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How TAFE NSW can make you a backyard DIY 'ninja'

TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre

How TAFE NSW can make you a backyard DIY 'ninja'

DIY DOYEN: Adam Morrison from Wagga’s Creative Outdoors and More says TAFE NSW is an ideal foundation for a career in landscaping.

2 October, 2019

A leading Wagga landscaper has identified the most common backyard “DIY disasters” ahead of the popular spring garden makeover season.

Adam Morrison from Creative Outdoors and More - a former TAFE NSW student who has hired a number of TAFE NSW graduates from the Certificate III in Landscape Construction course - said the explosion in popularity of home improvement TV shows, DIY videos on YouTube and the growth of hardware giants like Bunnings, had created a DIY “perfect storm” in backyards across the region.

And while the makeovers were well-intentioned, Mr Morrison said it was often left to the experts like him to clean up the mess.

“The DIY approach to landscaping has become a real trend but it’s important to remember landscaping is an art form that has aspects of so many trades in it,” Mr Morrison said. “There’s building, horticulture, civil construction, tiling, plumbing and more, and it’s difficultfor an ordinary homeowner to do a lot of this themselves.”

The 30-year-old said the top five most common DIY mistakes he encountered were:

  1. Biting off more than you can chew: “I’ve seen plenty of people try and project manage a big landscaping job themselves, where they bring in different tradies separately. The problem there is if something goes wrong and the client doesn’t pick it up, it can cause huge headaches. You might save a few dollars in the short term but it could cost you a packet if you have to rectify a serious problem.”
  2. DIY decking: “People often attempt to do their own decking but in the Wagga climate, these can warp and twist really easily, especially if you take shortcuts.”
  3. Retaining walls: “Drive around Wagga and you’ll see retaining walls failing everywhere. It’s often that homeowners don’t put the posts in that support the walls far enough into the ground.”
  4. Paving eye for detail: “This is a critical one and you often see it with DIY paving. People think paving is simple but the end result is that pavers often don’t line up, especially where patterns are used. The levels and plumness are all over the place.”

Mr Morrison and his team have constructed a host of high-profile projects across Wagga and the state, including the recently opened Livvi’s Place inclusive playground at Bolton Park.

He described TAFE NSW’s Certificate III in Landscape Construction, offered at the TAFE NSW Primary Industries Centre (PIC) at North Wagga, as the “ideal foundation” for anyone wishing to enter the landscaping business.

“The teachers all have great experience and have actually worked in the industry … they know what they’re talking about,” he said.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Horticulture Kim Thomas said the course armed graduates with a suite of industry relevant skills and gave them strong job prospects.

“The landscaping teacher at PIC (Brad Wighton) operates his own landscaping company and has been in the industry for two decades,” Mr Thomas said.

The Certificate III in Landscape Construction at TAFE NSW is a two-year, part-time course, allowing students to study while working in the industry.

To find out more about the course, call 13 16 01 or visit

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.