Garden masterclasses

Courses for garden designers

If you're looking for courses in garden design, here's a selection of the UK's leading garden design schools and the training they offer.

Perhaps you’re considering a change in career, or simply want to top up on your garden design knowledge and understanding to transform your own garden. Take a look at this selection of the UK’s leading garden design schools offering a range of courses.


Cannington Centre

Rodway Hill
Somerset TA6 4PZ
01278 455464

Cannington College is one of the largest centres for agricultural and horticultural studies in Somerset. It offers a range of full and part time courses and subject areas include: Arboriculture, Garden & Landscape Design and Horticulture. Levels range from entry level through to postgraduate programmes, with many delivered as short courses on demand.


Capel Manor College

Bullsmoor Lane
Middlesex EN1 4RQ
08456 122122

Capel Manor College was established as a centre for horticultural studies in 1968. Over the years the college has built a strong tradition of quality provision. Alongside full-time courses for school leavers and mature entrants, the college runs a programme of part-time day, evening and short classes. Subjects include Horticulture, Floristry, Garden Design, RHS Certificates and Planting Design. One of the most popular is the level 3 diploma in Garden design, which can be taken over 2 years, 1 day per week.


The English Gardening School

66 Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HS
020 7352 4347

Located within the grounds of the Chelsea Physic garden, close to Sloane Square, The English Garden School offers a wide range of subjects from Growing Vegetables, First Steps in Botanical Painting and Designing Urban and Rooftop Gardens. Lecturers include leading garden designers, horticulturists, plantsmen and botanical painters. The College offers a range of Short Courses, Part-time Diplomas and Distance Learning Courses.


Garden Design Academy

45 rue de Varennes
36210 Chabris
0033 254 40 15 42

Specialist tutors offering distance learning courses in Garden Design, Landscaping, Gardening and Horticulture. They have over 60 courses suitable for all levels of student, from the amateur gardener to degree level professionals.


Garden Design School

32 Ferguson Road
Wiltshire SN10 3UA
01380 728 788

Based in Wiltshire, with training centres in Surrey and the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, the Garden Design School is run by garden design experts Moira Farnham and Robin Templar Williams who founded the college and have taught at horticultural and landscape/garden design colleges throughout the UK and abroad.


Greenwich University

Old Royal Naval College
Park Row
London SE10 9LS
020 8331 8145

Greenwich University’s Landscape and Gardens programmes offers a range of courses (HND, undergraduate and post-graduate degrees) in subjects such as: European and Landscape Architecture, Garden Design, Garden History, Landscape Architecture and Landscape Management and Landscape Planning and Assessment.


Hadlow College

Hadlow, Tonbridge
Kent TN11 0AL
0500 551 434

Hadlow is one of the leading land-based colleges in the United Kingdom and has three campuses across Kent. With courses in Floristry, Horticulture, Landscape & Design as well Agriculture and Sustainability, the emphasis is on training for a successful career. Courses range from RHS Master of Horticulture, Garden Management, a to degrees in Medicinal Horticulture and Garden Design.


Inchbald College of Garden Design

32 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1PB
020 7630 9011

Inchbald is an independent school, with a reputation for high quality and thorough teaching. It offers a range of garden-related courses including: Garden Design Drawing, Advanced Garden Design and the comprehensive one-year Diploma in Garden Design which prepares students to enter garden design at a professional level. On successful completion of the Diploma course, students make opt for a further year of study for the MA Degree in Garden Design.
Inchbald has just announced a new online degree course in Garden Design. The Online Postgraduate Diploma in Garden Design, validated by the University of Wales, leads to a Master’s qualification. Aimed at professionals, the course is part time over three years and covers the role of a garden designer, design implementation, plant knowledge and planting design, plus design philosophy and theory.


KLC School of Design

Unit 503 The Chambers
Chelsea Harbour
London SW10 0XF
020 7376 3377

KLC is renowned for the quality of its training in garden design. Classes, which are held at Hampton Court Palace, are delivered in a professional, friendly and stimulating environment. Their policy is to use only practising professionals for all aspects of tuition. KLC offers a range of part-time, short courses and open learning in garden design.


Learning with Experts

Browse the options for learning online with web-based Learning with Experts. The choice of gardening courses includes Planting the Piet Oudolf Way, a four-week course that gives students a rare personal insight into Oudolf’s approach to planting. Suitable for both beginners and design professionals, the course includes a video tour of Oudolf’s own garden and studio, advice on plant combinations and structure, and expert feedback on assignments from planting expert Noel Kingsbury.

Run in association with Gardens Illustrated, readers who sign up for the course can enjoy a 20 per cent discount on the normal cost by using the code ILLUSTRATED on paying.


The London College of Garden Design

74 Sydney Road
London SW20 8EF
01483 762955

LCGD aims to provide world-class, inspirational training in garden design. The garden design courses and Garden Design Diploma have been created to enable students to learn from the very best in the profession. Based at Regent’s Park College in the heart of London, the college offers a flexible programme of full time and short courses to support students in their chosen career.


Merrist Wood

Guildford College
Merrist Wood Campus
Surrey GU3 3PE
01483 88 40 40

Merrist Wood’s Landscape Management Department offers over 200 courses, from 1-day workshops to 3-year degrees. Subject areas offered include: Arboriculture, Floristry, Garden Design, Horticulture and Landscaping.


Oxford College of Garden Design

Cotuit Hall
Pullens Lane
Oxford OX3 0DA
01491 628950

Established in 1992, Oxford College of Garden Design offers courses ranging from short courses in garden photography and CAD to a 1-year fast-track Garden Design Course. Online courses are also available. Unlike other schools, OCGD students are hand picked, via interview and if necessary a 4 day taster class.


Reaseheath College

Reaseheath College,
Cheshire CW5 6DF
01270 625131

Vocational college with excellent reputation for land-based courses. At degree level, courses in garden design include a BSc in Landscape Design and Management, foundation degree in Garden and Landscape Design and University College diploma in Garden design. There are also courses in historic garden restoration, practical landscape design technology and a range of CAD options.


Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Education Department
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Edinburgh EH3 5LR
0131 248 2937

A part time diploma course run in conjunction with Diane Pyper. Taught by practising designers and RBGE’s horticulture staff. Helpfully taught on Saturdays over three terms at the Botanic Gardens, incorporating lectures and studio work, plus horticultural sessions. No formal qualifications or prior experience required.


Sheffield University

Department of Landscape
Crookesmoor Building
University of Sheffield
Conduit Road
Sheffield S10 1FL
0114 2220600

Sheffield University’s Department of Landscape is the only landscape school in England with independent departmental status. It offers research and taught courses across the breadth of Landscape Architecture, including design, planning and management. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise the Department confirmed its status as the country’s premier centre for landscape architecture research. All the Department’s work has been graded ‘international’ in its standard, with three-quarters being rated internationally excellent or outstanding.


University College, Falmouth

University College Falmouth
Cornwall TR11 4RH
01326 211077

The BA Hons degree in Garden Design is currently on hold, despite having produced some very successful graduates and built up a strong reputation in a short time. New courses on offer will be module-based, designed to suit continuing study and those interested in garden design at a personal and professional level. Check the college website for latest information about course for the next 2011/2012 academic year.



Writtle College
Essex CM1 3RR

01245 424200

Located in Chelmsford and partnered with the University of Essex, Writtle School of Design offers a one-year part time diploma in Garden Design, foundation degree in Garden Design, full time BSc Landscape and Garden Design over 3 years and an MA Garden Design over 1 or 2 years.

For more advice on gardening careers see

Click here for a list of recommended horticultural courses if you are interested in becoming a gardener.


Information correct at time of publishing.