Do you want to design gardens?
For over 25 years, this training has produced highly successful landscapers and garden designers.
- developed by landscaper and Garden magazine editor John Mason with participation from over 20 horticulturists and garden designers from Australia, the UK, and other countries.
- updated frequently to guarantee that the notes are accurate.
- supported by a wide range of distinctive materials, such as movies, pictures, online library articles, but most importantly the chance for one-on-one contact with highly trained and skilled landscape specialists.
“Those working in garden design or as landscape gardeners will find this to be a highly comprehensive course. You will learn not only about construction processes, garden features, and landscape detailing, but also how to create blueprints and design various sorts of gardens. Add to that plant, soil, and care information, and you can see how diverse and comprehensive this course is.”
How the class is graded
The Certificate in Garden Design entails around 600 hours of study.
To pass the course, students must complete the assignments at the end of each session as well as two exams. The examinations are given at the end of the course and after the completion of lesson 15. Examinations are scheduled at times and locations that are convenient for students. Each exam requires a cost.
- Debate the tenets Garden Planning.
- Provide the groundwork for the systematic identification of plants and the systematic analysis of cultural demands.
- Get knowledge of various gardening techniques, mostly by researching gardening history.
- Improve your fundamental drawing abilities for landscapes as well as your comprehension of contracts and standards.
- Determine the soil types that are ideal for a garden plan.
- Recognize environmental factors and take them into consideration when planning a garden.
- Find out what earthworks are necessary for the garden plan.
- While planning a garden, take into account how design and construction interact.
- Find the best surfacing for various gardening.
Choose the right garden structures for your space.
- Analyze how well-designed a park is.
- Analyze the house garden’s layout.
- Get an understanding of the influence that design can have on a garden’s cost.
- Examine the purpose and layout of paths, trails, and sporting facilities that are surfaced in a garden or park.
- Discuss the range and types of equipment used in garden landscaping.
- Talk about the best techniques to establish plants.
- Talk about the layout of water gardens.
- Talk about how to incorporate concrete, brick, stone, and rock into garden designs.
- Discuss how to properly include lawns into landscape designs.
- Discuss how to use irrigation effectively in landscape designs.
- Talk about the layout of natural gardens.
- Talk about the layout of cottage gardens.
- Talk about the layout of kid-friendly spaces.
- Talk about the layout of the garden beds.
- Determine the management abilities needed to be a garden designer with a sustainable business.
- Describe the techniques for restoring damaged landscapes.
- Describe strategies for resolving drainage issues in a landscape design.
- Examine the connection between garden maintenance and design.
- Provide examples of how a garden designer should interact with clients.
- Create a noteworthy garden plan.
Where may this path take you?
There is a lack of qualified workers in this field. There has been an increased (and growing) demand for landscape and horticulture specialists, according to surveys conducted recently in Australia, the UK, and other nations. Unfortunately, financial and other pressures have forced changes to the length and content of many government-sponsored programmes, and the business world is aware that there are simply not enough people who can create effective plans and know how to choose the best plants for particular circumstances.
This certificate is lengthy and has a lot of information. Although it could take longer than some other landscaping credentials (provided elsewhere), in our experience, students who complete this course typically develop better plans, have more expertise working with a variety of plant cultivars, complete tasks more quickly, and have higher confidence.
Your career in this field will be guaranteed if you can speak to clients with more assurance, offer more options for their gardens, and develop better plans more quickly.
- The work is present.
- There are far too few talented designers.
- This course takes longer to complete, but it is necessary for becoming a good designer.
Typical assignments from this course
The following are just some of the activities that the student will undertake in this course.
- Locate a planted area. (It could be a park or home garden; it could be a new development or a redevelopment of an older garden). Visit the location and collect the preliminary planning information needed to design the landscaping.
- Discover five examples of how landscape principles are used. Using sketches and written descriptions, describe how the garden was put out to produce those specific effects.
- Locate gardens that represent three distinct styles. Send a photograph or sketch plan of each along with a half page written description of the style of the garden. Describe any historical influences, especially those who built and owned the garden. The gardens could be ones you’ve visited in person or ones you’ve seen in a magazine or book.
- Copy the symbol drawings (i.e. drawings which show you how to represent plants, walls, rocks, etc. when you draw plans). Try drawing these varied landscape elements.
- Create a design for that area, or a portion of that area, using the pre-planning information gathered.
- Take a soil sample and try to identify it using the test provided.
- Acquire potting or soil mix components; create various mixes and test their properties.
- Examine an area that will require earthmoving. Create a scale plan of the area to depict the area to be excavated. Determine the volume of earth that will be removed. Choose where it will be placed.
- Locate, observe, and report on any poor landscape construction work. (You could talk about a terrible rockery, a collapsing wall, or unsafe playground equipment.)
- Identify three examples of poor surface choices in a landscape (i.e. home garden, park, sports oval, tennis court or whatever). Explain the substance used and why it is terrible. Assess both the surfacing’s aesthetic and utilitarian aspects.
- Create a redevelopment strategy for an existing park. Upload a snapshot of the park as it now exists (otherwise submit a rough sketch). Create a redevelopment design based on the suggested changes.
- Pick an existing home garden (yours or a friend’s) and design a sketch layout while the garden is still in place. Describe how well you believe this garden was created.
- Locate another home garden that requires a new design or redevelopment. Create four rough sketches depicting the processes you would take in designing or redesigning that specific garden.
- Provide a clear description of how you completed your costing in the assigned work. Demonstrate the various costing components and explain why you costed it this way rather than higher or lower.
- Create a trail. It can be any form of trail (fun and fitness, nature, history, etc.) and can be anywhere (a street, park, home garden, etc.).
- Locate and visit some newly planted gardens (completed within the last 4 months). Visit as many as three separate properties. Make a note of any maintenance issues. Analyze what may have been done to avoid these issues.
- Create a perpetual border for a brick house’s front wall.
- Provide a strategy for establishing a high number of trees in a degraded environment. This plan should last at least five years. You must clearly state the situation and how you intend to use the trees to assist repair the region.
- Create a water element (such as a pond or stream bed) for a natural or bush garden. Provide blueprints as well as a step-by-step description of how you would build such a water element.
- Create a rockery section for your bush garden.
- Create a bush garden with mostly ferns for a small courtyard with specific dimensions.
There are 30 lessons in this course:
- Introduction to Landscaping
- Plant Identification
- History of Gardening
- Drawing Plans
- Soils & Nutrition
- Understanding the Environment
- Earthworks & Surveying
- Basic Landscape Construction
- Garden Structures
- Park Design
- Home Garden Design
- Costing & Specifications
- Trail Design
- Tools & Machinery
- Plant Establishment Techniques
- Ponds & Pools
- Rockwork & Masonry
- Lawn Construction Techniques
- Irrigation Design & Installation
- Bush Garden Design
- Cottage Garden Design
- Playground Design
- Garden Bed Design
- Land Rehabilitation
- Dealing with Clients
- Major Design Project
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
How to use your garden ideas to make a statement
In a garden, something as simple as a flower may have a huge impression. A sculpture properly positioned to attract the attention, or a courtyard wall painted in a bright colour, may do more to improve the garden than an entire garden bed full of beautiful plants. Here are some easy but effective methods to make a statement in your garden with sculpture, water, and walls.
A well-placed sculpture is the most straightforward approach to create a focal point in the yard. Classical designs are timeless, and there are numerous great copies available. The usage of Roman and Greek-style classical columns is a common trend. Taller columns are utilised as a decorative feature in their own right, commonly against a wall, while shorter columns can serve as a plinth for an urn or sculpture.
Modern sculptures look great in a minimalist garden or courtyard. Designs are frequently abstract or eclectic, with geometric shapes made of metal, plastics, fibreglass, and other polished materials not commonly found in gardens.
For greatest impact, make sure the sculpture has enough of room around it. Don’t overcrowd it with a variety of plants and textures. If you wish to add some greenery for softening, choose uniform plants, such as massed groundcovers around the base or a hedge or wall of neatly cut climbers behind the sculpture.
Bare walls are the most prominent element in a small courtyard. In general, the walls are made to disappear behind a screen of climbers and bushes. There are, however, some very intriguing things you can do with walls:
- Paint a wall one colour; depending on the colour chosen, it can vary the mood of the garden in addition to providing an attractive backdrop. Red, yellow, and pink hues give the garden a warm, lively, and busy feeling. Calm hues (greens, blues) are calming and help to cool the garden (psychologically). Light colours open up the space while dark colours provide an impression of containment and intimacy.
- On a wall, create a trompe l’oeil. A painted scene created to trick the eye is called a trompe l’oeil. It provides the garden a quirky, amusing touch and gives the impression that the garden is larger than it actually is.
- Decorate the wall with ornamental lattice or trellis panels.
- Make narrow niches in the wall to place urns, busts, or miniature sculptures on exhibit. The appearance of a courtyard or garden with niches is often formal and classical.
- To create an axis, install an ornamental gate in the wall that is maybe aligned with a fountain, decoration, or the home’s front doors. The garden is given a sense of intrigue as a secret hideaway from the outer world by a basic, sturdy gate situated in a high wall. It also teases the imagination about what might be behind the door.
One of the cleverest tricks for small outdoor areas is using a mirror placed on a wall. The mirror catches and reflects light and thereby ‘extends’ the view giving the illusion that the garden is bigger than it really is.
- to observe the movement and reflection of light on water from behind a body of water.
- to create the appearance of additional length at the end of an axis, such as a walkway.
- With some light-colored plants in front of and below it to create the impression of space and lightness against a dark wall
- You can view a statue from all sides since it is hidden.
It is critical to use a decent quality mirror with a sturdy backing, as the backing on inferior mirrors may eventually peel off when exposed to the elements. Outdoor mirrors are available for purchase. Of course, all mirrors are susceptible to damage; but, if they are located in an obscure location, possibly partially sheltered from violent storms and weather extremes, and away from where children play ball sports, the possibility of breakage is greatly decreased.
For good reason, most professional garden designers believe water to be a crucial component of the garden. Water gives a new dimension to the landscape, offering movement, music, and a psychological and physical sense of cooling.
The water feature does not need to be complicated to make an impression. Simple water features, in general, operate well in tiny settings. Geometric designs are used in some of the most effective water features, such as circular or rectangular pools set in ground-level pavers, raised rectangular water channels, and spheres with bubbling water.
A water wall is difficult to top for a true sense of drama, with water pouring over the wall in a smooth sheet, catching and spilling over bowls or receptacles set in the wall, or erupting from wall jets. At night, underwater lights offer a fascinating new depth to the garden.
To make your garden appear larger, use your neighbor’s landscaping.
Little gardens do not always have to appear small; after all, large gardens are frequently made up of many small garden sections joined together. The goal is to make it appear as if your neighbor’s garden is merely a continuation of your own.
1) Take stock – examine the gardens that back onto your property. Examine their visible elements, such as walls, pergolas covered in climbers, huge trees, and so on.
2) Examine the barriers that separate your garden from the surrounding gardens, such as fences, buildings, and so on.
3) Consider utilising plants and trellis screens to conceal the features that separate your garden from your neighbours’.
4) Employ visual tactics to extend and connect the garden to the adjacent residences.
Plants can be used to screen the boundaries.
The goal is to make your garden appear larger than it is. Fences, walls, garden sheds, and other man-made obstacles in the way will swiftly dispel that idea. Plant shrubs and climbers to screen the boundaries and cover ugly characteristics while not bringing undue attention to the boundaries.
Plants placed in a straight line along the fence will merely call attention to the boundary, providing a sensation of enclosure. Plant shrubs of varied heights in small groupings in front of the fence instead, so you can gaze out onto greenery that blends with higher trees and shrubs behind the fence.
Let climbers such as Wisteria sinensis, Rosa filipes ‘Kiftskate,’ Bougainvillea sp., Clematis montana, and Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ to spread through trees and huge shrubs from one garden to the next.
Various Methods of ‘Enlarging’ the Boundary
- Paint the wall or fence a dull, subdued colour, such as dull green or grey.
- If your rear fence borders a park or farmland, take it down.
- Build a gate or an archway leading into your neighbor’s yard (providing of course that you are on good terms).
- To view outside of your garden, if at all possible, cut peepholes in the fence or surrounding vegetation (this may be easier if you are adjacent to a reserve).
- Removing branches from trees, shrubs, or climbers that originate in your neighbor’s garden is prohibited. By doing this, you will simply further highlight the boundary between you and your neighbours.
- Place seats and benches where you can look outside of your own yard.
Tricks that Landscape Designers Use
- To create the appearance that the garden extends through the wall, install a trompe l’oeil trellis screen framing an image or a mirror.
- To generate illusions elsewhere, use mirrors. For instance, you may create the illusion of a continuous stream if you immerse two mirrors at opposite end of a small pond that cuts through your landscape. A mirror inside an archway towards the garden’s conclusion, reflecting the foliage there, will give the impression that the garden extends past the fence.
- Employ murals to make a garden wall appear to have a gate or archway.
- A garden wall should be decorated with foliage that resembles the visible foliage at the end of your own garden or the garden of a neighbour who backs up to yours. The gardens will be connected as a result.
- Make a path that leads into the garden of the neighbour next door, but conceal the fact that it ends at a brick wall as you turn the corner.
- To make your garden blend in with your neighbours’, use plants that are similar to theirs.
- Encourage climbing plants to grow on your own house, your neighbours’ house, or many properties if you live in a terraced or semi-detached home.
- Build a pergola that crosses over into another garden.
Bringing the outside in
You can make a garden seem bigger by creating the illusion that something beyond the garden is within your property. Alternatively, you can make the garden seem as though it is inside the house.
How to Extend Your Garden
- Remove a house wall to make room for a large window.
- To maximise your ability to observe the garden from the house, cut back plants so that you can see out of the windows.
- Redesign the garden to generate vistas from the house by pruning, planting, etc.
- Place garden accents (such as a fountain, statue, trompe l’oeil, mirror, etc.) where they may be viewed more clearly or effectively from within the home.
- To increase the view of the outside, replace the curtains with frosted glass, then construct a fence there to protect your privacy.
- Imagine taking a shower or bath while having a direct view of the backyard. That can be a wonderful feeling—as long as neighbours can’t see in as readily as you can!
- Garden lighting should be added outside to make the garden beautiful at night.
- Plants with huge leaves should be placed in the centre, while those with little leaves should be in the background. This will provide the appearance of depth.
- Having light-colored foliage in the front and dark foliage in the background can help provide the impression of depth.
- Plant shrubs on your side to hide the fence and blend in with the vegetation in your neighbor’s garden so that it appears as though the neighbor’s trees are a part of your garden.
- With an arch, pergola, or trees, you can frame a lovely vista, like a distant mountain. This attracts attention away from the nearby garden.
Deciding How to Extend Your Garden
Think about the type of room and the type of view you get from that room:
- What kind of outside view do you like to have whether you’re eating, sleeping in bed, sitting at a desk, and so on?
- What is the relationship between the colour scheme of the room and the view from that room?
- How does the room’s design complement the view? (You don’t want to be sitting in a lavishly furnished room gazing out at an ultramodern, minimalist garden).
You need creativity, enthusiasm, perseverance, and a willingness to go above and beyond to excel in landscape design.
If you fit this description, we can assist you with starting.
In order to design a garden, you must first grasp the science and aesthetic process that underpins it, as well as the materials that are utilised to construct a landscape. Learning about everything from dirt and stone to wood and flora is necessary.
This programme could result in:
- Beginning your own landscaping business
- Working as a landscaper, or in a nursery or garden centre – many people in this sector are unable to identify plants.
- Work as a gardener – many gardeners have no formal education, and it shows!
- A hobby gardener turns a passion into a career.
- A significant step towards further education.