Alison Worster

Introduction To Garden Design

  • Recommended


    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $140

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

Course Description

The Introduction to Garden Design online course is designed to take you through all the basics of garden design, theory and practice.

Garden design is all about organising and shaping spaces and it covers many different elements. This eight week course aims to take you logically through the various stages of planning a garden.

You will learn how to assess the site site, the soil and the surroundings and how to measure the site and draw up a site survey plan. This will help you to understand the advantages and restraints of the site.

The next stage is to create a checklist of requirements and to identify the resources, time and skill that can be devoted to a new garden. This then gives rise to the design brief.

Using a given brief, you will then be taken through the design process, experimenting with different abstract patterns on paper that will inspire a variety of alternative designs for a garden. By shading some areas of the pattern you will create positive and negative spaces, or mass and void which will give the garden its character.

The mass will become the planting and the voids may become the patio, lawn or water. Once you have decided on a pattern that you think will work, this can then be combined with a grid that relates to the house so ensuring that the garden will sit comfortably within the site.

You can then refine this design theme, drawing it to scale, and creating a preliminary garden layout plan. You will then learn about the range of hard landscape materials and how to select ones that are appropriate for the particular site.

We will consider the addition of features such as a pergola or water and where to site a garden shed.

Hedges, trees and areas of planting are also indicated on the plan.

At the end of the course you should have the skills that will enable you to design your own or someone else’s garden.

By the end of the course you'll have learnt:

  • equipment you'll need to create garden designs
  • how to draw and annotate garden designs
  • how to use patterns and shapes, void and mass
  • creating a garden design checklist
  • working with a garden design brief
  • surveying and assesing your garden site
  • informal and formal design
  • balance and asymmetrical design
  • incorporating garden features including paths, steps, water and strucutural features
  • how to plan hard landscaping
  • working with boundaries
  • garden furniture and features

Course outline

  • Drawing and Creating Patterns

    In this lesson we are going to look at the equipment and basic drawing skills that you will need if you are going to draw your garden design on paper.

    Your final layout plan needs to be neat, clear and well organised so that it can be used as a working document, either by you or a contractor.

  • Designing on a grid

    In this lesson I am going to take you through the process of choosing and using a grid that relates to a particular house and site.

    The patterns that you have worked on so far have been developed for an isolated abstract space.

    Gardens are rarely isolated – they are usually connected to a house or other building which they should relate to and be developed from.

  • The principles or rules of garden design

    To ensure that your finished garden design is really successful, there are a few principles or rules that you need to think about when designing any garden or outdoor space.

    We'll go through the stages that are involved in developing a preliminary garden layout plan when you have to make decisions about where the patio, paths, lawn, water and other structures are to be sited and how much space they will take up.

    All good design is built around these basic principles and you need to try and consider them as you develop your design.

  • Selecting hard landscape materials

    To develop your plan further you now have to be more specific so for each of the elements you need to decide on the type of material that is going to be used and refine all the dimensions.

  • Surveying and site analysis

    Before you can produce an accurate layout plan showing your design for a real garden, you will need to carry out a full assessment of the site and produce an accurate scale drawing of the existing site, called a site survey.

  • Adding interest to your design

    In this lesson we are going to consider how water, steps and structures such as a pergola or overhead beams can add interest and atmosphere to your garden design.

  • Boundaries – walls, fences & hedges

    In this lesson we consider the importance of boundaries and how the design and materials that you select should fit in with both the location and the design and theme of the garden.

  • Features and Furnishings

    In this last lesson we look at the extra items such as furniture pots and sculptures that you can use to furnish and enhance the layout of the garden. You will also learn how to to finalise your garden plan so that it clearly expresses and communicates your ideas to you, your family and the contractor.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Alison Worster

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 8 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 8 assignments marked by Alison Worster
    • Certificate of completion
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 8 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
    • 8 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 8 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more

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 Alison Worster

Alison Worster - Gardening
Alison is an experienced garden designer and currently runs her own practice in north London.

She has designed gardens for every type of space – from urban basement courtyards to country gardens.

Alison originally trained as a commercial graphic designers and illustrator – before retraining as a garden designer, and is skilled in bringing her on-screen garden designs to life in her garden designs.

Alison studied garden design at Capel Manor, winning a “Fresh Talent” competition at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and a gold medal for a “Reclaiming London” garden at Ideal Home Show.

Alison has been teaching garden design online and in person for several years – and is passionate about working with students at any level of garden design skill, from all around the world.

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Awards & Accreditations

  • Good Web Guide
  • Red Herring Winner
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • Education Investor Awards 2021 - Finalist
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)