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Another level 2 exam commentary on Garden Planning
by Janet Prescott - Monday, 15 April 2019, 11:00 AM

From R2111 June ‘18, Q1:

a)      Define EACH of the following terms that are used in risk assessments.     

i)                 hazard  [2 marks]

ii)                risk    [2 marks]

b)     State ONE way that the topography of a garden may be hazardous to users. [2 marks]

c)      Describe TWO design solutions for the situation stated in b) which will minimise risks caused by site topography. [4 marks]

This question relates to the following part of the syllabus:

1.1 Describe how to identify potential hazards and risks on a site, including overhead and underground hazards (e.g. electric cables); unsafe buildings, features and trees; topography and existing features (e.g. watercourses and ponds).  

Define hazard and risk as used in risk assessments. site topography; unsafe hard landscaping features and garden buildings; trees; areas of water in the garden; overhead and underground services.

8.1 Describe TWO hazards associated with EACH of the following: access, slope, location of features, water, electricity, materials, plants.

Slopes to include inclines on grass, ramps, steps. 

Exemplar:  Hazards of materials to include splinters, sharp edges (possible limitation of re-used, reclaimed and recycled materials), slippery surfaces. Hazards of construction not required. 

 8.2 State how the risks related to the hazards identified in 8.1 can be minimised by careful planning during the planning and design stage.

Exemplar:  for materials; the risk of slipping on wood decking minimised by specifying non-slip varnishing materials; risk of splinters by specifying planed/sanded timber.


It is important to have a good understanding of the terms ‘hazard’ and ‘risk’, and to be able to provide clear definitions for them. The examiners’ comments suggest the following:

i)                 Hazard is a potential source of harm or adverse health effect on a person.

ii)                Risk is the likelihood that a person may be harmed or suffer adverse health effects if exposed to a hazard.

Note that these both refer to the effects on people.

For part b) you need to think of just one hazard that can be caused by the topography of a garden. It is a good idea to read through the whole question first as part c) is using your answer to part b). You may have come up with an answer for part b) that is not so easy to think of design solutions for.

 The examiners’ comments suggest the following as suitable answers for b):

·        Wet and slippery slopes

·        Undulations (bumps and hollows) may present trip hazards

·        Low lying land may be boggy

Part c) has the most marks and descriptions are needed.  An example of a two suitable answers for wet and slippery slopes in the examiners’ comments are:

Suitably designed steps with handrails and treads with non-slip materials.

Serpentine paths with low gradients for slippery slopes.

Always make sure you give the correct number of examples or points asked for in the questions. The numbers are put in bold and capitals to make this clearer. Don’t waste time including more points than asked for as it won’t gain you any extra marks.