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 taught by expert garden designers Hilary Thomas and Alison Worster. The course will 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.

You'll learn about each stage of garden design starting with assessing the site, the soil and the surroundings; how to measure the site and draw up a site survey plan to understand the advantages and restraints of the site.

You'll go through the briefing process from requirements to resources, and then onto the garden design process, experimenting with different patterns, creating positive and negative spaces (or mass and void or planting and features) which will give the garden its character. And you'll learn how to transfer your designs onto a grid and make scale drawings.

Finally you'll look at using hard landscaping and features (including pergolas, paths, sheds and water features. As well as planting including hedges and trees.

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

You'll learn:

  • 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 assessing your garden site
  • informal and formal design
  • balance and asymmetrical design
  • incorporating garden features including paths, steps, water and structural features
  • how to plan hard landscaping
  • working with boundaries
  • garden furniture and features

The course includes:

  • 8 on-demand video lessons - presented by Hilary Thomas and tutored by Alison Worster
  • lifetime access to the videos, notes and interactive class
  • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
  • downloadable lesson notes
  • practical garden design assignments (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 introduction to garden design course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 28 hours to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 4 hours in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Your garden design assignments: at least 2 hours per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • Tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson

Ready to get started?

Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Alison on your garden design 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 28 hours of CPD learning.
The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

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 and CPD hours
    • 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

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 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

  • 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