Otago Polytechnic

Level 3 Landscape Construction and Amenity Horticulture



One year full-time

On campus with with hands-on training in the field and four weeks of work experience 

until start date
  • Location
    Study breaks
  • Central Otago
    18 February 2019
    1 July 2019 - 19 July 2019
    15 April 2019 - 26 April 2019
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
  • Central Otago
    22 July 2019
    2 December 2019 - 14 February 2020
    30 September 2019 - 11 October 2019
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
  • Central Otago
    17 February 2020
    29 June 2020 - 17 July 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Distance
    1 February 2020
    13 May 2020 - 31 May 2020
    12 April 2020 - 25 April 2020
    28 September 2020 - 9 October 2020
  • Dunedin
    10 February 2020
    9 April 2020 - 27 April 2020
With your enjoyment of working outdoors, your planning and organisational skills and your eye for detail, why not get paid for doing what you love?

New Zealand’s diverse and robust horticulture and related industries have experienced steady growth over recent years and this looks set to continue in the future. This means that qualified and experienced horticulturalists are in demand across the country. 

Based in Dunedin, this programme will give you the work-ready skills you need to enter the horticulture industry, focusing on the landscaping and amenity sectors.

Landscape construction involves the construction of both physical structures and plantings to create gardens. Amenity horticulture is the care and maintenance of plants in parks and gardens. 

This qualification includes a mix of theoretical learning and hands-on training using our nursery facilities, permaculture garden and Living Campus grounds. The beautiful, internationally-acclaimed Dunedin Botanic Garden is close to campus as well. 

Field trips and work experience are important parts of the programme; these will help you to connect with those already working in this dynamic industry.

Graduates of this programme will receive the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) (Landscape Construction) and the New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3) (Amenity).

Skills required
  • Physical fitness
  • Planning and organisational skills
  • Good communication and team work skills
  • A good work ethic
  • An eye for detail
Entry requirements 
  • Open entry

All students (international and domestic) for whom English is not a first language:

  • must demonstrate English Language skills with an IELTS overall band score (academic) of 5.0, with no band score lower than 5.0 OR
  • must provide acceptable alternative evidence of English language proficiency depending on the visa decline rate of the country you are from. See here for acceptable evidence and visa decline rates by country.

Please note: All scores must be achieved in a single test completed in the preceding two years. You cannot combine scores from multiple tests. If you have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance you are not required to provide evidence of English Language skills.

If you need to improve your English, we offer a range of English language programmes.  

You will study 
Courses Credits

Preparation and Set Out (Prepare and set out the site for landscaping)

  • Establish site details and set out the site
  • Prepare and lay drainage for landscaping
  • Identify legislative requirements for landscaping


Construction of Timber Features (Construct timber features in landscaping)

  • Identify the requirements for timber features in landscaping
  • Construct timber features in landscaping


Construction of Block, Brick or Stone Features (Construct block, brick or stone features in landscaping)

  • Identify the requirements for block, brick or stone features in landscaping
  • Construct block, brick or stone features in landscaping


Installation of Hard Surfaces (Install hard surfaces in landscaping)

  • Identify the requirements for hard surfaces in landscaping
  • Prepare and lay hard surfaces in landscaping


Design Awareness (Demonstrate awareness of landscape design solutions)

  • Identify principles and elements of design in landscaping
  • Recognise site characteristics and features that influence landscape design
  • Identify plant characteristics that influence landscape design


Communication (Work as effective team members in the horticulture sector)

  • Cooperate and participate within a horticulture team
  • Communicate effectively using a range of techniques
  • Listen and respond appropriately to team members and colleagues


Health and Safety, Machinery and Lawn Care (Establish and maintain lawns, use machinery and apply health and safety procedures in horticulture)

  • Apply health and safety procedures in horticulture
  • Use and maintain horticultural machinery and equipment
  • Establish and maintain amenity lawns


Plant Propagation (Propagate plants for use in amenity horticulture)

  • Apply a range of plant propagation techniques to the growing of amenity plants
  • Select and use appropriate media for the propagation and growing of plants
  • Maintain plant propagation records


Planting (Plant and establish plants in gardens and open spaces)

  • Plant and establish a range of amenity plants in gardens and open spaces
  • Plant and establish indigenous plant communities


Maintenance of Amenity Areas (Care for, and maintain, parks and open spaces)

  • Develop, care for, and maintain amenity horticulture areas


Selection procedure
  • Applications are processed on a first come-first served basis until the programme has reached capacity.
Additional costs  

You are required to buy some items of personal protective equipment, personal stationery and textbooks. All costs below are approximate only. 

  • Steel toecap boots ($100 - $200)
  • Secateurs ($40 - $120)
  • Gloves ($15 - $25)
  • Class 5 earmuffs ($40 - $50)
  • Safety glasses ($15 - $25)
  • Camera ($100 - $200)
  • Printing and photo printing ($30)
  • Textbooks ($200)
  • Stationery ($25) 

Financial assistance is available through StudyLink under Course-related Costs. Please see the Student Loans and Allowances section below for more information.  

Please note that many suppliers offer student discounts once you have enrolled and it is preferred that you wait until the first week of your programme before purchasing these items.

Your workload 

On average you will undertake four days a week of practical instruction and theoretical teaching. In addition to this, you will carry out your own self-directed study. It is expected that you will participate in four weeks of work experience during your programme.

Programme specific risks 

There are a number of health and safety issues associated with the practical delivery of horticulture training. You will be advised of the physical risks and requirements of the programme either in person or by telephone before you enrol. You will be advised of the need to purchase the listed personal protective clothing and equipment and the reasons for this.

Risks include injury to the body due to the physical nature of horticultural work (manual labour, lifting, bending, uneven terrain, falls from working at heights, eyesight) and from using sharp tools and equipment (secateurs, hand saws, spades, lawnmowers) and small machinery. There is a risk from poisonous plants, insect stings, the physical environment (excessive heat or cold, wet weather), working in isolation, chemical handling (limited) and machinery noise.

Student loans and allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful.

For further information

Please email the Learning Leader, lisa.burton@op.ac.nz


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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