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RHS Level 2 - Garden Planning

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Hi everyone!

I have part 1 of my RHS Level 2 exam next week (sigh!) and contrary to my ealier posts where science was my worst topic (which is in fact now my best....not looking good is it), I now realise that my knowledge of Garden Planning is somewhat lacking. I've been trying to read as much as possible but nothing really seems to hit the spot, so to speak.

Has anybody PLEASE got any suggestions (other than to defer my exam)...

I'm still lacking in the botanical names too but then that's a sacrifice I am willing to make...Garden Planning isn't!

 ???  ;D

Hi Loulu,

I have my exam too next week arghhhhhh! Do you have the red Peter Dawson book? I have found it useful although I have had to back it up with other books for more detail. Garden Planning is a weak point for me didnt help missing 1/3 of the lectures. I plan to do some revison this weekend if I find anything that maybe of some help I will pm you.

We are only likely to get 2 or 3 questions on garden planning anyway, it doesnt help with the way they ask the questions sometimes as I found doing some old exam papers in the week - just sat staring at the paper wondering exactly what they want for my answer.

I will have a read and see if I can put together some notes.

Have you been doing the course via distance learning or at a college? I am studying at Shuttleworth and have found the course really rewarding :)

Keep going :)


I think you are right- there will only be 2 garden planning Qs at most. Or I hope so!

Try to remember the main points, eg- plant taller plants towards the back of the bed or in the centre of island beds, cultivate and prepare the soil well, choose a formal or informal design, add year-round interest (evergreens, interesting coloured stems), maybe include a focal point, etc.


Thanks for the repsonses,

Clive, thank you for backing up exactly what I have been thinking...I have read through the past questions too and half the time I am unsure exactly what the RHS are getting at and what they want in an answer. What is equally frustrating is when I have read their responses, they seem to imply that the student isn't taking the time to read the questions properly. So, I am relieved that you feel the same.

I have the red Peter Dawson book, and I too have had to do further reading. I'm waiting for a book on Garden Planning to arrive-hopefully Monday morning so I can get some last minute cramming in!

I am doing it via Distance Learning but in hindsight I'd rather have attended a college based course- I think the interaction in class would make more sense of it and I'd remember more.

Do you intend to do further study Clive when you finish the course?

Thanks Cosmo, I'll read up on all that, i seem to have more extensive notes on water gardens and rock gardens than general garden planning...

Good luck with the exam Clive, let me know how you get on!



Hi Loulu, Cosmo,

I am taking the Hort 1 on Wednesday, to clarify just in case the long distance is different for some reason.

Principles of Design - Remember "I Buy HP Sauce" its easy to remember Interest, Balance, Harmony, Proportion, Simplicity.

Example questions:

State four items that should be included in a garden plan: Orientation, scale, key,boundries, date, access points, existing structures etc

State two operations carried out in the garden, which can be damaging to the environment: Use of chemicals, use of peat, excess water usage etc

List four factors which are identified in a site appraisal for the development of a new garden: Access points, existing features, hazzards, soil types and pH, access to utillites, frost pockets etc.

I too am at the begining of the long road of learning plant names, this is my weakest area of my knowledge but I do understand it will take time. For garden planning I have only learnt a few eg Buxus sempervirens, Hedra helix, Cornus alba etc.

Dont forget to take a ruler, pencils, eraser, compass set etc. The compass will come in handy for triangulation compass arcs.

I do intend to study further but havent decided on which course to do, gardening is my hobby/lifestyle so it was natural for me to want to know more theory and the RHS certificate has been good for that. I did find the science part hard as I didnt do GCSE Biology its been fascinating understanding how the plant works.

Class study worked for me, it had been 20 years since I last studied, at first my lecturer seemed to jump to and from subjects constantly, but looking back I understand it was necessary as the subject is so vast and the "drip feed" and "re affirming" has started to pay off (I hope). I find the course structure quite "old school" but on the whole I think this is its best asset as I feel the standard is high. Best of all I have met some fellow gardeners of all ages! :)

Hope the book arrives in time, good luck with the exam, feel free to pm.



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