider density of foliage. Some trees will provide a very heavy shade others will only provide a light shading.
2. Enframement
A view or feature is framed by careful placement of trees e.g. Place trees in front of the two corners of a lawn or building.
3. Screening
Trees can be used to block distant views, enhancing other views which are left open. They may also screen the effect of winds and other environmental conditions.
4. Growth Rate and Size
Always consider the growth rate and eventual size. How long will it be before an intended effect is achieved? What will the effect be in the meantime? (NB: With some slow growing trees it may take 50 years for the eventual effect to be achieved).
1. Enframement
Shrubs are frequently used in combination with trees, buildings or fences, to frame a view into or away from a landscape.
2. Screening
Large shrubs can screen unwanted views either completely breaking the view (with dense foliage), or partially breaking the view (with see through foliage).
3. Accent
Accent is achieved through a visual break in the sequence or pattern of planting. It is used to create a dramatic effect and focus attention upon one particular part of a landscape. If an accent is to work properly, it must be strong e.g. A gap in the centre of a row of plants is a weak accent if it is only a slightly greater spacing than the normal spacing between those plants, but is a strong accent if it is a much larger space.
Ground cover is a term which could encompass any number of different types of plants. There are generally two main types....
  •    Lawn substitutes
  •    Ornamental ground covers
  •    Vines or creepers can grow in the following ways...
    • Twining...vertical twisting growth; supports needed; these can become top heavy (eg. passionfruit).
    • Tendrils...suckers which cling on to walls or fences (eg. Ivy)
    • Weaving...young shoots wrap through older branches (eg. Jasmine).
    • Leaning.. climbing shoots may grow up against a structure (or tree).





Landscaping Career Opportunities
Landscaping is exciting, creative and technical.
A good landscaper for the future needs to be part artist, part scientist, part businessman; and perhaps a whole lot more.
In the past, working in landscaping was simple involving either designing gardens or constructing gardens. Today it is a lot more complicated; and in the future, the industry may become even more complicated. With complexity comes opportunity though -so long as you are prepared to embrace it.
This course prepares you to embrace those future opportunities in landscaping!
We all know that the world is changing fast. This is evident in everyday life, in business, in industry, and in our personal lives. Almost every week we are offered new and more sophisticated technology to help us communicate or to perform common tasks. The landscape industry too has not been exempt in this evolution. New technologies have allowed us to create landscapes without soil using hydroponics; with low light using artificial light; with limited water using better water management and with more flower colour for longer using modern plant breeding. Who knows what the future holds?
Recognise and Embrace Change
If you want to have a career in landscaping, you must recognise the inevitability of change. To have a long and sustainable career, you need to be able to adapt to change, and to excel you need to embrace and take advantage of change. To achieve this, your knowledge and skills in landscaping must be broad based. If you understand the fundamental skills needed - across all sectors of landscaping- you will be able to see opportunities as they arise and confidently move from one sector to another, throughout your career. As an example, anyone with underpinning knowledge of plant science and plant cultural practices: plant growth and identification, soil management, pruning and pest control and the associated technologies, will be able to work in landscaping for a few years, then move to turf management or nursery production and later back to landscaping.
Sound, broad-based training in the fundamentals of landscaping and horticulture are a good starting point for entering this industry. However, not all courses on offer will be broad enough or in-depth enough to set you up for a sustainable, lifelong career – so you need to understand the fundamentals required in horticulture (in general) and then choose a diverse course, that enables you to achieve these aims.
Fads and Fashions
Landscaping has always moved from one fashion to another. Natural gardens may be fashionable for a while; then formal gardens take over as the trend. Right along though; there are always some people who want both. 
It is hard to predict the fads of the future; but anyone who is trained across a wider range of things and to a greater depth, will always be better prepared to adapt.


Why Study the Course?

This is a great course to choose, if you want to not only learn about the subject now but keep learning after you finish studying.
This course should not only develop knowledge and understanding of how to design and build all types of gardens; but also:
  • Help you build and expand your contacts, building valuable networking in the landscape industry
  • Improve your ability to communicate with others within the landscaping discipline
  • Develop problem solving skills relevant to landscaping
  • Expand awareness and develop creativity to produce ever better designs
  • Develop attributes that set you apart from others in landscaping
  • Motivate you, build confidence, and more
  • Raise your awareness of opportunities, and enable you to make better informed decisions as you progress your involvement with the landscape industry.

According to some authorities, success is actually only affected about 20% by your knowledge and intelligence.

Our school works at helping you in a holistic way, to develop all of the things
mentioned above, in a way that relates to the discipline you are studying; and
in this way, giving you the capacity to apply yourself to unanticipated problems,
to understand new information as it emerges, to see and seize on new opportunities as they reveal themselves, and to continue to grow your abilities within your discipline as you progress through life after study.

In a world that is changing faster all the time; it is difficult to even be certain how this industry might change between the start of your course, and the time you finish studying.

With this in mind; any course that is to have long term value in today's world, must develop broad generic skills that are relevant to landscaping. This approach to education is not unique to ACS, but it is an approach tested, proven and adopted in our courses; and an approach that is also used by some of the most successful, cutting edge universities and colleges around the world.





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Meet some of our academics

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.

Check out our eBooks

Landscaping & Gardening in the ShadeLandscaping and Gardening in the Shade will involve many considerations including buildings, plants and care of plants.
Water GardeningThis book is designed to inspire and educate presenting you with a wide range of possibilities and at the same time, raising your awareness and understanding of how water can be used in any size garden to add interest, coolness and life.
Starting a Garden or Landscape BusinessExpert advice on how to get started in your own garden or landscape business! Packed with valuable business advice, horticultural and landscaping knowledge, and practical ideas - this book is a must have for garden lovers. It is great for anyone thinking about (or already involved in), a horticultural, landscaping or garden business. This updated re-print is only available as an ebook.
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.