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The History Of Garden Design

Taught by Dr Toby Musgrave

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Course Description

Suitable for All Abilities

Ornamental gardens are complex, three-dimensional, (albeit overlooked) works of art, and ever since the first garden was made in Ancient Egypt some 4,300 ago they have acted as cultural barometers.  Down the millennia and across continents every civilisation and nation has developed its own garden styles.  Over time and place these styles have evolved in tune with changes in the cultural, artistic, social, economic, technological and political landscapes.  From peristyle courtyards of Roman villas to erotic and sensuous paradises of the Islamic world from the stylized nature of Japanese gardens through the Baroque opulence of Versailles to Arts and Crafts and cottage garden artisanship and the functionality of Californian Modern.

Moreover, garden art and culture have always been profoundly interactive - at one and the same each shapes the other.  As a result of this unique relationship garden art is an intrinsic, integral and influential component of the zeitgeist.  For example, one of the influences on the Italian Renaissance garden was the desire to understand the relationship between Man, God and Nature, and political ideology and sexual innuendo helped shape the English landscape garden.  And as for the 20th century suburban garden...it was loaded with the expression of expected cultural values.

Garden History therefore takes an interdisciplinary approach.  Artistic analysis of individual garden styles will reveal design principles and aesthetics, and the garden form will be deconstructed to display the style’s constituent elements, their configuration and the planting.  Simultaneous cultural analysis of the garden style will identify and interpret its interactions with the zeitgeist, provide insight into the garden’s role and purpose, and explain how the garden style impacted the cultural spectrum, both nationally and on a global level.

Learning Outcomes.  By the end of this online garden history course students will:

  • Know and understand the evolution of the garden as an art form.

  • Be able to artistically ‘read’ a garden: to deconstruct and understand specific styles - their form, design, content and purpose.

  • To be able to draw correlations and comparison between them, and know their influences.

  • Know and understand why gardens interacted with the culture of which they were an integral part.

  • Know the cultural and artistic impacts the gardens made on its zeitgeist and understand the outcomes of these interactions.

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

    Recommended

    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 from Dr Toby Musgrave
    • 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
    $299.00
  • 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
    $99.00

How it works

About Dr Toby Musgrave

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.

Frequently bought as part of this collection

  • Garden Design Diploma

    Master the entire subject and SAVE 30% when you buy this collection

    11 Courses • Taught by 8 Expert Tutors

    This collection of courses from the world's greatest designers and plantspeople, enables you to learn the full gamut of skills needed to become a practising garden designer.  Whether you want a career change, or are keen to design your own garden under the watchful eye of some of the world's big names in gardening, this collection of courses is unrivalled in its level of expertise.

    It's also taught in our friendly and private online classroom, where you get to know your tutors and classmates.  You will receive 2 Continued Education Units (CEUs) for each course in this collection, which are recognised by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD).  Most importantly though, you will have an enjoyable learning experience, whilst learning from highly acclaimed and trusted practising designers.   Many of our students have gone on to make a hobby into a profession and now have careers in gardening or garden design all over the world.  You will receive a certificate on completion.  

    Learn more

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