Diploma of Horticulture


  • Improve your career opportunities & get your skills recognised with this Diploma of Horticulture (AHC50410)
  • Flexible & self-paced online course (finish within 18 months)
  • Endorsed by the Australian Institute of Horticulture

This course is currently in the process of being replaced in line with training package requirements to ensure that our courses are current and are relevant to industry practices.

Contact OTEN to find out more.

Have a question about this course?

At a glance

Study mode



OTEN – Open Training & Education Network (RTO 90004)
Career Opportunities
  • Gardener
  • Parks & Gardens Manager
  • Horticulture Business Owner / Manager
  • Horticulture Consultant

Nationally recognised - meets Australian Qualifications Framework standards.
Endorsed by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.


Relevant experience & regular access to landscape sites.



Course length
Self-paced (e.g. 20 hrs a week = finish in 1 year, 15 hrs a week = finish in 18 months). Complete within 18 months.
Study mode



Study from anywhere, when it suits you best and graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.


Study part of the course online. Combine your online learning with classes or practical sessions on-campus at a college or university.


Attend classes on-campus at a university, TAFE or college and interact face-to-face with teachers and fellow students.

Written & graphic assignments & oral report
Start date

This course is currently in the process of being replaced.Contact OTEN about enrolling.

OTEN – Open Training & Education Network (RTO 90004)

TAFE NSW - OTEN - Open Training and Education Network (RTO 90004) is the largest online TAFE provider in Australia.

You can study OTEN’s accredited online TAFE courses at your own pace, and start anytime.

OTEN’s flexible courses are developed in consultation with relevant industry groups – to ensure you build the skills that are valued by employers.

TAFE NSW - Open Training & Education Network (RTO 90004) trading as Open Training & Education Network


The course price can vary depending on a few factors, including whether you are an Australian resident or your chosen payment option. To find out more, contact the course provider.


  • Certificate III in Horticulture or demonstrated experience in the landscape design or construction industry

You will also need:

  • Regular access to 2 landscape sites

If you pay for the course using a VET FEE-HELP government loan, you need to:

  • provide a Year 12 Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (from an Australian agency), OR
  • successfully complete a Language Literacy & Numeracy (LLN) test.

What you'll learn

You'll learn how to:

  • Identify, diagnose and record plant disorders and diseases
  • Collect and classify plants
  • Assess the physical, chemical and biological requirements of plants
  • Carry out physiological assessment of soil, topography and vegetation
  • Develop environmental management strategies
  • Take an ecological approach to planting design
  • Manage landscape projects
  • Prepare tenders and tender documentation

Course structure

10 units

Core units

  1. AHCLDE503A - Assess landscape sites

    This unit discusses both the means available to the consultant to assess sites and the various assessment types you might be required to provide:

    • physiological assessment: soil, water regime, topography, vegetation, microclimate
    • user, built form, cultural and heritage assessment
    • desktop analysis site assessment
    • assessment of heritage listed, or rare, threatened or endangered species
    • assessment and application of environmental legislation and controls
    • describing development impacts, and arboricultural assessment,
    • recommendations for removal / remediation /augmentation/ enhancement of site features
    • preparing site assessment documentation
  2. AHCPCM502A - Collect & classify plants

    This unit covers the process of collecting and identifying plants using taxonomic keys and discusses:

    • how to collect plant specimens; noting the location, characteristics and occurrence of specimens at the point of collection
    • how to clean, preserve, mount and label plant specimens
    • how to use a plant key to identify plants against the botanical description of the species
    • how to prepare a herbarium
    • how to describe physical and biological habitat types (including vegetation associations and communities)
  3. AHCPCM402A - Develop a soil health & plant nutrition program

    This unit covers developing a soil health and plant nutrition program, and involves:

    • an analysis of regional, local and site biophysical factors
    • assessment of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of site soils
    • assessment of the physical, chemical and biological requirements of plants
    • an understanding of legislative requirements and codes of practice
    • conducting literature and consultative research, and collating and analysing findings on plant nutritional requirements, nutrients available from soils and other growth media, and the likely environmental implications of the program
    • selection and recommendation of suitable management practices, soil ameliorants, additives and fertilisers
    • the documentation of implementation plans that monitor soil and plant growth
  4. CPPWMT503B - Develop & implement an environmental management strategy

    This unit specifies the outcomes required to develop and implement an environmental management strategy. It discusses:

    • the ability to analyse practices and develop environmental management strategies by working effectively with stakeholders
    • conducting feasibility tests and determine appropriate waste management services
    • reviewing operations, managing consultation processes and applying change management techniques
    • planning and organising work practices safely and efficiently, identifying and minimising hazards and risks, monitoring performance and budgeting
    • implementing environmental safeguards and regulations
    • monitoring targets
    • identifying and having strategic knowledge of legislation, regulations and codes of practice applicable to specific waste management functions
    • allocating resource recovery options
    • arranging organisational requirements and structure, including workplace communication channels and procedures, organisational pricing schedules and duty of care
  5. AHCPCM501A - Diagnose plant health problems

    This unit covers the process of diagnosing plant health problems and addresses:

    • the identification of plant species and a description of plant growing requirements and characteristics
    • identifying, diagnosing and recording plant disorders and diseases, and researching plant health problems and the remedial treatments available
    • formulating a weed, pest or disease control program using the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
    • recommending ameliorants to plant growing conditions
    • documenting the treatment program report
  6. AHCLSC502A - Manage landscape projects

    This unit looks at landscape construction site issues from a management perspective. Understanding how a construction site is built and managed helps inform the consultant in providing appropriate landscape documentation. Landscape site management involves:

    • landscape materials selection, function, ordering, storage, wastage and environment impact issues
    • site issues- site establishment, safe work methods, landscape works programming, WH&S, risk assessment, waste management, and environmental management
    • landscape plant & machinery used by the contractor to install the landscape project
    • landscape sub-contracting, insurances and warranties, dispute resolution, work schedules, site safety
    • landscape contracts and project management
  7. AHCPGD501A - Manage plant cultural practices

    This unit covers the process of managing a plant cultural program and discusses:

    • developing plant cultural practice management plans
    • managing the implementation of a plant cultural program
    • monitoring and evaluating both plant performance, resource allocations and budgets
    • documenting the program results in a report
    • developing vegetation management plans, and landscape maintenance programmes
  8. AHCBUS504A - Prepare estimates, quotes & tenders

    This unit covers the processes involved with the preparation of estimates, quotes and tenders, and looks in detail at:

    • Australian Standards and the specific laws and regulations governing the horticultural industry
    • client types and typical consultant services
    • fees proposals
    • project resource requirements and working with allied professionals
    • quality assurance and issues of professional negligence
    • preparing tenders and tender documentation
    • opinions of probable costs and bills of quantities
    • intellectual property rights
  9. AHCWRK503A - Prepare reports

    This unit covers the process of preparing comprehensive reports for a rural, horticultural or land management setting and discusses:

    • identifying the purpose and requirements of the report
    • conducting research and evaluating the information/data
    • providing conclusions from this research supported by reasoned argument
    • making recommendations with reference to information and conclusions
    • producing a correctly formatted report document that uses appropriate language and terminology, is arranged in a logical order, and provides details on information sources and consultation
    • providing an oral interpretation of the report for a client
  10. AHCPCM402A - Specify plants for landscapes

    This unit covers specifying plants for landscapes projects and discusses:

    • an ecological approach to planting design
    • current legislative requirements for planting design and plant selection
    • the "right plant, right place" principle for plant selection- plant suitability, sustainability and viability
    • plant selection based on site analysis and existing biophysical conditions
    • selecting and specifying plants for longevity, and with regard to physical changes during the maturation process
    • documenting plant specification, detailing plant installation and plant maintenance requirements

Support and delivery

Studying online explained

When you study online with OTEN, you can:

  • Study from anywhere, when it suits you best.
  • Graduate with the identical qualification as an on-campus student.
  • Get comprehensive support from teachers via phone and email.
  • Access course materials online.
  • Interact with teachers and fellow students via platforms like virtual classrooms, forums and video calls.

OTEN's online courses can also be referred to as distance education. Some hard-copy course materials and assessments may be accessed or submitted via post.

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