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Advanced Horticultural Trades (Level 4) (Landscape Design)

New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Services (Level 4) with strand in Landscape Design


Course details

  • Jul 2024
    Feb 2025
  • One semester
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • $3,690*
  • You may qualify for fee-free study under MPTT
  • Level 4
  • Online with block course in Hamilton


This semester-long online course is perfect for those who are passionate about creating beautiful garden spaces. It is ideal for those who wish to pursue a career in landscape garden design. It is also great for those interested in upskilling themselves to work in gardens or as a hobby.

The course covers the introductory theory and principles of design and graphic representation, as well as the study of hard landscape materials and soft-scaping with plants. It is hands-on and taught in a project-based style. This means you will have a real-life example to work on and will gain insight into the complete project design process from client interviews, site analyses, and measurements through to concept development and planning presentations. This introduction to design is the start of your journey towards creating beautiful garden spaces.

While the course is offered online, we provide full support to students through their study journey with industry-expert tutors available throughout the duration. There is one block course required for students to attend at our campus at the famous Hamilton Gardens. This certificate is a pre-requisite to our Diploma in Landscape Practice (Level 5)

What you will learn

There are five compulsory modules that you must complete. Click on the module code in the table below to learn about each learning outcome.

View programme modules

Landscape design strand

Module CodeModule NameLevelCredits Pre-Requisites Co-Requisites Assessment Standard
LADE410Garden Design Principles410   
LADE402Plants and Planting Design420   
LADE411Computer Aided Garden Design45   
LADE412Garden Design Practice415LADE410, LADE403   

How you will learn

As a student, you will have a mixed mode of learning that consists mainly of directed learning online through our student learning portal Moodle and self-directed study for assignments and project work. 

Our project-based approach allows you to learn in real-life design situations. This 18-week course includes a mid-semester break, and there is one compulsory workshop mid-way through at our Hamilton Garden Campus, where you will be introduced to the Garden Design Project, meet clients, and complete a site survey.  

This mode of delivery supports you to study flexibly and continue your day-to-day life. Your online learning is supported through weekly Zoom tutorials, group discussions as a class, and interactive activities. You will need reliable internet access and be familiar with computer software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. A computer with a webcam is also required for participating in online learning activities.

Take a look inside

Click the play button below to see what landscape design involves.

Career/further opportunities

After graduating, you will leave with the skills, knowledge, and qualification to work as a garden designer, landscaper, or small-scale designer.

To receive official accreditation as a designer and become certified, once you have industry experience, you can submit a portfolio to the Garden Design Society of New Zealand or the Registered Master Landscapers. You may also continue on to the relevant strand of the Diploma in Landscape (Level 5).

Frequently asked questions

Do I need any experience in landscaping or horticulture to start this programme?
There is no pre-requisite for this programme, and we do not require you to have any formal industry work experience. If you have a passion for gardens and the outdoors, then that is enough. This is a design course, so concepts and principles are creative, so an artistic mind may help; however, we start from the beginning with landscape garden design theory and teach you all the concepts and skills required.
Why study landscape design with us?
This course is New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved, meaning this Certificate in Applied Horticultural Services (Landscape Design) (Level 4) programme will give you a recognised qualification. Employers look for this qualification when employing for work in this field. Also, this is one of the first steps in landscape education, and if you wish to, you can take your education further to more advanced specialised areas.
How much time do I have to commit per week for modules and assessments?

This is a 60-credit programme which equates to 600 hours of learning over one semester. This is an average of 32 hours per week over the 18-week learning semester. This may fluctuate during project work, and we do suggest you ensure you have the required time available to put towards this course. 

Assessments will be explained at the beginning of the course. There is a mix of computer-generated (Word/Powerpoint) and drawing-based components that will be specified in detail when you start each assessment. Assessments go towards your Portfolio of Evidence which builds on all your written work and plans, your group discussions, comments, quiz answers, photos, and video clips. There are no final exams in this programme.

What is the difference between landscape design and landscape architect?
A landscape designer specialises in residential home garden design, with landscape garden design and planting plans. They may also do construction detail plans and can work with clients and landscape contractors to install garden design plans. These residential home gardens can range from standard town properties, rural lifestyle blocks, and inner city rooftop gardens to anywhere somebody may live and have an outdoor space. Study length varies from one to three years, depending on how in-depth you wish your knowledge to be and the experience you wish to attain in dealing with project complexities.

Landscape architects specialise in commercial, civic/public spaces (town and city parks) and infrastructure (roadway) landscapes. They develop design plans, planting plans, construction details, and legislative documents for these situations, as well as site assessments and environmental work. A landscape architect will have completed a three to four-year degree and then become registered with the NZ Institute of Landscape Architects. Landscape architects can be residential landscape designers, but their learning is not as detailed for ‘residential garden’ spaces.
What is the next step to further landscape studies?

This level 4 certificate is a pre-requisite to further study in landscape design. After this certificate and to build your skills in design and detailing for more complex site situations, you can progress to our Diploma in Landscape Practice (Level 5)


Entry criteria

You can apply for this programme if you meet one of the below options.

Based on your school achievement (secondary school study)​

  • 40 credits at NCEA Level 1; including 10 literacy credits and 10 numeracy credits;
  • Or a recognised equivalent.

Based on study completed after school (tertiary study)

  • Completed the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture Level 3 (Landscape Construction strand);
  • Or a relevant course at NZQF Level 2;
  • Or a recognised equivalent. ​

Based on your work experience (on the job)

If you can demonstrate relevant knowledge, skills and experience that you have gained through work experience, that will help you to be successful in the programme.​

Based on discretionary entrance

If you don’t meet any of the above options, and you think you have what it takes to complete this programme, you can apply for discretionary entrance. Your application may be accepted if you can demonstrate a good chance of success. Approval of discretionary entrance applications is decided by the relevant manager. If your application is approved, your acceptance into further programmes relies on you demonstrating success in this programme.

Selection criteria

a) Candidates without relevant qualifications may be required to participate in an interview and selection process. The following may be considered in the selection process:

1) The completion of a study skills assessment to demonstrate the level of academic skill necessary to successfully complete the programme.
2) Previous experience working in the horticulture sector. May include previous employment and voluntary work.
3) Personal qualities such as responsibility, teamwork and practical skills. 
4) An aptitude for working in a public environment demonstrated through a reference from an employer where a candidate has worked with the public, or from a teacher attesting to social skills.
5) Candidates wishing to enrol on the arboriculture strand must have completed the following unit standards: 6400, 6401, 6402, 1668, 2768, 2767, 6916, 6917 and 20574.
6) As some of the practical components within this programme are considered high risk, students may be required to submit to an initial drug screen as per Wintec’s Drug & Alcohol Policy (OP-16/04).

b) To meet legal and health requirements, candidates must be physically able to carry out the practical components of the programme, including the ability to perform practical demonstrations and assessments.

c) Candidates with disabilities are eligible to enrol in this programme and will be provided with the necessary resources to attain the learning outcomes where practicable, but at the time of enrolment must notify the Equity/Disability Co-ordinator of their needs.

d) Some delivery maybe at locations which require arboriculture students to undertake a police check.

English language requirements

Candidates who have English as a second language are required to have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 5.5 in the academic band, with no individual band score lower than 5.0; or equivalent.

Want to see full details of the entry criteria?
Don't meet the entry criteria?


Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscape Design and Construction pathway diagram

To check what you need to gain direct entry to a course, review the entry criteria available on each programme page. These assist you in understanding what qualifications or experience are typically required to gain entry. You can contact our team at or 0800 2 Wintec at any time for further guidance.

Your first day

Are you ready for your first day of class? Check out your start date and where you need to be. You can also find useful information about studying at Wintec on our welcome page.

Semester 2 2024

Date: Wednesday 24 July 2024
Time: 6pm
Venue: Online via Zoom

What you need to know:
  • We will email you the Zoom link closer to your online induction.
  • This online session will run for no longer than 1.5 hours.

How to use Zoom
Zoom is an online video service connecting you to our team. It is free to use via your phone, PC, laptop, tablet or another internet-capable device and you don't need a camera. If you are new to Zoom, you need to set up an account using your email, Google, or Facebook accounts. To do this, go to and follow the sign-up prompts. Once your account has been created, click on the Zoom link provided to you.

What you will need

Timetable information

All Wintec timetables are available online here.

How to find your way around

Campus maps can be found here.

Parking and bus information

Both the Rotokauri and City campuses have parking available - payment and permits may be required. Learn more about parking and find out about bus services here.

He reo pōwhiri, your official welcome to Wintec

Tēnei te mihi mahana ki a koe e piki nei, e kake nei ki te Kuratini o Waikato.

You are warmly invited to attend the official welcome to Wintec for all new students, staff and whānau (family) at either our marae, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa or Rotokauri campus. The pōwhiri is a welcoming ceremony involving mihimihi (speeches), waiata (singing), and will conclude with kai timotimo (light refreshments). Please gather at the campus hubs, and a staff member will guide you through our pōwhiri.

Click here to find out when the next pōwhiri will be.

Paying for your study

Course-related costs

Additional information


Purchasing textbooks

If your programme requires you to have access to textbooks, these can be purchased through a range of suppliers listed below:

    New Zealand-based suppliers

    General book suppliers

    First aid certificate

    Health status



    Find key items below that you will need throughout the duration of this course. Note, we have a discounted package option available through Gordan Harris.

    Graphic and drawing supplies:
    • A4 sketchpad for drawing with a paperweight of at least 110 grams (spiral-bound is preferred as the pages stay flat)
    • Set of graphite drawing pencils (6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H and sharpener)
    • Eraser and correction tape
    • Protractor (drawing angles) and set squares (45/45 and 60/30 degree angles)
    • Ruler with a clean edge (steel preferred)
    • Compass
    • Black waterproof drawing pens, eg Artline (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.8mm)
    • Set of good quality watercolour/coloured pencils (20-24 set or individual landscape colours, eg green, brown, grey)
    • Set of coloured drawing pens, eg Copic Cioa Markers (require muted colours, eg W5 Warm Grey no 5, C1 Cool Grey no 1, YG11 Mignotte, BG93 Green Grey, G82 Spring Dim Green, YG03 Yellow Green)
    • Architectural 30cm scale ruler with 1:20. 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:500
    • 3M invisible tape
    • Masking tape
    • Circle drafting template (sizes 2mm - 35mm)
    Other supplies that are useful:
    • A1 Drawing board with drafting arm and angle rotating square rulers or a drawing board and set squares
    • Digital camera, smartphone, or video recording device with at least 5 megapixels to record your project procedures and queries
    • Directional compass or compass app on your smartphone
    • Folders and re-fill
    • Surveying 30-metre fibreglass tape with end hook
    • 8-metre retractable builders steel tape and pegs
    • A4 clipboard
    • Paper: it is a good idea to have your own paper source however we do provide paper for the project work during workshops
    Textbooks (non-compulsory):
    • RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design: Planning, Building and Planting Your Perfect Outdoor Space. By Chris Young (Ed), 2017.Royal Horticultural Society. Dorling Kindersley.
    • Contemporary Gardens of New Zealand. By Sally Tagg, Penguin, Auckland, 2012.
    • The Natural Garden: Landscape ideas for the New Zealand Garden. By Xanthe White, Penguin, Auckland, 2023.
    • 100 best Native Plants for New Zealand Gardens. By Fiona Eadie. Godwit, Auckland, 2014.
    • Landscape Graphics: Plan, section, and Perspective Drawing of Landscape Spaces. Revised Edition. By Grant W Reid. Watson-Guptill Publications, 2002.
    • How to Design a Garden. By John Brookes. Edited by Gwendolyn Paasschen. Pimpernel Press, London, 2022.

    Please note, there are no set textbooks; however, the above garden design articles may help with completing your projects. There are also many inspiring books/ebooks available through the Wintec Library.

    Computer and internet:
    You will need to have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection, webcam, and CAD capabilities including a graphics card. Specifications to look for are: 
    • 64 bit, i5, 4GB RAM, dedicated graphics card 2GB, display resolution 1440 x 900 (entry level CAD)
    • 64 bit, i7, 16GB RAM, dedicated graphics card 4GB, display resolution 1920 x 1080 (higher level CAD)

    Clinical placement

    Prospectus (course guide)

    The Wintec Prospectus (otherwise known as a course guide) outlines everything you need to know about Wintec. It contains information about the Wintec campuses, student life, and the programmes that are on offer.

    Access your copy of the Wintec Prospectus

    The Wintec Prospectus (course guide) is available by downloading the file - click on the document below to access the file. Alternatively, to request a copy via email or the post, please complete the form below.

    Request an emailable or printed copy of the Prospectus


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