Learning with experts

Professional Planting DesignTaught by Hilary Thomas

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It's all too easy to have a garden full of wonderful plants that feels more like a restless collection than a well thought out design

  • Course suitable for all abilities

  • Design principles

  • What plants to choose

  • You'll come away with a finished planting plan


Suitable for all abilities, whether amateur or professional

It's all too easy to have a garden full of wonderful plants that feels more like a restless collection than a well thought out design. Discover how to create a garden with a sense of year-round unity and well-being. Learn to select plants for their visual, aesthetic and structural properties, how to assess your site conditions, and the process of creating a planting plan on paper. Explore different styles of garden such as naturalist, minimalist and cottage garden, and get tips on things to consider if you’re setting up in business

Learning outcome: Having completed the course you will understand the theory behind selecting and using plants for their visual qualities so that you can create planting schemes that have lasting structure, and offer both unity and contrast of form, texture and colour.  You will understand the importance of selecting the right plants for the right place and how to create an effective planting plan that communicates your planting ideas effectively.

Remember, if you're a self-employed professional you can set these courses off against tax as 'Continued Professional Development'.

The Curriculum

  • 1. Form, Texture & Habit

    Learn how the size, shape and surface of leaves influences our perception of plants.

  • 2. Colour and Design Principles

    Understand how colours influence the mood of a garden and how we perceive the dimensions of a space.

  • 3. The Role of Plants in The Planting Scheme

    Explore the role of structural planting and focal point plants in a planting scheme.

  • 4. Seasonal Colour & Excitement

    Consider the different techniques for utilising seasonal colour and excitement, from seasonal bedding plants to the more naturalist meadow style.

  • 5. Considering Plant Selection

    Explore all the factors that will determine the success of your planting scheme, and how to garden ecologically.

  • 6. Drawing Up the Planting Plan

    Learn how to create a three-dimensional planting plan.

  • 7. Planting Styles

    Assess the different ways that plants can be used to create a particular style or theme, such as cottage garden, modern or Mediterranean style planting.

  • 8. Plant Schedule

    Understand how to prepare a plant schedule, and why you need to consider suppliers, maintenance, and your neighbours.


A3 Pad of Tracing Paper

Pencils HB 2B 4B

Water Colour Pencils

Circular template (HELIX H67)

Plant reference books

Meet your expert tutor

Hilary Thomas was Head of the School of Garden Design at the highly regarded Capel Manor College where she taught both Horticulture and Garden and Planting Design for over 20 years. Her students won ...read more

Why you'll love learning here

  • Exclusive: Be coached directly by Hilary Thomas

  • Motivating: Intimate community of students, share ideas and feedback

  • Fun: Get a new perspective with classmates from around the world

  • Inspiring: Real experts sharing their secrets

  • Convenient: Fits with real life. Study whenever and wherever you like

  • Forever: Lifetime access to videos, notes and classmates

Start whenever you like

  • Start and learn whenever
  • Interactive virtual classroom
  • Engaging video content
  • Downloadable notes
  • Learn with classmates
  • Unlimited classroom access


Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Hilary Thomas.



Discover the power of group learning. International virtual classroom of no more than 20 people, benefit from shared knowledge and community study.


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