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Landscape Design Certificate

Interested in creating beautiful landscapes that draw praise and envy from your neighbors (and clients)? Knowledge is the first step. Our Landscape Design Certificate program provides both foundational and cutting-edge concepts as well as techniques for creating functional, crowd-pleasing landscape plans for any type of budget. The next Landscape Design Certificate program begins in Fall 2020.

Analyze existing residential landscapes, create a base map, and select the right plants and hardscapes to perfectly match the design. The instructor—an actively working landscape design professional—will share tips from over a decade of designing and installing award-winning landscapes to help build your expertise, as well as your portfolio.

Program Objectives

After successfully completing this program, students will be able to:

  • “Read” an existing residential landscape and create a base map to guide the design
  • Create an artistic conceptual landscape design that addresses site conditions and client needs
  • Articulate the science behind the artfully finished design in a final presentation
  • Choose appropriate hardscapes that match design intent
  • Know how to select adaptable plants to fit the design
  • Add color to make the plan “pop”


Textbook and Supplies

Supplies and textbooks are not included in the tuition but are recommended for this program. You will need to purchase one of each item on the supply list.

Residential Landscape Architecture (Booth and Hiss, 7th Edition) is recommended for this certificate.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate consists of one full day Saturday and ten weekly evening sessions, culminating in a capstone project in which students produce their own landscape design.

To receive the certificate, students must:

  • Attend the first Saturday course meeting
  • Attend at least 80% of the subsequent class sessions
  • Complete all assignments
  • Receive a passing score of 75% or higher on the Capstone project


Landscape Design I: Understanding the Site – Meeting 1 (8 hours)

Intended for hobbyists, amateur landscape designers and professionals wishing to broaden their residential design skills, the course will provide vital foundational concepts for creating functional crowd pleasing landscape plans. Students will learn to assess landscape conditions found in typical residential settings as well as outdoor room components popular in today's market. Basic design terms and processes and creating a base map, site inventory, and an analysis map will also be covered. Students will take part in a site visit and must provide their own transportation.

Landscape Design II (Residential): Designing Winning Landscape Plans – Meetings 2-5 (8 hours)

In the second part of the foundational course for our landscape design program, students will use the skills developed in part one to create functional landscape diagrams and apply preliminary design guidelines and principles. By learning and practicing basic graphic skills, students will be able to create visually appealing plans. Students will then draw conceptual master plans using and demonstrating an understanding of the master plan process including the use of form and spatial compositions. Incorporating the elements of sustainability will be woven through every lesson.

Right Plant, Right Place: Succeeding with Plants – Meeting 6 (2 hours)

Designed for the person who wants to get down and dirty with plants that really work in the garden--no high maintenance, low tolerance plants allowed. Learn to use the best plants for your area and how to create stunning plans that thrive for years to come. Learn how to select the right plant for the right place and stop wasting time and money on plants that look miserable for years.

Sticks and Stones: Hardscapes Made Simple – Meeting 7 (2 hours)

No matter how good your skills are with plants, you will never be a complete landscape designer if you do not understand how to effectively design walls, patios, decks, fences, and arbors. Come learn the fundamentals and secrets of hardscape construction by taking your designs to a whole new level. Using wood, stone, bricks, and mortar can be expensive and time-consuming, so don't take chances.

Bringing the Master Plan to Life: Plan Graphics – Meeting 8 (2 hours)

Bring your landscape plans to life by adding dynamic colors, graphics and pictures. No matter how great your designs are, you need a way to communicate your vision and this class will show you how.

Capstone – Meetings 9-11 (6 hours)

These are the classes that pull all your landscape design skills together. You will complete the landscape design you began in the first class adding plant names, hardscape selections and beautiful color graphics. Along the way you’ll be getting live in-class feedback on your progress from Holly and Eric. Next you’ll create a “take-off” where you capture elements forming the first step in job cost estimating. After learning how to present your plan you will be given your opportunity to “sell” your design to the class.

View All Upcoming Course Sessions

Artistic Landscape Enhancements

The following course is not required to receive the Landscape Design Certificate but is recommended for hobbyists who want a shorter course to increase the impact of their landscaping.

Artistic Landscape Enhancements$953 hours

Estimating and Proposing Landscape Enhancements

The following course is not required to receive the Landscape Design Certificate but is recommended after completing the certificate.

Estimating and Proposing Landscape Enhancements$953 hours


The Landscape Design Certificate course is eligible for a deposit option. With this option, a student puts down $850 upon registration and pays the remaining balance seven (7) days prior to the course start date. If the student is registering with a discount, the discount will be reflected on the second payment. The down payment will still be $850.

If full payment is not received seven (7) days prior to the course start date, the student will be dropped from the course, removed from the roster and dropped from the Canvas site.

Payment Options

The easiest way to pay for courses with Emory Continuing Education is using any major credit card including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.


Who Will Benefit?

The following types of students will benefit from this program:
  • Serious gardeners seeking to grow their skills or entrepreneurs seeking to grow a new venture.
  • Landscape architects that want to expand their knowledge of residential design.
  • Those working in related fields like landscape maintenance, civil engineering, garden centers or landscape installation that want to offer residential design services to new and existing clients.
  • Anyone considering a career change as a landscape designer.