Screenshot of home page of the course

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

RBGE is one of only 2 approved RHS Distance learning providers offering RHS Level 3. This latest online course was launched in September 2017 and is already enabling 40 students to gain the highly regarded RHS Certificate in the Principles of Garden Planning, Construction and Planting through home study with RBGE. Course coordinator John Taylor said, “Being entirely online, our new course appeals to people from a variety of backgrounds and is very popular with people who aren’t able to come to classes at the Botanics because of where they live. We have students on the course from as far afield as Orkney, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Many of the students are working gardeners who want to do the course to gain a professional qualification, but the course is equally suitable for those who just love their gardens.”


Students learn about a range of topics including surveying, design principles, the history of garden design and specialist planting and pruning. A major component is the design and construction of hard landscaping features such as walls, paths and patios requiring an understanding of materials, drainage systems and construction methods – and we’re lucky to have landscaper Colin Bell working on this part of the course . Colin said, “Although the course is theoretical, it does give students the knowledge and confidence to tackle garden construction projects.”

A screeshot of the interctive lesson on Hard Landscaping Features

An interactive lesson that introduces different hard landscaping features and looks at their contribution to garden design

Fundamental to the delivery of the course is RBGE’s online learning platform, PropaGate Learning which is used by students to access a range of learning materials including interactive lessons and videos as well as the more traditional formats of notes and presentations. Online Learning Manager Jane Robertson said, “Creating this online course was a real team effort, especially as we were not only creating the course from scratch, but also for online delivery. We had to think about the best way to teach this practical subject at a distance while giving students every opportunity to learn from each other and from the tutors. It’s really encouraging to read the feedback we get from students as they work through the course and we are always looking at new ways to improve it too!”

From next September RBGE will offer a further wholly online RHS course, the RHS Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth, Health and Applied Propagation and students on the current course are already excited about moving on to that to continue their studies with the Botanics.

More information on our online courses is available at

PropaGate Learning logo