Programme overview

Have you always dreamt of a creative career in garden design? The Diploma in Landscape Design is New Zealand's premier garden design programme and gives you a solid grounding in site investigation, plant selection and garden design - essential skills for your career in landscape design.


  • Our students exhibit at Ellerslie International Flower Show.
  • Overseas study tours.
  • Design and drawing a focus.
  • Comprehensive range of plant courses.
  • Field work, real sites and clients.
  • Park-like campus - a great environment for plant identification and studying landscape conditions.
  • CAD labs and studios.
  • Qualification recognised for accredited membership of the Garden Design Society of New Zealand.
  • Lecturers who hold executive positions in key industry organisations.

If you do not meet the general admission requirement for the programme, you may be asked to attend an interview.Relevant work experience and a portfolio demonstrating visual, spatial and graphic ability may provide evidence of your suitability for the programme. See  our portfolio guidelines on what to include, what not to include and how to lay it all out.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the general, or the discretionary, or the special admission requirements and they must also meet any programme-specific admission requirements. Applicants must also meet the English language requirements and may be interviewed.

Generic Admission Requirements

General admission

For Level 5 Diploma programmes applicants must have a total of 48 NCEA credits at level 2 in best 4 subjects, OR a maximum total of 20 in best 4 Sixth Form Certificate subjects, OR equivalent, OR completion of an appropriate qualification at Level 3 or above.

Special Admission

Applicants must have:

  1. attained the age of 20 years on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the diploma is to commence; AND
  2. provided sufficient evidence of aptitude or appropriate work or other life experience that would indicate a successful outcome in the qualification.

Discretionary Admission

In exceptional cases an applicant who does not meet the general admission requirements and who has not reached the age of 20 on or before the first day of the semester in which study for the diploma is to commence may apply for discretionary admission.

In assessing whether to grant discretionary admission in exceptional cases, the primary focus will be on the applicant’s level of preparedness for study at the required level.

English Language Admission Requirements

General English Language requirements

Applicants must have achieved a minimum standard of English as demonstrated by a minimum of 12 credits at NCEA Level 1 in English.

English language requirements for international students

Applicants must have at least ONE of the following:

a) Gained NCEA level 3 and met New Zealand university entrance requirements;

b) Clear evidence that they satisfy one of the following criteria for existing English proficiency:

  1. Previous primary and secondary study in English as evidenced by completion of one of the following at schools using English as the language of instruction:
    • Completion of all primary education and at least three years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13), or
    • Completion of at least five years of secondary education (that is, the equivalent of New Zealand Forms 3 to 7 or years 9 to 13)
  2. Previous tertiary study in English: clear evidence of completion of a tertiary qualification of at least three years’ duration with English as the language of instruction in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States.
  3. Achievement of the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

c) Achieved, within the preceding two years, at least one of the English proficiency outcomes listed below:

  1. NZ Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) (Academic) (Level 4)
  2. An overall IELTS band score (Academic Format) of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. The IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS Test Report Form.
  3. An overall TOEFL Paper-based test (pBT) score of 550 (essay 5 TWE) OR an overall TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) Score of 46 (writing 20)
  4. First Certificate in English (FCE) with a pass at Grade C OR Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) with a score of 47 or higher under the Cambridge International standard tests of English as a foreign language
  5. Pearson Test of English PToE (Academic) with a score of 42
  6. City & Guilds Internal English for Speakers of Other Languages (IESOL) B2 Communicator with a score of 42.

Programme Specific Admission Requirements

To be admitted to this programme, applicants must also meet the requirements set out in this schedule.

To be admitted to this programme, all applicants must meet the requirements set out in the Diploma Generic Regulations. There are no additional programme-specific admission requirements.

Courses and timetables

The following courses are valid for 2016. The courses may be offered as part of the programme. Click on the course links below to see the course details and timetables.

Courses Credits Aim
Design through Experience (LAND4111) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to the design of residential landscapes.
Design by Site (LAND4112) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to designing landscapes for a variety of sites and client requirements.
Representation (LAND4115) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to a range of graphic communication modes applicable to the representation of landscape designs.
Plants and Context (LAND4441) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop an understanding of plants and gardens in their wider ecological context.
Site and Place (LAND4551) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to basic site investigation, analysis, and technical representation methods.
Constructing the Garden (LAND4552) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to an understanding of landscape construction elements and materials, and methods of representing landscape elements as contract drawings.
Courses Credits Aim
Representation in Digital Media (LAND5116) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce digital graphic media/techniques and develop the fundamentals skills necessary for effective visual communication.
History and Theory (LAND5117) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce students to garden history and to a range of past and current landscape issues.
Design and Culture (LAND5118) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to apply a range of design generators and design details.
Plants in Design (LAND5444) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop skills in effective planting design.
Courses Credits Aim
Design and Time (LAND5119) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to understand and design gardens with sensitivity to their spatial and temporal qualities.
Plant Management (LAND5443) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To demonstrate an understanding of the range of principles and practices appropriate to plant establishment and management in a garden setting.
Documentation (LAND5553) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To enable students to assemble the documentation for a small-scale landscape project.
Project Implementation (LAND5554) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To develop the knowledge and skills necessary to supervise small scale landscape projects.
CAD (LAND5556) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To introduce student s to CAD skills and enable them to apply these confidently in the presentation of landscape designs.
Negotiated Study (LAND5661) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) To allow students to develop an area of specific interest outside the scope of other courses within the programme. The area of specialisation will involve a negotiated research project or field study or design project.