Learning in lockdown

Coronavirus and lockdown have caused a standstill in so many ways and while domestic gardens have been thriving what has happened to public spaces, sports pitches and other grounds?

These areas still need maintaining but reduced income streams of places like National Trust and private houses that usually open to the public has resulted in furloughed grounds and maintenance teams. Parks have remained maintained in some areas but inevitably team sizes have been reduced. Naturally, this has varied from council to council but there are certainly experts out there currently unable to be taking care of their patches, gardens and grounds.

Many professional gardeners and grounds teams often say that their garden at home gets somewhat neglected – perfectly understandably as it could seem a bit of a busman’s holiday. So, this downtime right now is a chance to get on top of things, but also a chance to broaden your skillset.

If you’re thinking of furthering your qualifications there are whole host of organisations offering training, qualifications and accreditation in horticulture and grounds maintenance all available online – from the comfort and safety of your own home. Even better, at the moment there are significant discounts available too. Here’s our round up!


Online courses in horticulture and grounds maintenance



When it comes to horticulture there’s no better organisation to offer advice and expert opinion than the RHS (the Royal Horticultural Society).

The RHS website is an amazing resource of free advice and videos for learning but they also offer qualifications, workshops and work-based training programmes. If that wasn’t enough, there is also an online degree-level qualification for a Masters in Horticulture.


The British Academy of Garden Design

If it’s designing a garden that you are interested in knowing more about then the BAGD has three levels of qualification.

  • Certificate – covers the basics in garden design and encourages you to design your own garden
  • Diploma – gives an advanced knowledge and understanding of garden design skills as well as the techniques require for being a professional garden designer
  • Postgraduate diploma – aimed at those seeking to set up their own garden design business. Helps develop an in-depth understanding of garden design skills and principles.


Garden maintenance

This course from Stonebridge covers the following modules to give a well-rounded overview of all garden basics – Planning and Managing a Garden; Furnishings and Machinery; Feeding Plants; Weed Control; Weedicides; Natural Pest Control; Chemical Pest Control; Turf Care; Irrigation; Maintenance of Plants.


Managing Notable Gardens

This course gives an insight into the behind the scenes basics of running a public garden, beyond the planting and horticultural maintenance. Examine factors such as conservation management plans; the role of public and interested parties; funding and grants; creating new features and gardens; maintenance and management; staffing and training.


Certificate in Arboriculture

Learn all about the culture and care of trees from establishment to maintenance. This course covers areas such as tree identification, and techniques for planting, maintaining and managing trees.


Machinery & Equipment

One of our favourites! This course will give you the confidence you need to not just use your tools and machinery, but to also maintain them and keep them in the best shape possible. The course covers the selection of tools and machinery, through to the operation and maintenance. Modules include Engine Operation; Hydraulics; Machinery Components; Hand Tools; Power Tools; Tractors; Equipment Maintenance; and Specific Workplace Requirements.


Turf and Grounds

For those looking to further their knowledge and qualifications in grounds maintenance look no further than The GMA (previously known as the IOG).

The Grounds Management Association is the go-to for all things grounds! From grassroots greenkeepers to those maintaining world class pitches, the GMA has it all. Its courses are extensive and they have options for everyone and offer Grounds Maintenance training for Football, Cricket, Rugby Union and Rugby League. Find out more here: https://portal.iog.org/education/courses/search


Advanced Certificate in Horticulture and Grounds Management

Develop your skills and knowledge in the care and maintenance of parks, gardens and turf facilities. Modules include Pest, Diseases and Weed Control; Turf Maintenance; Tree and Shrub Maintenance; Soils Management; and Irrigation.


Advanced Certificate in Turf Care Management

Learn how to select the right turf grass for various situations and applications as well as how to maintain, renovate and repairing turf.



Grounds teams are increasingly having to help the organisation and business that they work for to meet its green targets. Permaculture and self-sufficiency are key ways of doing this. This course introduces the basic concepts of Permaculture, exploring topics such as weather systems, water cycles, topography, soil-plant interactions and forest ecology, and creating balanced and productive garden growing systems.


Irrigation Management

Discover the complexities of watering! Find out new ways to optimise water efficiency, as well as draining, fertigation and the different systems and designs available.


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