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Sustainable Landscaping Diploma

Why Choose Sustainable Landscaping Diploma at CLC?

Work outdoors planting, pruning, and maintaining landscape plants

Learn hands on how to install patios, ponds, walls and more

Create and draw landscape and garden designs with annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees

Our instructors have industry knowledge and a strong passion to help students succeed before and after graduation

About the Program

Would you like to make the world a more beautiful, better place to live? Do you enjoy working independently? Are you creative or artistic? Would like to be your own boss? Do you enjoy being outside in nature and being active? Is your goal to be a successful small business owner? Students in the Landscaping Profession frequently answer yes to many of the questions above, and if you answered yes to any or all of these we would encourage you to consider choosing landscaping for your occupation.

For over 40 years Central Lakes College (CLC) has been training students to become Professional Landscape Designers and installers. CLC students especially appreciate all of the hands-on instruction and practice they receive, actually creating designs, building retaining walls and patios, planting and caring for trees and shrubs, and participating in so many other activities connected with landscaping. In addition, CLC is located in the beautiful Brainerd Lakes Area, where students an enjoy the recreational opportunities the lakes and forests provide. The combination of a thriving landscape industry, a state-of-the-art college campus, relevant instruction from well trained, experienced teachers, and a beautiful setting in the woods and lakes of central Minnesota makes the landscaping program at Central Lakes College a wise choice for your future.

Program Information

Program Course Requirements

First Year – Fall Semester
HORT 1104  Plant Science (4 cr)
HORT 1106  Applied Plant Science Lab (2cr)
HORT 2165  Landscape Design (4 cr)
HORT 2150 Retaining Wall Construction (4 cr) OR HORT 2155  Deck, Patio, and Pond Construction (4 cr)
General Education (3 cr)
Total 17 Credits

First Year – Spring Semester
HORT 1103*  Ornamental Trees and Shrubs (4 cr)
HORT 1180   Sustainable Landscaping (3 cr)
HORT 1196   Sustainable Greenhouse Management (4 cr)
HORT 2180*  Computer Assisted Landscape Design (4 cr)
Total 15 Credits

Second Year – Fall Semester
HORT 1113  Annuals and Perennials (4 cr)
HORT 2140  Arboriculture (4 cr)
HORT 1122  Local Food Production (3 cr)
HORT 2150  Retaining Wall Construction (4 cr) OR HORT 2155  Deck, Patio, and Pond Construction (4 cr)
Total 15 Credits

Second Year – Spring Semester
HORT 1150  Turf Management (3 cr)
HORT 2116  Integrated Pest Management (4 cr)
HORT 2170*  Advanced Landscape Design (4 cr)
HORT 1345  Internship (1 cr)
General Education (3 cr)
Total 15 Credits

*Denotes Prerequisites

Career Description: Sustainable landscaping graduates find careers in a variety of positions related to landscape design, landscape construction, landscape installation, golf course maintenance, and nursery production. The demand for qualified individuals with good skills and work habits is very high. People who enjoy creating beautiful surroundings, working outside, and improving the environment will benefit from the Sustainable Landscaping Program.

Program Information: This two–year Sustainable Landscaping Diploma provides students with a broad knowledge of the landscaping profession through real life situations in a practical, hands-on atmosphere. The courses are designed to provide knowledge for all phases of a landscape project. This knowledge includes in-depth information about the plants and products used in the landscaping industry, proper landscape design principles, up-to-date installation and construction practices, and procedures for estimating and bidding landscape projects.

Program Outcomes:
Graduates will be able to:

  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in horticulture careers;
  • Identify regional and Minnesota plants by common name, genus and species;
  • Propagate, grow, and maintain plants in horticultural production systems;
  • Identify and prescribe sustainable options in horticulture which benefit the environment while maintaining productivity and economic viability;
  • Design, construct and install landscape projects which include plants, patios, retaining walls and ponds; and
  • Apply effective communication and interpersonal skills with co-workers, supervisors, suppliers and customers.

Transfer Opportunities: Many horticulture courses can be transferred to a variety of four-year colleges and universities. Because each college has its own requirements, always check with an advisor or counselor about transferability of specific courses to other colleges.

Career Opportunities: Job opportunities include landscape design, construction, and installation, garden center sales and positions in the greenhouse and nursery industry.

Career Titles: Some common career titles for people in this field are landscape designer, landscape salesperson, landscape installation foreman, landscape business owner/manager, lawn maintenance business owner/manager, ornamental plant pest control, irrigation/sprinkler installation, nursery/garden center sales, wholesale nursery sales and nursery supply sales.


jeff dirks

Jeff Dirks

Horticulture Instructor
Brainerd W136
jeff dirks
Jeff Dirks

Horticulture Instructor

My name is Jeff Dirks and I am one of the horticulture instructors who teaches at Central Lakes College. I enjoy teaching in all areas of horticulture, but particularly enjoy the labs that include active learning such as building retaining walls, patios and ponds, creating floral designs, and growing plants in the greenhouses. I really enjoy living and teaching in the Brainerd Lakes area because of the great outdoor experiences available here. Some of my hobbies are fishing, hunting, and enjoying all kinds of water sports on any of the 465 lakes within 30 miles of town. And of course, it is a great pleasure to see so many of our students enjoy successful careers after graduating from Central Lakes College.

Brainerd W136
photo unavailable

Theri Wasniewski

Horticulture Instructor
Brainerd W135
photo unavailable
Theri Wasniewski

Horticulture Instructor

My name is Theri Wasniewski, I am one of the horticulture instructors. My favorite classes to teach are about woody plants and insects. We plant, prune, check for diseases and learn to make our communities better by having the right plants in the right places. The Brainerd Lakes area is a great place to live and go to school. There is more to do and explore in the area than there are days in a week. I like to hike, camp, cross country ski, garden and check out the native plant communities in our area. It would be great if every property (home and work) had a few apple trees and some herbs or vegetables; sustainable by design!

Brainerd W135

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

Gainful Employment – Landscape Technology Diploma

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