Train as a Garden Designer

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  • Accredited training.
  • 8 study modules and assignments.
  • One-to-one tutor support.
  • Flexible training, allowing you to study at home in your own time.
  • Affordable, with a range of payment options.
  • Students can apply for student membership of the Society of Garden Designers.
[/custom_list] With distance learning, you can retrain for a new career or develop new work skills in just three hours a week!

There are no set class times, so you can fit study into your life in a way that suits you. You can also take a study break of up to 12 months if needed, and return to the course when you’re ready.

You’ll benefit from one-to-one support from an expert personal tutor who you can contact by email or instant chat at any time.

[testimonial company=”Garden Design Diploma” author=”Kate Weaver” image=””]Garden Design has been my dream job for a long time, but juggling work and caring for two growing children, I thought there was no way I could do the necessary training, so I was really pleased when I found this course. Studying by distance learning suited me perfectly, it meant I could plan study around work and family life, and I could take a break when I needed to too. I may not have been Lydia’s fastest student ever, but after two years I have my diploma and a portfolio of work I’m really proud of. What’s more I’ve just completed my first paid design project! The course was just what I was looking for – the material is excellent and I loved the personal tutor support – Lydia was great at keeping me on track and helping me to create a really professional portfolio of work. I probably asked a lot of daft questions in the early days, but she never once made me feel that – she was always supportive and patient.[/testimonial]

Course Details

Subjects covered include: practical garden planning and design; key design techniques; latest trends in garden design; selecting new materials and techniques; understanding soil; working with clients; harmony and cohesion; creating a sense of place; key styles – Minimalist, Mediterranean, Urban and Oriental; materials and styles; assessing the site; selecting and arranging plants. With many garden plans and three-dimensional design sketches.


  • Diploma in Garden Design

Professional Development

Students may apply to join the Society of Garden Designers as student members. Once their course is complete and they are practicing as a garden designers, they may apply to join as full members.

[button link=”” type=”icon” icon=”people”]Visit Edinburgh Garden School to Book.[/button]

Course Outline

Course book: The Essential Garden Design Workbook. (Printed Course Only)

Module 1: Basics of Design: Key elements. Introducing the survey. Analysis. A working plan. Zoning. Surveying and drawing equipment. Understanding client needs.

Module 2: Strong Foundations: The finished design. Presentation techniques. Drawing plans. Sections and elevations. Planning irrigation and drainage. Marking out. Planning your first garden.

Module 3: The Site Survey: Carrying out a detailed survey. Drawing a site plan. Site inventory and analysis. Garden layout plan. Landscape and existing features. Climate. Trees in garden design.

Module 4: Selecting and Using Plants: Selecting plants (trees, plants and crops) to suit location, consideration of scale, position, facilities and features. Planting density. Planting plans. Considering function. Associations between plants and other features. Interior landscapes.

Module 5: A Sense of Place. Exploring meaning and experience. Creating a sense of place. Engaging the senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste. The role of essential oils in the garden. Colour theory in garden design. Creating visual impact. Understand light and colour in the garden. Gardening for sensory impairment. Ideas from horticultural therapy. More on presentations to clients: 3D presentations, CAD. Legal issues in design.

Module 6: History of Garden Design. Early history of gardens. Ancient East: hanging gardens of Babylon, Persian paradise gardens. Egyptian gardens. Roman gardens. Medieval garden design. The Renaissance garden: high renaissance, Carolus Clusius, French influences, André le Nôtre. The Elizabethan garden. The Restoration. Georgian and Regency gardens. Victorian gardens: gardenesque, floral bedding, Joseph Paxton. Edwardian influence. Key designers: William Robinson, Gertrude Jekyll, Vita Sackville West, Edwin Lutyens. The Arts and Crafts movement. The war years. Modernism and landscape architecture.

Module 7: Eastern Garden Design. Explore Eastern ideas on the role of the garden. History and principles of Chinese and Japanese garden design. The aesthetics of imperfection. Creating the fusion garden. Design Project Part A.

Module 8: Running Your Own Design Practice. Legal issues involved in setting up a design practice. Possible structures for your business. Planning your business. Developing key personal skills. Growing your team. Working with subcontractors. Health and safety issues. Understand the needs of your customer/client base. Learn how to understand and research your marketplace. Identify the most effective marketing approach for your business. Explore the opportunities offered by Internet marketing. Continuing professional development. Design Project Part B.

Borders Connect is one of the UK’s leading distance learning providers. All of our home study courses include study material, which is sent out in an attractive, hardwearing folder and essential course books or delivered online directly to your email address. Both versions of the course include full tutorial support. We are accredited by the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council and registered as providers with the Learning Skills Council.