NGC - LDS Mini-Guide for Students and Consultants




The Landscape Design Schools (LDS) provide continuing education in landscape design. Course content is established by National Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC). A series includes 4 sequenced courses consisting of 10 hours of lectures. A written examination is based on required reading and lectures.


After passing 2 courses, a student becoming a Provisional Consultant may join a Landscape Design Council, that provides educational programs and tours. NGC members passing courses I-IV receive a Consultant Certification Card, which is recognized as a special achievement, but does not convey professional status. Master Consultants have attended 4 refresher events or schools.


Detailed information may be found in the NGC LDS Operations Guide. International Affiliates have their own Operations Guide.




Member Students: A member student belongs to an NGC garden club.


Non-Member Students: The courses and examinations are open to all, but the Consultant Certification Card is issued only to NGC members. Non-member students who have successfully passed the 4 courses may apply for Certification upon joining an NGC Club within one year after completing the series.


Certificates of Attendance or Achievement (LDS 15a/b) are for non-member students attending a full course in a series or an entire series.


Certification of Students:



  • attendance at all lectures for 4 courses.

  • a passing grade of 70 on exams for all 4 courses

  • the 4 courses must be taken in 7 years



The State LDS Chairman where the 4th course is taken prepares the application for a student’s certification. If any of the courses have been taken out-of-state, the student must submit evidence of having passed such courses to said State LDS Chairman. This Chairman then sends the application (LDS 8a) with the examination roster (LDS 6) to the NGC Accrediting Chairman (NGCAC) for the region, who notifies the Schools Secretary at NGC Headquarters. Consultants Certification Cards are issued by the NGCACs, except the LD Consultant Emeritus Card, sent by the Schools Secretary. The cards carry the date of the student’s last examination or refresher.


Extensions for Students:

A student unable to complete the 4 courses within 7 years due to serious problems may request an extension from the State LDS Chairman before the 7 years have elapsed. This chairman forwards the request (LD 9) for authorization to the NGCAC for the region. If approved, the NGCAC records the extension and signs both copies, sending one to the Schools Secretary and one to the State LDS Chairman. Extensions are for 1 year from request date until 31st December of that year. The State LDS Chairman records this date and notifies the student of the extension period.






Consultants must refresh their certification within 5 years from the year of the previous certification by one of these: 

  • Attending a complete LDS course (no exam required)

  • Attending an NGC approved refresher

  • Credit for refresher events can be granted only once within a calendar year beginning in the year following the date on the Consultant Certification Card.


The Consultant must always provide proof of the most recent accreditation to the registrar of each event for which credit is sought.


Record Keeping: 

After verifying each individual’s records, the State LDS Chairman distributes new Refresher Cards to Consultants who complete a course or refresher approved by the NGC LDS Chairman. The State LDS Chairman sends a roster of refreshing Consultants to the NGCAC for the region and to the Schools Secretary at NGC Headquarters. The State LDS Chairman lists the out-of-state refreshing Consultants and their state affiliation. The Schools Secretary notifies the State LDS Chairman in the home state where the Consultant’s records are kept, and the NGCAC for that region.


The NGCAC mails Refresher Cards for Consultants who refresh at any NGC accredited refresher directly to the home state LDS Chairman, who is responsible for maintaining the Consultant’s records.


A Consultant who moves to another state must request a transfer of records in order to be listed locally as a LDS Consultant.



A Consultant unable to refresh within 5 calendar years due to serious problems may request an extension from the State LDS Chairman. The request must be made before the certification expires. The Chairman forwards the request form in duplicate for authorization to the NGCAC for the region. Requests are decided on an individual basis. Extensions are for one year from the date of the request until 31st December of that year. If the request is granted, the NGCAC records the extension, sends one copy to the Schools Secretary at NGC Headquarters, and returns the other to the State LDS Chairman who documents the extension and notifies the Consultant.


Lapsed Consultants can be reinstated within 7 years from their last year for certification by completing 2 courses with a passing grade of 70 for each.


Removal of Records: 

Consultant records are retained for a period of 7 years from the last year of accreditation. After this, an individual’s records are removed from all files.


Master Consultants


After a Consultant’s 4th refresher, the State LDS Chairman automatically applies for the Consultant’s Master Certification Card. If the Consultants’ refreshers have taken place out-of-state, they must verify that their home State LDS Chairman has been notified. Master Consultants must refresh their certification every 5 years, but only once per calendar year.


Consultants Emeritus


Emeritus status is granted to Master Consultants who indicate in writing to their State LDS Chairman that they no longer are able to continue active participation. Unlike Master Consultants, Emeritus Consultants need not take refreshers to maintain their Accreditation, State LDS Chairmen are obliged to write to Master Consultants who have not refreshed within 5 years and who have not requested Emeritus status to notify them that they will be removed from the roster.



Reinstatement:                                                                                                                                                       6/1/2012


* Master status must be achieved before being eligible for Emeritus status.


** No person may represent that they are a Consultant, Master Consultant or Consultant Emeritus unless their credentials are current. To be current, all the requirements of “LDS Mini-Guide for Students and Consultants” (above) must be met.