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RHS: Features & Planning (5)

Taught by Hilary Thomas

‘The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies‘ ~ Gertrude Jekyll

Course Description

In this module candidates will be introduced to several popular features that can be used to enhance a garden. Candidates will learn the fundamentals required to conduct an accurate survey, as well as studying design principles and planning requirements. They will then be shown how to combine these techniques with plants suited to the environment they are working in to create the perfect garden they envision.

Course outline

  • Garden Surveys and Site Appraisals

    This lesson will begin by instructing you on how to accurately measure a garden in order to create a clear survey plan, this includes the equipment required to complete your survey. You will also be guided through the process of surveying a house, with informative advice on how best to factor into your surveys: micro-climates; drainage; wind direction; and conservation areas.
  • Principles of Garden Planning

    Here you will be guided through the various fundamental styles that can be applied to your garden plan - from symmetry to asymmetry, and from modern to minimalist. You will also discuss the effects of scale and proportion, and how best to use rhythm and repetition to your advantage.
  • Visual Qualities of Plants

    This lesson tackles plant form (for instance fan, columnar, dome) and the varied visual impact it can have. You will also study flower form and its contribution to overall shape, before moving on to examine coarse texture of plants and how to effectively use colour to provoke an emotional response to a garden.
  • Range of Hard Landscaping Materials

    In this lesson you will begin with an in-depth study of horizontal design elements (such as patios, paths, drives) and the advantages and disadvantages of the various materials that can be used for them. You will also conduct a similar examination of vertical elements (walls, fences, screens). Additionally you will be taught about the potential aesthetic benefit of steps, including the need for landings and safety features.
  • Adding Interest

    Here you will explore several different features that can add interest to a garden. This ranges from sculpture to water features, and from rock gardens to electric features. You will also look in depth at the reasons for using pergolas and the effects they can create, as well as considering garden furniture and how important it is to consider purpose before choosing a material or aesthetic.
  • Factors for Consideration for Larger Vegetation

    In this lesson you will consider the role that trees, shrubs and hedges play in a garden. You will learn about the factors that affect the suitability of vegetation for a specific area - for instance how certain trees suit large parks but not domestic gardens, or how hedges can be used to create either a formal or an informal look.
  • Herbaceous Perennials, Alpines, and Rock Garden Plants

    This lesson begins by covering herbaceous borders in their traditional forms. From there you will be encouraged to consider more diverse concepts, namely: island beds, mixed borders, naturalistic plantings, and container planting. You will also learn how the height of plants should affect where you plant them.
  • Range of Annuals, Biennials and Bulbs

    In this final lesson you will learn some key definitions (e.g. half-hardy annuals and biennials). You will also be advised on the best ways to design and compose hanging baskets, before considering the benefits of bulbs and being given several examples of bulbs that are suited to different times of year.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option


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

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 8 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 8 assignments marked by Hilary Thomas
    • 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

How it works

About Hilary Thomas

Hilary is a true professional. She has been designing gardens for 25 years and taught students the key techniques as Head of Design at Capel Manor College

Octopus Publishing
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 prestigious medals at the Chelsea and Hampton Court Shows and many went on to establish very successful careers as garden designers. Whilst at Capel Manor she established the first Planting Design Course in the country and her published book The Complete Planting Design Course was a compilation of the course notes. She has been a tutor with my MyGardenSchool since it started and her Professional Planting Design course is popular with students from around the world.

Frequently bought as part of this collection

  • RHS Level 2 Collection

    Master the entire subject and SAVE 21% when you buy this collection

    8 Courses • Taught by 2 Expert Tutors
    RHS Qualifications: Distance Learning Approved Provider 2020

    The Royal Horticultural Society’s Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture is an internationally recognised qualification designed to inform those just starting out in gardening as well as to build upon pre-existing knowledge. It can often lay the foundations for a complete career change.

    All the knowledge required to pass the final exam has been gathered here in a collection of inspiring courses. Through the power of online group learning, we bring this course to you and help you to benefit both from internationally acclaimed horticulturalists, and from others working towards this qualification.

    Purchasing the full collection is the most economical way of readying yourself for the final exam - and saving on the price of buying module by module. However feel free also to pick and choose the areas that interest you if you simply want the pleasure of horticulture and do not want to achieve the overall RHS Level 2 qualification.

    More information about the qualification can be found here.

    Learn more

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