Course list

In this course, you will examine the characteristics of common landscape plants to determine how to distinguish them. There is a particular descriptive language that is used when talking about plant traits, which takes practice to learn. By starting with a small set of traits and expanding it as you examine more plants, you will be able to better identify the plants that you encounter.

You will also examine some common landscape plants to develop your understanding of botanical illustration and how it can be used to aid in identification. The combination of illustrations and technical descriptions is a foundational skill that will be used to build your knowledge of plants that are useful in the constructed environment.

Finally, you will apply this new language to create and use an identification key; this tool is the industry standard for determining the identity of an unknown plant. These specific tools and takeaways will prove crucial as you start your career or strive to reach your personal goals in your local landscape and beyond.

There are multiple aspects of a soil that will positively or negatively impact the plants that are grown there. In this course, you will examine both the physical and chemical properties of a soil. Physical characteristics, such as bulk density, texture, and water-holding capacity, and chemical properties, such as pH, will play a critical role in your planting. By observing these characteristics, you will discover how to more accurately quantify the properties of a soil and determine which plants perform well in different soil types. Through these exercises, you will gain practical knowledge to ensure a successful design when choosing plants for a particular planting site.

By definition, urban planting is done in close proximity to buildings, roads, and other human-made structures, and these structures will impact the sun, soil, moisture, and wind surrounding your planting. This course will show you how to incorporate these crucial variables into your design decisions, ensuring your plant choices are appropriate and offering more opportunity for innovation with successful results.

You are required to have completed the following course or have equivalent experience before taking this course:

  • Identifying Plants

In this course, you will determine how a site may need to be modified before planting. By examining the different properties, you can see how the existing soil will need to be amended so that the plants chosen by the designer will thrive.

There are a number of ways to improve the characteristics of a soil, each with its own benefits and limitations. You will explore these considerations and discuss when to choose each type of modification through practical example exercises. You will compare the properties of the different types of amendments and specialized soils, including CU-Structural Soil™?, which was developed by Cornell University's Urban Horticulture Institute.

Finally, you will address the installation plan. You will specify how much soil will need to be modified, which involves reading, analyzing, and creating both plan and cross-sectional views of the whole site and of the specific locations where plants will be installed. You will also use these views to determine measurements that will enable you to calculate the volumes of necessary soil amendments to make cost prediction more accurate and efficient. Overall, the techniques in this course will increase your understanding of the project design as a whole, allowing you to focus on creativity, innovation, and what you do best.

You are required to have completed the following courses or have equivalent experience before taking this course:

  • Identifying Plants
  • Assessing Site and Soil Properties

Plant selection for a particular location is a balance of multiple dynamic factors. In addition to soil characteristics and aspects of the built environment, plants have inherent traits. Their final sizes and shapes need to be considered as well as how quickly they will grow or if they will spread beyond the initial planting. As you decide on the plants to use for a particular location, you will need to evaluate all of these factors. To simplify the process, this course will highlight the crucial elements of a planting design, allowing you to justify your expert decisions to stakeholders throughout the project.

The method of plant production is also a critical element in the design and implementation of your planting. The nursery trade can provide many types of plants in many different sizes, but this also varies based on location. As a designer, you must balance cost, availability, ease of installation, and aesthetic or functional aspects to make appropriate selections. All of these factors are combined in what is called a “planting schedule,” which you will practice both reading and developing. Overall, this course will highlight the necessary elements of design and planting decisions, providing you with takeaway knowledge and techniques to utilize during your next project.

You are required to have completed the following courses or have equivalent experience before taking this course:

  • Identifying Plants
  • Assessing Site and Soil Properties
  • Improving Soil Properties

Creating an effective planting plan requires incorporating aesthetics, soil properties, stakeholder goals, existing infrastructure, and desired ecosystem benefits. Given the characteristics of a planting site, as well as what the customer wants to accomplish, you will have the opportunity to design a plan that effectively addresses those needs and goals. You will need to select appropriate plants to meet the design goals, consider what can or should be done to modify the site so that the chosen plants will thrive, and communicate your design clearly to the installation team.

By following the steps that are outlined in this course, you will be able to convert your initial design ideas into a standardized format that can be understood by others. You will follow this same process as you continue to design plantings in the future.

You are required to have completed the following courses or have equivalent experience before taking this course:

  • Identifying Plants
  • Assessing Site and Soil Properties
  • Improving Soil Properties
  • Plant Selection

How It Works

I have always been passionate to voice the voice of the unheard and provide an opportunity to bring everyone to the table. This certificate gave me the experience, tools and skills to do so... It was exactly what I needed.
‐ Josiah E.
Josiah E.

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