Distance Learning Centre Swaledale 4 Coaley Lane Newbottle Houghton le Spring Tyne & Wear DH4 4SQ United Kingdom 0845 129 7238
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The Garden Design – Level 3 Course is a positive step in taking control of how you can plan and create your garden. It could also be the first step towards a successful garden design business.

The horticulture home study courses are designed in easy to follow units, with set exercises along the way to ensure you understand the areas covered.

Students will have access to a personal course tutor by email and mail. The course tutor is a highly experienced Botanist and Designer and tutors in Garden Design, Horticulture and Plant Physiology at several UK Colleges and also holds a degree in Botany (Bsc hons). The Garden Design course also has 3 tutor marked assignments, which will be marked and commented on by your personal course tutor.

View samples of previous students work:

On successful completion of this course, students will receive an accredited Level 3 Certificate of Achievement.

Garden designers need to be trained in the principles of design and in horticulture and have an excellent knowledge and experience of using plants.

Garden Designer Courses & Horticulture CoursesOur distance learning Garden Design course will teach you about the Design Layout, considering elements such as paths, walls, landscape features, water features, sitting areas and decking.

The home study courses also cover information about the plants themselves, with consideration given to their horticultural requirements, their season-to-season appearance, lifespan, size, the speed of growth, and combinations with other plants.

Click here to view a small sample of the course materials

The Garden Design Course Includes the Following 14 Units:

Unit One – Garden Design And You. The following topics are covered:

  • Introduction to design
  • History and development
  • How gardens started
  • The beginnings
  • The garden today
  • Designers
  • Types of garden designers today
  • Where to find information
  • Factors to consider
  • The gardens around you
  • And Unit 1 Summary

Unit Two – What Good Design Achieves. The following topics are covered:

  • Designers, what they do and why they are needed?
  • The design process
  • The owner’s requirements;
  • What the designer does
  • The benefits of using a garden designer
  • Providing guidance
  • Types of client
  •  You as the designer
  • Taking instructions
  • Drawing skills and Unit 2 Summary

Unit Three – Starting to Design. The following topics are covered:

  • Getting started – Equipment & Dress
  • Design by computer (CAD)
  • Impressions of the garden
  • The initial visit
  • The client check-list
  • The design recipe
  • Site assessment
  • Surveying and measuring
  • Slopes
  • The rough sketch
  • The FLP (Functional Layout Plan)
  • Triangulation and chain surveys
  • Drawing to scale
  • Labelling, heights, number charts and keys
  • The design principals of Direction, Rhythm and Harmony, and what they mean; and Unit 3 Summary

Unit Four – The Importance of Soils & Sites. The following topics are covered:

  • Soil and horticultural potential
  • Soil and sites
  • Climate (oceanic, etc)
  • Temperature
  • Light, shade and shelter
  • Rainfall and humidity
  • Soil types and pH
  • Topography
  • The soil environment and horizons
  • Profile pits
  • Improving the soil with manures, fertilisers, line and mulches;
  • Cultivation and drainage;
  • Soil life – good and bad and Unit 4 Summary

Unit Five – Starting Real Design Work. The following topics are covered:

  • Getting down to design
  • Arranging plants; practicalities
  • function and form
  • Right plant, right place
  • Height, borders and beds
  • Information sources
  • Plants for problem positions
  • Plants for alkaline and acid soils
  • Shade, Sunny, Dry
  • Plants for particular uses (focal points, climbers, ground cover)
  • Designing for shapes and sizes (formal, informal); Linking shapes
  • Playing with ideas and concepts
  • Problem sites
  • Downward slope
  • Upward slope
  • Long and narrow
  • Short and square; L-shaped
  • Corner and Unit 5 Summary

Unit Six – Planning. The following topics are covered:

  • Planning for themes & ideas, styles and how to enhance
  • Plants for colour and height
  • The colour wheel
  • Getting the planting mix right
  • Colour patch bedding
  • Foliage
  • Features needing thought
  • Fruit growing in small areas
  • Containers, tubs and patios
  • Plants to define areas and give direction
  • Rockeries and alpines
  • Hedges and Unit 6 Summary

Unit Seven – Designing for Interest. The following topics are covered:

  • The garden in winter
  • Attracting wildlife
  • Managing wildlife
  • Herbs and weeds
  • Other services
  • Lighting
  • Furniture and Unit 7 Summary

Unit Eight – Water in the Garden. The following topics are covered:

  • Introduction and uses
  • Siting a pond
  • Materials, depths and size
  • Considerations
  • Equipment
  • Safety and filters
  • Planting the pond
  • Planning for timing and colour
  • Maintenance
  • Lighting and lighting design for water
  • Water features
  • Construction diagrams and Unit 8 Summary

Unit Nine – Children & Pets. The following topics are covered:

  • Children and play areas
  • Children’s gardens
  • Equipment and toys
  • Plants, poisonous plants and other potential threats
  • Safety – water and children
  • Pets in the garden
  • Clients’ dogs; Dogs
  • Cats and Unit 9 Summary

Unit Ten – Gardening for Users with Disabilities, the Elderly and Garden Safety. The following topics are covered:

  • Access, paths and safety, features other issues
  • Watering
  • Tools
  • Visually and sensory impaired sensory gardens
  • Conclusion
  • Safety check-list and Unit 10 Summary

Unit Eleven – Upkeep & Maintenance. The following topics are covered:

  • Introduction and assessing maintenance
  • Builders, diggers and landscapers
  • Plants
  • Ponds
  • Structures
  • Lawns
  • Beds
  • Schedules of work
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Cost issues
  • Practicalities
  • Plant schedules and Unit 11 Summary

Unit Twelve – Structures in the Garden. The following topics are covered:

  • Walls, fences and trellis
  • Timber
  • Iron
  • Wire
  • Paths and patios
  •  Greenhouses, sheds and stores
  • Other structures
  • Summerhouses
  • Furniture and Unit 12 Summary

Unit Thirteen – Marketing Your Garden Design Business. The following topics are covered:

  • Where are the clients
  • How to reach clients, Word of mouth, Advertising
  • Portfolio and plant files
  • Shows and fairs
  • Visiting potential clients
  • Clarifying your service
  • Charging
  • Keeping records
  • Tax and accounts
  • Help and VAT and Insurance
  • Unit 13 Summary and Final Course Project (Full Design)

Unit Fourteen – Tricks of the Trade

  • An additional unit crammed with useful hints and tips for garden designers.

To find out more about Garden Design Course visit course provider website.


Course Provider Distance Learning Centre
Course Fee £275.00
Course Delivery Paper Based Materials
Course Duration 120 Hours (Self Study)
Website Link Training Providers Website
Phone Number 0845 129 7238
Country United Kingdom
State/Province England
distance: 551 Miles
Address Distance Learning Centre Swaledale 4 Coaley Lane Newbottle Houghton le Spring Tyne & Wear DH4 4SQ United Kingdom
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