Garden Maintenance

Course CodeVHT100
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn how to effectively maintain a garden while reducing the amount of time, labour and costs involved.

Proper garden maintenance will cost you both time and money. Fortunately, there are shortcuts to help you have a good-looking garden without spending a huge amount of time or money on your property.


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction Planning and managing a garden.
    • Cost of Maintenance
    • Expensive and Less Expensive areas of a garden
    • Planning
    • Garden Checklists
    • Analyzing Maintenance of Parks and Gardens
    • Organising Garden Maintenance Staff
  2. Garden Furnishings and Machinery
    • What Tool for What Job
    • Overview of Machinery
    • Mowers and How to Mow
    • Aerators, Chippers, Mechanised Sprayers, Chain Saws, Brush Cutters, etc.
    • Tractors
    • Tool Maintenance
    • Engine Troubleshooting
    • Outdoor Furniture -plastic, timber, metal
    • Protecting Furnishings -paints, stains, preservatives
  3. Feeding Plants
    • Symptoms of Nutritional and other Problems
    • Conducting an Inspection of Plants
    • Soil Characteristics and identification of Soil Issues
    • Review of Plant Nutrition
    • Choosing the Right Fertiliser
    • Diagnosing Nutritional Problems
    • Improving soils
  4. Weed Control
    • Nature and Scope of Weed Problems
    • Natural Ways to Control Weeds -suffocation, burning, cultivation, etc
    • Common groups of weeds and options for treating and recognising different weed varieties.
  5. Weedicides
    • How Weeds Spread
    • Types of chemicals found in weedicides and suitable weedicide
    • Which chemical would control the weed.
    • Chemicals and the Law
  6. Natural Pest Control
    • Scope and Nature of Natural Controls
    • Cultural Controls
    • Mechanical Control Methods
    • Physical Control Methods
    • Methods for controlling selected insects
    • Companion Planting
    • Common Environmental Problems
    • Tolerance Levels in different plants
    • Biological Controls
    • Natural Sprays
    • Buffer Zones
    • Mulching
  7. Chemical Pest Control
    • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
    • Ways of Applying Chemicals
    • Safety with Chemicals
    • Understanding Pesticides -toxicity, LD50, Persistence, etc.
    • Specific chemical treatments and a summary of pesticides.
  8. Turf Management
    • Common Turf Problems
    • Turf Pests
    • Chemical Damage
    • Establishment and Maintenance of Lawns
    • Mowing, Fertilizing, Aeration, etc
    • Turf varieties, appropriate turf for specific areas, low and high maintenance turf.
  9. Irrigation
    • Importance of Water
    • Water Loss from different soils & Improving Water retention
    • Understanding Water Dynamics in soil
    • Irrigation -types of systems
    • Planning an irrigation system
    • Using an irrigation system
    • Controlling slippery surfaces
  10. Maintenance of Plants
    • Why Prune
    • Before Pruning
    • Time of Pruning -does it matter?
    • What to consider when pruning
    • Removing Dead Wood
    • Controlling shape and size
    • How to prune different types of plants


  • Select and maintain tools and equipment appropriately for use in garden maintenance.
  • Describe maintenance requirements for garden structures such as furniture, gates and fencing.
  • Maintain appropriate nutrition requirements for healthy plant growth.
  • Control weeds in a garden.
  • Use weedicides in a safe and effective way.
  • Control pests using non chemical methods.
  • Use chemical pesticides safely and efficiently.
  • Maintain lawns in a healthy and well maintained condition.
  • Describe options for managing water in a garden.
  • Determine actions that should be taken to maintain a variety of different plants.


Torpedo Hoes are very flexible tools, with cutting edges both on the back and front of a long blade that comes to a point at each end. The blade will cut weeds when pushed, or when pulled through the soil and turned on its end, the point can be used to chip at a weed and get into smaller areas compared to other types of hoes. The blade shape can vary from one brand to another, but once you get used to this type of hoe, you can become very efficient at weeding.

Plants growing on Buildings
It looks great to have a climber growing up the wall of a house. It also helps insulate the building, but it can cause problems. Any plant will keep the house wall moist, and this can lead to wood rots and mould (spores of which many people are allergic). Some types of plants can grow into cracks then push bricks or wood apart as they slowly grow in size.


Copper is a natural fungicide, and is a relatively soft option if you are worried about chemicals. It will control a wide range of fungal diseases including Black Spot on Roses and Peach Leaf Curl. There is a wide range of copper-based sprays available . All are effective in their control of disease, though they may vary a little in how you use them and what they cost. Whatever you choose to use, it will be good value for the money you spend.

Fruit Fly Trap
Fruit Fly is a big problem throughout some parts of the world. A Fruit Fly Trap involves an attractant and a poison. Male flies are attracted inside the trap, then killed. Without males, the flies cannot breed, so the population declines.

Stop Erosion
Gravel and pebble paths can be easily eroded by heavy rain. If you have this problem, try using one of the various grid products (made from concrete or plastic) which are now available. They are laid over the path surface, then filled with fine pebbles. The grid consists of lots of small pockets, a couple of centimetres across. Heavy rain will not erode the surface, but it will soak in through the pebbles.
Hint: Ensure the soil below the grid drains reasonably well. If it is hard clay, treat it with lime, gypsum or a clay breaker chemical periodically for the first few years to improve water penetration.  

Wrapping Aerial Roots
Some plants, such as this Ficus, produce aerial roots. Under normal conditions, these roots are in humid air, but during an abnormally dry season, if the air becomes too dry, these roots may suffer or even die. Aerial roots here have been wrapped in hessian which can be occasionally moistened, minimising the effect of dry air.



  • Professional gardeners
  • People working for a professional gardening outfit
  • Home gardeners
  • Landscapers
  • Garden designers


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