Dr Toby Musgrave

The History Of Garden Design

  • Recommended

    $200 $140

    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $75 $52.50

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

Course Description

Learn about the history of garden design - from ancient Egyptian gardens to modern urban gardens, with garden historian Dr Toby Musgrave.

Ornamental gardens are complex, three-dimensional works of art, and since the first garden was made in Ancient Egypt over 4,300 years ago they have acted as cultural barometers. 

Down the years and across continents, every civilisation and nation has developed its own garden styles.  These styles have evolved in tune with changes in the cultural, artistic, social, economic, technological and political landscapes. 

We'll look at gardens throughout history from the courtyards of Roman villas to sensuous paradises of the Islamic world; from the stylized nature of Japanese gardens, through to the Baroque opulence of Versailles to Arts and Crafts designs; cottage garden artisanship to the 21st century functionality of Californian Modern garden; including formal gardens and pleasure gardens. We'll also cover some of the most famous garden and landscape designers including Capability Brown.

Garden art and culture have always been interactive - and this course will give you an insight into the role gardens perform in art, culture and purpose, and explain how the garden style impacted the cultural spectrum, both nationally and on a global level.

The study of garden history includes the artistic analysis of individual garden styles, which reveal design principles and aesthetics. Garden form will be deconstructed to display the style’s constituent elements, their configuration and the planting.  

You'll learn:

  • the development of the first designed gardens
  • different garden styles and their inspiration
  • the impact of art, culture and politics on garden designs
  • famous landscape designs and garden designers including Capability Brown
  • modernism and post-modernism garden designs

The course includes:

  • 4 on-demand video lessons - presented by Dr Toby Musgrave
  • lifetime access to the videos, notes and interactive class
  • flexible classes - join and learn when and where you like
  • downloadable lesson notes
  • practical garden history projects (with feedback available from Toby)
  • 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 history of garden design course:

Every student is different but in general we think the whole course will take around 10 hours 5 minutes to complete including:

  • Video lessons: 2 hours 5 minutes in total
  • Course notes: 30 minutes per lesson
  • Your garden designing projects: at least 1 hour per lesson
  • Interactive classroom time: 15 minutes per lesson
  • Tutor feedback review (Expert level): 15 minutes per lesson

You'll need:

You don't need any special equipment, but you will be looking at garden designs through history and analysing their impact and significance. The course is suitable for gardeners at all levels - from new gardeners to professionals who want to learn more about the history of garden design.

Ready to get started?

Just add the course to your basket above - choose the 'Expert' option for personal feedback from Toby on your garden history 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 10 hours, 5 minutes of CPD learning.
The CPD Standards Office. CPD Provider: 50276.

Course outline

  • Of the Ancients and the East

    In this lesson we will explore the earliest gardens made. In the West we will look at the first garden-making culture, the Egyptians, the origins of paradise in Mesopotamia before examining the gardens of Greece and Rome.

  • Man, God and the Garden

    In this lesson we will explore what happened in the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman Empire in 476. The emergence of the Islamic garden, the European medieval garden, and the rediscovery of the Classics and the development of the Renaissance garden from its genesis in Italy and its spread across Europe.

  • Turning the Wheel of Fashion

    In this lesson we will explore how the wheel of fashion takes a full revolution in a century-and-a-half as we explore the contrasts between nature dominated by man in the Baroque garden, the more-natural-than-nature English Landscape Garden and the artistic Picturesque and Gardenesque.

  • Art, Craft, Nature and Modernism.

    In this the last lesson we will examine the diversity of the 19th century garden, explore the controversy of the Battle of Styles and find a solution before moving on to the 20th century, Modernism and post-Modernism.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Dr Toby Musgrave

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 4 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 4 assignments marked by Dr Toby Musgrave
    • 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
    $200 $140
  • 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
    $75 $52.50

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 Dr Toby Musgrave

Dr Toby Musgrave - Gardening

The hustle and bustle of a city does not usually correspond with the serenity of a garden. In Phaidon’s latest hardcover, Green Escapes: The Guide to Secret Urban Gardens by Dr Toby Musgrave, the correlation is not only evident, but necessary

American Vogue
I have an absolute passion for garden design and garden history - you will regularly see me writing in the Royal Horticultural Society Magazine, and scholarly articles in broadsheet newspapers and journals all over the world.

I have written 10 books and counting. I'm a practising lecturer and write a well trafficked blog - Garden History Matters.

As a garden designer I have created gardens in the UK, the USA, India and in Denmark. I live in Denmark, am 'between gardens' and find the climate ‘challenging’.

I look forward to sharing my knowledge on Garden History with you. I joined Learning with Experts because I'm keen to help educate the next generation through digital learning.

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Awards & Accreditations

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