Diploma in Garden Design

The English Gardening School
In London

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Important information

Typology Course
Location London
Duration 1 Year
  • Course
  • London
  • Duration:
    1 Year

As our core course, our reputation for training garden designers is internationally respected. In this diverse profession, we provide a structured comprehensive training covering all aspects - from surveying and drawing up plans through to visuals, specifications, costing and job management. We aim not only to launch students on a career in garden design, but also to exploit their other relevant talents.

Where and when
Starts Location
On request
66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS, London, England
See map
Starts On request
66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS, London, England
See map

What you'll learn on the course

Garden Design

Teachers and trainers (5)

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson

Caroline Holmes
Caroline Holmes

Greg Leeson
Greg Leeson

Julie Toll
Julie Toll

Laura de Beden
Laura de Beden

Course programme


The course takes place over three ten-week terms, each with a half-term of one week, commencing in September. All students attend lectures on Mondays from 10.30am until 3.15pm, and are divided into two groups for studio on either Tuesday or Wednesday, which allows time for one-to-one guidance and review of project work. Progressive lectures provide technical knowledge and a vocabulary of plants; hard landscaping and plant portfolios provide reference material for future use. Work is marked by continuous and individual performance is monitored regularly. Our high reputation for graphics and presentation leads to confident professional drawing skills. Diplomas are only awarded to those who achieve the required pass mark in all exercises and projects including the plant and hardworks portfolios.
Project Work

Several projects of increasing complexity are undertaken, each involving a real garden with individual client problems and restrictions. Students are guided through the design process from initial client briefing and survey, to garden layout and planting plans, details, sections and visuals. Several short design projects for awkward sites are also included. All main projects are assessed. Additional projects must also be submitted to a high standard. All projects form part of a portfolio showing a wide range of garden sizes and styles, plus varying presentation techniques. Portfolios may be shown to future clients as a means of securing work.
Hard landscaping portfolio

This is an ongoing and comparative study of the different inert elements, such as terraces, steps and walls. Critical documentation of materials, their dimensions and how to use them provides an invaluable reference for future use.
Plant portfolio

This compilation of plant groupings for specific situations increases the understanding of plants, where and how they thrive, and how to group them for memorable effect. A learning curve which gives a deep insight into planting design.
Plants and How to Use Them

An important element of the course, students are taught an understanding of plants, appropriate site selection, combining foliage for form and texture, colour theory and using the colour wheel, and how and when to order from trade and retail nurseries.
Business Management

Lectures on how to obtain work, specification, costing, business management, and how to work with contractors help prepare students for individual careers.
The Syllabus
Autumn Term

* Graphics – axonometric drawing, colouring and rendering, reprographics, title blocks and sheet layout
* Design theory
* Surveying – measuring and drawing up, site analysis and appraisal
* Plants – nomenclature and identification
* Trees and arboriculture
* Choosing and using plants for structure and form
* Hard landscaping – an introduction
* Practice management, billing and the client/designer relationship

Project Work

· Designing a town garden

· Planting plans and elevations
Spring Term

· Hard landscaping – paved surfaces, steps and ramps

· Ground shaping and levelling

· Roof gardens and timber construction

· Water features – natural and manmade

· Irrigation and drainage

· Garden lighting

· Business management – writing specifications

· Garden history from 15th – 18th century

· Plants – climbers, roses, herbaceous perennials, ferns, grasses, annuals and half hardies, seasonal colour

· Graphics – perspective and visuals, sample and mood boards
Project Work

· Suburban garden using water

· Communal space area

· Personality or themed garden
Summer Term

· Hard landscaping – theory to practice and 3D visualization

· Garden history from 19th – 21st century

· Plants – annuals and half hardies, wild flowers

· Business management – running your own design business, public relations and self promotion

· Visits to specialist and trade nurseries and private gardens
Project Work

· Country garden

· Additional design projects such as knots and parterres, rose or roof gardens, planting for special situations, hard landscaping project.
Graduation and prize giving

Applying for a Course:

Applicants will be invited to a group information session at the School with the Vice Principal, Simon Pyle, who explains each course in detail. During this hour, students are shown the lecture rooms, may see a class in progress and possibly meet other students. Upon acceptance as a student, a deposit is required, full payment being due at least two months before the course begins. Graduation with presentation of diplomas is held at the end of each academic year.

On payment of the balance of fees, students will be sent a timetable, reading list, guidance on how to prepare for the course and a list of necessary equipment.

Our long experience in teaching ensures value for money. Except at the sole discretion of the Principal, fees cannot be refunded nor are places transferable from year to year or to another subject.

Additional information

Payment options:

For cheques and transfers from banks other than British clearing banks, or if you wish to pay other than in £ sterling, please add £12 to the total cost of the course (after VAT) to cover clearance charges.

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