Michael King

Gardening with Grasses

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

Join grass and garden design expert Michael King as he teaches you how to use ornamental grasses in your garden designs in his online Gardening with Grasses course.

Michael has written books jointly with Piet Oudolf (famous garden designer and plantsman), which looked at using ornamental grasses and other perennials in the new naturalistic garden style.

Ornamental grasses are a core component of a garden designer’s planting palette and work well when planted with other plants. Grass planting can have a huge impact on a garden and this course teaches you how to control and use their bold presence in planting designs.

Grasses can be highly effective as powerful design features, but they can also be disruptive and overpowering if not handled with care.

On this course Michael focuses on the best grasses for a wide range of different growing conditions and situations (including grasses for shade and creating shade) and covers the advantages of unique qualities of this large and diverse group of plants, with examples of specific grasses and inspiring ornamental grass designs.

You'll learn:

  • how to use ornamental grasses in your garden designs confidently
  • including contrast and focus to your garden designs
  • the best grasses to use depending on your location and garden conditions
  • controlling grasses

The course includes:

  • 4 on-demand video lessons - presented by Michael King
  • lifetime access to the videos, notes and interactive class
  • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
  • downloadable lesson notes
  • practical gardening with grasses projects (with tutor feedback available)
  • access on your mobile, PC, Mac or laptop
  • small interactive online classroom - chat online to students from around the world and share your creative ideas

Time to complete the planting design course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 13 hours 50 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 1 hour 50 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Your planting design projects: at least 2 hours per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • Tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson

You'll need:

You'll need a sketchbook to make your garden designs and planting sketches for each assignment. This courses is suitable for all levels of gardener - from beginners to experts looking to specialise in the use of grasses in the garden.

Ready to get started?

Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Michael on your grass assignments.

If you know someone who'd love this course then give it as a gift - just tick "This is a gift" at the checkout.

Any questions? Contact us by clicking on the orange speech symbol - we'd love to hear from you.

CPD Accreditation

Course activity has been accredited by the CPD Standards Office (CPDSO). The course equates to 13 hours, 50 minutes of CPD learning.
The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

Course outline

  • Reasons for Using Grasses; Their Qualities and The Possibilities

    In this lesson Michael will introduce you to the world of ornamental grasses. We will look at their unique characteristics and why you might choose specific species within planting designs. You will learn how they can create associations with the natural countryside or bring new elements to a design by creating focal points, a new leaf pattern and form or to build the three dimensional structure of a garden design.

  • Choosing The Best Grasses for Your Site and Design Objectives

    Carefully chosen, ornamental grasses can add many different unique qualities to the garden spaces they occupy. In this lesson you will start to look at specific groups of grasses, identifying the very best ones for different situations and settings.

  • Growing Grasses

    Grasses are tough and reliable and if done correctly their maintenance can be fairly simple. In this lesson we will cover how and when to plant grasses with detail examples of a number of different species. You will learn about how to create harmonies and contrasts when combining with other plants to allow the grasses to fully express themselves. However, we are dealing with a large and varied group of plants and need to be aware of not only their good points, but also some of the negative aspects they can display. Knowing what can go wrong will enable you to use grasses more effectively.

  • Designing with Grasses

    In the final lesson of the course we will look at how grasses both singly, in uniform masses and as components of mixed perennial planting schemes can be used when designing garden landscapes. Form, texture and colour are the basis of these comparisons and ornamental grasses are potent in all of these respects. Above all else, form and texture is what sets grasses apart from the other plants in our gardens and when we add to these, the associations that they trigger with various natural landscapes we can start to develop strategies for including them in our planting schemes. In this lesson Michael will look at their use in flower borders, as ground cover, in naturalistic borders and new style perennial meadows.

Back in school with pleasure! I definitely would have no chance studying with experts like this if it wasn't for Learning with Experts.


Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Michael King

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Michael King
    • Certificate of completion and CPD hours
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
  • The Peer option

    Discover the benefits of group learning in an online interactive classroom of no more than 20 people. Get the most from shared knowledge and community study

    • Start course whenever you like
    • Practise what you learn with your peers
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 4 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 4 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

Buy this course for a business or group

You can now buy this course through your business or organisation for individuals and groups up to 20

Gardening classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Michael King

Michael King - Gardening
Michael King is a Senior at Kew Gardens botanist, designer and author. For the past twenty years Michael has lived in the Netherlands where he, writes, designs and gardens.
Flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and tulips are now Michael’s specialities having written many books on these subjects as well as numerous gardening articles on subjects as diverse as annual flowers, garden design and the life and work of other professional garden designers for many international garden magazines. His first two books, written jointly with Piet Oudolf, revealed how to use ornamental grasses and other perennials in naturalistic gardens, a popular trend in Continental Europe.
For more information about Michael see his web blog at www.perennialmeadows.com

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Awards & Accreditations

  • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year