The Professional Garden Design Diploma
from Garden Design School

The Garden Design School Diploma is the inspiring and intensive course offered by Garden Design School. Students who take this course excel through mutual commitment to challenging goals, and through the depth of practical experience of the tutors. The vast majority of students who want to practice professionally go on to do so successfully, becoming inspired, confident garden designers, owning or working in profitable, professional landscape and garden design companies.

Accessible Garden Design Course Structure

The Garden Design Diploma is a part time intensive garden design course, comprising one academic year over a 36 week period (44 attendance days in total). 

Independent study and projects are also an essential element of this garden design course and you should expect to dedicate an additional 24-30 hours per week to your studies outside the set classroom times.

Our class numbers are kept intentionally small, allowing us to optimise one-to-one teaching and feedback. Working in this close knit, face-to-face environment also encourages mutual respect and support between students. We have a maximum of 12 places.

Expert Tuition

Students at Garden Design School benefit from considerable direct access to the principal tutors’ time and expertise.
Our tutors are not just excellent communicators and motivating mentors, but also highly experienced and respected in all areas of garden design.

Students are inspired through engaging lectures and frequent, direct contact with the School’s principal lecturer
Robin Templar Williams, as well as by a network of leading industry-recognised guest lecturers, each experts in their field

Hard Landscaping designs

Garden Design Course Content

This industry recognised garden design Diploma provides structured and up-to-date content, specifically developed to equip students for a successful career in garden design. It is divided into four major strands, as follows;

Design Principles

Principles of spatial design - understanding, controlling and manipulating 3 dimensional space. Learning to apply these principles and building blocks are key to the full realisation of successful gardens and landscapes.

Graphics and Drawing

Drawing and drafting skills; printing processes; application of colour and rendering; freehand sketching; plan and design proposal presentation; fast drawing techniques.

Additional and optional CAD tuition, using Vectorworks and Sketchup, on a one to one basis, either during or subsequent to the course: this is only available to our students and graduates. The cost is additional at £575 per day (from beginners level to advanced).

Landscape Design

Practical surveying with levels; site analysis; elevations and sections; hard landscape materials; detailing hard landscape; construction methods and techniques; setting out; water in the garden; lighting, irrigation and drainage.

Planting Design

Basic botany; soil science; classification and identification; planting design; horticultural requirements; establishment; site specific planting; planting plans and schedules.

Professional Practice

Running the office; documentation and systems; health and safety; CDM 2015; planning implications; client/designer relationships; contractor/designer relationships; specifications and contract management; project costing; getting started as a freelance designer; advertising and promotion.


Hard Landscape designs

Inspiring, Hands-on and Practical Project Work

Four major projects are undertaken by students during this garden design course plus additional studio based design projects.

The projects build in complexity to the final project where students will produce full design with student’s drawings and detailed documentation.

In addition, 2 portfolios are produced by each student and compiled throughout the year, one devoted to hard landscaping the other to soft landscaping developing the student's knowledge of both subjects.

Regular Assessment and Feedback

Students are assessed at regular intervals but examinations are not part of our Diploma course. All assignments are of a
practical nature and closely resemble the types of projects a professional garden designer might encounter. Because the
course is vocational not academic, you will not be asked to write essays.

Students at the Garden Design School receive timely, relevant feedback before moving forward to the next stage.
Garden Design School tutors give face-to-face, one-to-one feedback to each and every student on each of their four
major projects and studio design sessions.

Term Structure 2018/2019

School days and studio sessions for Garden Design School’s Diploma courses are held on Thursdays at the Bristol Botanic Garden.

The course is divided into three academic terms of 10-12 week duration. School days (the time you attend lectures/studio sessions) take place between 9.30am and 4.30pm. There is a 45 minute break at lunchtime, and two shorter (15 minute) breaks during the morning and afternoon. The dates of our 2018-19 term times are included in the frequently asked questions document that you can download here.

Further Information

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers, which you can download here.
If you would prefer to talk directly with a member of the team, please do get in touch with the office by phoning;
+44 (0) 1380 728788 or emailing

Landscape designing