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New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Landscape Design)

Are you passionate about creating inspiring, liveable outdoor spaces? This programme will give you the core technical knowledge and skills to turn your passion and flair for garden design into reality.

60 (0.5 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
February and July.
Full-time for six months or part-time options available.

Programme overview

Please note: This programme is closed for the 2022 Semester 2 intake due to the high volume of applications.  However, if there are any withdrawals, we will notify the candidates on the waitlist. We recommend you apply early for Semester 1, 2023 intake. 

As part of the government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeships Fund (TTAF) to help upskill workers in roles critical to the economy, this programme has no fees until 31 December 2022*. Click here for terms and conditions and a list of the programmes that are covered by this scheme.

The New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Landscape Design) is for budding landscape designers who want to develop their garden design knowledge and skills.

Learn the design process, including how to carry out a site analysis and select plants to create sustainable, attractive and functional residential garden designs. Gain an excellent foundational knowledge of plants, soils, how to encourage garden biodiversity and green design solutions. You’ll also gain the skills and confidence to draw and represent your design in a professional manner, as well as developing supervision and management skills that will assist with implementation and aftercare. This is the perfect programme for anyone interested in landscape design who wants to begin developing the core skills required.

Once you've successfully completed this programme, you’ll be able to create a garden design, as well as understand planting and aftercare requirements to ensure your design always looks great. You'll also gain some communication and supervisory experience, all of which will help you be ready to start your career in landscape design, creating plans for great garden designs that focus on planting (soft landscaping).


  • 6 month programme (full-time): Become qualified in as short as 6 months to create your own or others’ garden designs, seek work in the industry, and/or further study
  • This programme pathways into the New Zealand Diploma in Landscape (Design); graduates of this programme can cross-credit 60 credits to the diploma
  • Learn from the best: You’ll be supported throughout your studies by our teaching team made up of experienced teachers, designers, and plantspeople, with expert guest speakers and opportunities for industry connections  
  • Get inspired through on-site visits, field trips and collaboration with your peers 
  • Design, create and do! You’ll complete real design projects from client brief to design drawings, in the process creating a garden design portfolio that shows off what you can do
  • Green study environment: our park-like Mt Albert campus is a great environment for plant identification exercises 
  • Small classes 


  • Full-time study requires approximately 30+ hours per week over the 16-week duration of the course
  • A part-time option of 30 credits is available, requiring approximately 15+ hours per week across 2 semesters


Once you've successfully completed this programme you'll receive the qualification New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Landscape Design) (Level 4).

From here you can seek work in the landscape industry, be self-employed or continue with further study. For example, you can pathway into the New Zealand Diploma in Landscape (Design); 60 credits available for cross-credit into the diploma.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. 12 NCEA credits at Level 1 in two different subjects, one subject must be English
2. A minimum of 4 years secondary education
3. Be at least 16 years old by the time the programme begins
4. If English is not your first language, you will need one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance; or
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency; or
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

Don't have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 2 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information, download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

Courses Credits Aim
Design Studio (LAND4113) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces the practice of garden design.
Design Representation (LAND4114) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces representational conventions related to technical draughting, perspective sketches, rendering and collage.
Horticulture for Landscape (LAND4443) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces principles and practice of plant selection and plant and soil management within garden design.
Courses Credits Aim
Designing with Plants (LAND5557) 15.0 credits (0.125 EFTS) This course introduces principles and practice of planting design and production of specifications and schedules for installing and maintaining garden designs.

Moving to Te Pūkenga

Vocational education in Aotearoa (New Zealand) is changing to better meet the needs of learners like you.

As part of this transformational change, in 2023 Unitec will become fully part of Te Pūkenga, a national network delivering skills training in a wide range of locations throughout Aotearoa.

This means that while you are enrolling with Unitec now, from Semester 1, 2023 you will become a Te Pūkenga learner.

Te Pūkenga has the success and wellbeing of learners at its heart, and a review of all programmes is currently underway to help support this, including this programme. The aim is to make qualifications more portable, consistent and closely aligned with the needs of industry, and more in tune with where the world is headed.

The information contained here is correct at the time of publishing, but as the programme review is ongoing, the courses outlined may be liable to change over time.

Rest assured that we will notify you of any material changes to delivery that might impact what you study, where you study or the ways you learn.