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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Study the practicalities of building a garden landscape

  • Develop your knowledge of how to construct or build a landscape - as distinct from designing a landscape.
  • Learn to construct or build a garden the "right" way.
  • This course provides a good grounding for someone entering the landscape industry.

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Understand What is Needed to Build the Hard Landscape

Landscape construction is something which all landscapers should be familiar with, even if they are more focused on soft landscaping. Construction skills are not only necessary in building hard landscape features, but also in repairing and restoring existing features.

Learn how to Make a Landscape Garden

  • Understand the tools, equipment and materials.
  • Explore the options for working with the ground, building structures, and creating a landscape that is safe, functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Know the scope and nature of work carried out by a landscape contractor, as a foundation for improving your career opportunities, or starting a landscaping business.


The course comprises 10 lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1: Tools and Machinery  
  • Manual Handling
  • Materials used for Constructing Tools and Equipment; ferrous metals, non ferrous metals
  • Safety with Electricity
  • Engine Troubleshooting
  • Machine Maintenance
  • Types of Machines
  • Chainsaws: safety, buying, using
  • Brush cutters
  • Earth moving and Cultivating Equipment; rotary hoes, ploughs, cultivators, etc.
  • Workshop and Hand Tools; spanners, chisels, hacksaws etc.
  • Hand saws, Rakes, Spades, Shovels, Rollers, Wheelbarrows, Sprayers, etc.
Lesson 2: Landscape Plans and Setting out a Construction Site  
  • Reading Landscape Plans, Scale, etc
  • Understanding and Using Triangulation
  • Slope, Contouring, Grid Systems
Lesson 3: Drainage in Landscape Construction
  • Introduction to Drainage
  • Testing Drainage
  • Improving Drainage
  • Improving Soil Water Infiltration
  • Improving Drainage after construction; sand slitting, aerating, sub soiling
  • Sub Surface Drains; types, layout, outlet, gradients, pipe spacing, etc
  • Surface Drainage
  • Soil Testing; testing nutrients, pH, toxins
Lesson 4: Earthworks
  • Levelling terminology
  • Levelling Procedure
  • Levelling a Sloping Site
  • Earthmoving
  • Earthmoving Machinery; Bobcat, Backhoe, Dozer
  • Use an Experienced Driver
  • Topsoil Considerations
  • Earth Forming: creating Mounds
  • Building Raised Garden Beds
  • Earth Quantity Calculation
  • Soil Degradation
  • Erosion; water erosion, wind erosion, controlling erosion
  • Soil Acidification Management
  • Managing Soil Compaction
  • Managing Chemical Residues
Lesson 5: Surfaces, Paths, Paving and Turf
  • Introduction
  • Surfaces for Play Areas
  • Concrete; concrete, cement, mortar, variations in treatment and use
  • Loose Surfacing Materials: advantages and disadvantages
  • Bark Surfaces, Crushed tiles, pebbles, etc.
  • Paths; concrete, asphalt, etc.
  • Paving; laying pavers, setting out circular paving, curved paving, edges to paving
  • Lawns and Turf; shape, design, establishment
  • Garden Edges
  • Playing Field Construction
  • Sand Based Technology
  • Constructing Steps
Lesson 6: Construction of Garden Structures I
  • Buildings in a Garden; gazebos, verandahs, storage buildings, cubbies, etc.
  • Where to build a building
  • Floors and Foundations for Buildings
  • Walls; brick construction, coping, expansion joints, etc.
  • Fencing
  • Retaining Walls
  • Wooden Walls
  • Construction with Rock or Masonry; dry walls, wet walls
  • Home Playgrounds
  • Using Timber in the Garden
  • Differences between Softwood and Hardwood
Lesson 7: Construction of Garden Structures II
  • Compost Bins
  • Traditional Features: gazebos, statues, gates, arches, sundials, bird baths, urns, tubs, pergolas, pleached alleys, etc.
  • Wooden Decks
  • Constructing a Deck
  • Greenhouse and Shadehouse; types, construction, installation
  • Water Features; Waterproofing, keeping water clean
  • Landscaping a pond
  • Tennis Courts
  • Spas
  • Rockery Construction
  • Artificial Rock Formation
  • Mulching Rockeries
  • Garden Furniture
  • Lighting in the Garden
Lesson 8: Irrigation Systems
  • Planning an Irrigation System
  • Types of Systems: sprinkler, drip, automatic, etc.
  • Using and Maintaining an Irrigation System
Lesson 9: Establishing Hedges and Other Plants
  • Factors affecting successful plant establishment
  • Physical Plant Protection Methods
  • Hedges; site preparation, plant selection, spacing, planting, pruning, hedge maintenance
Lesson 10: Workplace Safety and Management of Landscape Construction Work
  • Risk Management on a Landscape Construction Site
  • The Risks
  • Keeping a Work Site Safe
  • Duty of Care
  • Significance of Illness
  • Protective Clothing
  • Safety with Tools and Equipment
  • Safety with electricity and different types of equipment
  • Tool Maintenance


On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:

  • Manage equipment for landscape construction projects, including tools and machinery.
  • Determine earthworks for a landscape development.
  • Plan the construction of different landscape structures including buildings, fences, and walls.
  • Manage the installation of a simple irrigation system in gardens.
  • Determine construction techniques for different building or installing different garden features; including paving, water gardens, rockeries and furnishings.
  • Determine techniques for creating soft landscaping.
  • Manage work being undertaken on a landscape construction site.


  • Compare the quality and cost of a range of different tools and machinery used in landscape construction.
  • Identify tools and machinery used in everyday work by landscape contractors.
  • Explain appropriate uses for different tools and machinery on a landscape construction site.
  • Prepare landscape plans for a number of landscape sites.
  • Research and report on marking out boundaries in construction sites.
  • Describe how to locate contours.
  • Determine the fall of existing drains, and identify appropriate falls, spacing and depths of drains.
  • Observe and report on earth moving equipment in operation.
  • Survey a site and recommend earthworks necessary.
  • Examine surfacing materials for paths, gardens, etc. and determine the appropriate landscaping function of each.
  • Assess the construction of a range of different existing landscape features.
  • Describe preparation of foundations for a specified garden structure, on a specific site.
  • Design a rockery at least 30 square metres in area.
  • Contact a range of suppliers of landscape materials and compare the products available in your locality.
  • Identify materials needed to install an irrigation system on a site selected by you.
  • Prepare plans of irrigation systems.
  • Research which species of plants are suitable for hedging in your locality.
  • Outline how to effectively transplant an existing tree.
  • Prepare a detailed risk assessment for a landscape construction site.
  • Identify safe working practices for a landscape construction site.
  • Determine a list of work tasks to be undertaken on a landscape construction site.  Give a time frame for completion of the entire project.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.


  • Start any time - our courses can be started at any time, and you work at your own pace.
  • Fit your studies around your own life - carry on working whilst you study.
  • Get high quality courses with support and guidance from our expert tutors.


This course is of great value to people wishing to work in landscaping. It is likely to benefit people who wish to add basic construction to their landscaping and gardening skills. It could serve as a platform for further study or be taken in conjunction with other modules to enhance your learning experience.

People who should take this course are those working in, or wishing to work in:

  • Landscape Construction
  • Landscape Design
  • Garden Maintenance
  • Garden Restoration or Conservation
  • Landscape Materials Supply 

It could also add to the skill-set of people wanting to start a landscape business, or be of value to people wishing to renovate a home garden.


Do you have any questions - do you want to know more about the course, about studying with ACS, or about which course to choose to suit your work or career goals?

Get in touch with us today - connect with our highly knowledgeable tutors; they will be pleased to hear from you.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
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.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Getting Work in a Modern WorldGetting Work in a Modern World is a must read; for students, parents, the unemployed, careers advisors or anyone interested in changing or forging a sustainable career. This is realistic guide to getting a job or starting out in business and understanding different industries. Topics covered in this book include 1/Career Myths, 2/ Finding Your Path, 3/ Understanding Employers, 4/ Preparing for a Job, 5/ Jobs to Consider: Looking to the Future, 6/ Information Technology, 7/ Business, Management and Sales, 8/ Health and Wellbeing, 9/ Horticulture, 10/ Wildlife and Environmental, 11/ Animal Care, 12/ Agriculture, 13/ Hospitality and Tourism, 14/ Media and 15/ Education.
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.
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.