Garden design courses
Looking for a garden design course? Here's a selection of the UK's leading garden design schools and details of the training they offer.
If you're considering a change in career, want to upskill in an existing horticulture job, or simply want to transform your own garden, a garden design course could be for you.
To find the right garden design course, decide what you want to get out of it. Do you want to study full or part time, remotely at home, or in a classroom? And what is your budget – garden design courses can cost anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousand.
How to become a garden designer
Here is our advice on choosing a garden design course, plus a list of current garden design courses.
Advice on choosing a garden design course
- A good course should cover all aspects of garden design, including creating presentation plans, documents and drawings and all aspects of construction and planting design.
- Find out if the course gives advice on all aspects of running a garden design business, from presenting ideas to clients, budgeting, marketing, legal issues, insurance and accounting.
- Consider costs – further or higher education colleges are often much cheaper than private garden design schools, and online courses are cheaper than in-person ones.
- Bear in mind that the homework on a garden design course can be substantial and you may need to set aside a large chunk of time every week, with regular hand-in or presentation deadlines to meet.
- Check the course accreditation – some are accredited by colleges, and some have been awarded Educator Status by the Society of Garden Designers.
- Find out how many projects need to be completed on the course - the more varied the better.
- Find out how much time with and feedback from a tutor each student is likely to get – this is key to making progress. Also check the class sizes.
- CAD (Computer Aided Design) such as AutoCAD or SketchUp is not always offered but essential for any garden designer – so check whether this is offered.
- Check whether the course tutors are practising designers, and whether the college has links with the industry. Are work placements offered?
- Find out what graduates of the course have gone on to do afterwards – have they got jobs in garden design practices, or set up their own businesses?
- Go to short courses or lectures run by the colleges you are interested in studying at – it's a good way to meet the tutors and see the facilities.
- Visit end-of-year shows to see the standard of work produced on the courses. It will give you an idea of what to aspire to and an opportunity to talk to students who have completed the course.
- Look out for show gardens and exhibits designed by students – this will give you an idea of the style and approach encouraged by the course.
The best garden design courses
Garden design colleges
Beth Chatto Gardens
The garden offers a popular 30-week Design Your Own Garden course, led by garden designer and plantswoman Lucy Redman. The course incorporates visiting fellow students' gardens to carry out group garden consultations, and building on these visits back in the classroom to draw up a layout and create a planting plan for your own garden.
British Academy of Garden Design
Offers courses in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Offers remote and in-person learning. All tutors are practising garden designers.
Garden design courses offered: Certificate in Garden Design, Diploma in Garden Design, Postgraduate Diploma in Garden Design
020 3389 5711
Capel Manor College
Middlesex EN1 4RQ
0303 003 1234
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. The college has various campuses in the London area, including north London, west London and Regent's Park. Designer Arit Anderson studied at Capel Manor.
Garden design courses offered: Introduction to Garden Design (Level 1), Garden Design Certificate (Level 2), Certificate in the Principles & Practice in Garden Design (Level 3), Certificate in Plants & Planting for Garden Design (Level 3) – all part time and in person.
Cotswold Gardening School
The Cotswold Gardening School has been training garden designers for over ten years. In-class tuition takes place in a dedicated schoolroom set in the grounds of historic Gossington Hall.
Garden design courses offered: One Year Professional Garden Design (in person), plus a range of short in-person and online leisure courses
Eden Project / Duchy College
Study for your degree in the unique setting of the world-renowned Eden Project, via Duchy College.
Garden design course offered: BSc (Hons) Horticulture (Garden & Landscape Design) – full and part time
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 Gardening School offers a range of short courses, part-time diplomas and distance learning courses. Alumni include Jo Thompson, Manoj Malde, Ruth Willmott and Pollyanna Wilkinson.
Garden design courses offered: The Essential Garden Design Diploma (in person), Garden Design (remote)
Garden Design School
University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Stoke Park Road
01380 728 788
Based at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden. The founder and tutor is garden designer Robin Templar Williams.
Garden design course offered: Diploma in Garden Design
Offers courses, workshops and webinars aimed at garden designers, landscape architects, horticulture professionals and keen home gardeners, featuring key players in garden design and planting. Curated by garden designer Annie Guilfoyle and garden writer Noel Kingsbury.
Inchbald College of Garden Design
32 Eccleston Square
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. It offers a range of full and part time and online courses. A course is also offered at Wrexham Glyndŵr University in Wales. Alumni include Luciano Giubbilei and Marcus Barnett.
Garden design courses offered: Certificate in Garden Design, Design Your Own Garden, Diploma in Garden Design, BA (Hons) Garden Design, MA Garden Design
KLC School of Design
Unit 503 The Chambers
020 7376 3377
KLC is renowned for the quality of its training in garden design. Classes, which are held at Hampton Court Palace, use practising professionals for all aspects of tuition. KLC claims to offer the only course that follows the gardening year, from January to December. The course is curated and run by garden designer Humaira Ikram. Alumni from this course have gone on to exhibit and win medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, including Matthew Childs.
Garden design courses offered: Diploma in Garden Design, Online Certificate in Residential Garden Design
Learning with Experts
Browse the options for learning online with web-based Learning with Experts. The Garden Design Diploma is a collection of garden design courses which will teach you a complete range of garden design skills taught by some of the biggest names in gardening and horticulture. Tutors include Chris Beardshaw, Piet Oudolf, Dr Noel Kingsbury, Tom Stuart-Smith, Annie Guilfoyle and Andy McIndoe. There are also shorter courses, including Planting the Piet Oudolf Way, Design for Small Gardens and many more, suitable for both beginners and design professionals.
Garden design courses offered: Garden Design Diploma, plus shorter courses
The London College of Garden Design
74 Sydney Road
London SW20 8EF
LCGD aims to provide world-class, inspirational training in garden design, led by garden designer Andrew Wilson. From 2020 an online option offers remote students the opportunity to take part in exactly the same classes and studio sessions as classroom-based students. Based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the college offers a range of courses and useful 'Info Bursts', some of which are held at other sites around London. Alumni include Martha Krempel, Colm Joseph, Sheila Jack and Butter Wakefield.
Garden design courses offered: Garden Design Diploma, Planting Design Diploma, Construction Design Certificate, Sustainable Design Certificate, plus short courses
Norfolk School of Gardening
Offers a range of short gardening courses, including a ten-week Certificate in Practical Horticulture and an eight-week Introduction to Garden Design and a two-day Border Design course, and a new 30-week Diploma in Garden Design.
Garden design courses offered: Diploma in Garden Design, Introduction to Garden Design
Oxford College of Garden Design
Oxford Science Park
John Eccles House
Robert Robinson Avenue
Oxon OX4 4GP
Established in 1992, the Oxford College of Garden Design offers a module-based diploma garden design course over one to three years. The course is conducted online, featuring pre-recorded videos. After graduation, 12 months of business mentoring is available to help your career take off. Alumni include Charlotte Rowe.
More like this
Garden design course offered: Garden Design Course (online)
Offers two garden design courses, plus a short day course.
Courses offered: Level 2 Certificate in Garden Design; a one-year Level 3 Diploma in Garden Design.
Cheshire CW5 6DF
A vocational college with excellent reputation for land-based courses.
Garden design course offered: Certificate in Plants & Planting Design
Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Edinburgh EH3 5LR
0131 248 2937
RGBE offers a range of horticultural degrees and diplomas.
Garden design course offered: RGBE Diploma in Garden Design (unconfirmed for 2022/23)
Yorkshire School of Garden Design
YSGD Founder and Principal Tutor Alistair Baldwin has assembled a team of top lecturers, studio tutors and guest speakers, including Ula Maria and Matt Keightley and Pollyanna Wilkinson. He believes that students should learn from those who practise what they preach, giving them a genuinely relevant and current learning experience. The flagship Diploma in Garden Design is a one-year part-time course with two days-a-week of contact with tutors. Short courses are also offered, aimed at those looking to dip their toe into the world of plants and garden-making. They also include SketchUp courses for designers.
Garden design course offered: Diploma in Garden Design, short courses
Find out more
For more advice on gardening careers see Grow Careers and the Society of Garden Designers.
Information correct at time of publishing.
Don't miss our guide on how to become a garden designer
Veronica Peerless is a trained horticulturalist and garden designer.
13 issues for £30 when you subscribe
Subscribe to Gardens Illustrated magazine and receive your first 13 issues for £30!
Transform your Garden- Special Edition
Transform Your Garden
This special edition features advice on designing your garden from the world’s top garden designers, including top tips for redesigning your plot or creating a new garden from scratch.
Discover eight inspirational gardens in town and country, and beautiful planting ideas for year-round colour. Learn how to make the most of a small space, how to cope with a slope, and the ten most common mistakes people make, according to professional garden designers, and how to avoid them.
Enjoy insights on everything from paths and parking spaces to wildflowers and water features, so that you can be confident in starting to create the garden of your dreams.
Just £9.99 inc UK p&p
Gardens of the Globe
From botanical wonders in Australia to tranquil havens closer to home in Ireland, let this guide help you to discover some of the most glorious gardens around the world