RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting

This theory-based qualification improves your existing knowledge of the principles underpinning horticultural practices – allowing you to enter, or progress within, a horticultural profession. It also provides a foundation for further learning in the field of horticulture

Who is this qualification for?

Career changers. Looking to work in professional horticulture for the first time and already have a Level 2 understanding

Professional horticulturists. Already working in horticulture and wanting to develop knowledge further

Casual learners. Wanting to develop personal interest and progress to further horticultural study at level 4

Busy people. Need a flexible learning style? Our qualifications are designed to be studied part-time 

No formal entry requirements. However, it is strongly recommended that students who have obtained the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance or equivalent before studying this qualification
The Plantsman December 2018 cover

Modules, learning outcomes and assessment

Each module is assessed by an RHS set examination conducted at an RHS approved qualifications centre in February and June. To achieve the qualification all four unit exams must be completed and achieved.

Garden survey techniques and design principles
  • Develop a client brief
  • Conduct a site appraisal
  • Basic surveying techniques
  • Principles of garden design
  • Development of garden design styles
Selection and use of landscaping elements in the garden
  • Hard landscaping features in garden design
  • Soft landscaping features in garden design
Setting out and construction of landscaping elements in the garden
  • Planning involved in the realisation of a garden design
  • Practical procedures for setting out a site
  • Reasons for correct groundwork procedures
  • Materials and construction procedures for garden surfaces, garden walls, fences and pergolas
Specialist elements in the establishment of garden and urban plantings
  • Practices of establishing and maintaining planting in a range of specialist areas
  • Pruning in the establishment and maintenance of specialist plantings

Approved centres

See the list of approved centres for the final intake of the RHS Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting. Final registrations take place on 31 March 2024.

Useful documents and information

After the qualification

Career opportunities 

You will have gained a range of horticultural knowledge relevant to employment in various roles in commercial plant production and the horticultural sector, such as a head gardener or supervisor in private, public, or botanic gardens or parks and urban green spaces. 
Horticultural careers

Further learning

The qualification supports progression to level 4 courses in horticulture or entry onto various horticultural training programmes.
Master of Horticulture
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Enrol now: find a learning provider

'RHS Level 3 gave me the practical skills and knowledge to go out and work with clients in a professional way. For instance, how to conduct a client brief, site appraisal, surveys of various types, planting out etc.' - Jack Wallington, Level 3 student

Read more learner stories

More RHS Level 3 Qualifications

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.