HNC Garden Design candidate information

HNC Garden Design

The key aim of the HNC Garden Design is to develop the underpinning knowledge of plants and their uses, and the practical skills required in the care and maintenance of plants. The HNC will give you also provides the education and training necessary to become a Garden Designer. You will develop an awareness and understanding of the design process; and the knowledge and skills required to design, build, research, and manage gardens.

The HNC will also allow you to become familiar with the main theoretical concepts and terminology of horticulture; gain an outline knowledge of areas of specialism and an appreciation of the evolving nature of knowledge and understanding of horticultural science and practices. You will be introduced to research processes, and develop a clear understanding of the social relevance of horticulture and landscape. You will develop your abilities to solve problems, and undertake analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Employment and progression opportunities

When you achieve the HNC you should have the basic generic knowledge and understanding and competences to be employable at the craft level of the industry.

You will have opportunities to progress to the HND Garden Design or the HND Landscape Management. It is also possible to progress to other HND/degree programmes in related areas, or to SVQs in Amenity Horticulture. This may depend on the options you choose in your HNC, so check with your centre or lecturer.


Access to the award is at the discretion of the centre. No prior knowledge of Horticulture, Landscape Management or Garden Design is necessary, but work experience or qualifications (or both) would be of benefit. You should also possess an appropriate level of Numeracy and Communication Skills, ie to SCQF level 5 or above. Examples of suitable formal qualifications include:

  • two Highers (grade C or above) and evidence of Numeracy and Communications Core Skills at Intermediate 2
  • an appropriate group of National Units in related subjects eg NPA Rural Skills at SCQF level 5
  • vocational qualifications, eg an SVQ/NVQ 3 in a relevant subject such as Amenity Horticulture or Intensive Crop Production

Other combinations of National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and qualifications from other awarding bodies may be acceptable (eg, GCSEs, or land-based qualifications).

If you have suitable work experience but no formal qualifications, you may be accepted for entry provided that the enrolling centre is satisfied that you will be able to cope with the course and are likely to benefit.