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Designing Small Gardens

Taught by Annie Guilfoyle

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Course Description

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to create their own personal sanctuary. It inspires those who want to rebuild or restructure a small backyard or just redecorate a corner to get more privacy and atmosphere and host beautiful soirées summer after summer. This course can be a starting point to renovate an old rooftop into the new bar in the neighborhood as well as to rearrange the herb section in an existing and well designed backyard.

Annie will guide you step by step through design process, starting with where to get inspiration and how to assess your site. The next stage is surveying and analysing every element of the garden, before working on the site arrangement and the detailed design. Once you are happy with the layout of your garden you can choose and design you own planting scheme. If you have a small garden that is really puzzling you, then this is the course for you.

Small gardens whether urban or rural can seem daunting when it comes to designing and arranging the space and selecting the right plants. The size restriction may seem like a disadvantage but actually this is not the case. It is true that with smaller gardens you need to make every single element work hard. Sometimes you need to make one thing have two uses. For example a retaining wall can also act as a seat and so on.

Annie Guilfoyle is an award-winning garden designer with her design studio Creative Landscapes in West Sussex (UK). Her work is varied from contemporary to traditional and urban to rural. She has been the Director of Garden Design at KLC School of Design and now teaches at the world famous gardens of Great Dixter (UK), Chanitcleer (USA) and West Dean (UK). She lectures in Denmark, Russia, Italy and the USA. Annie is inspired by the natural landscape, modern art and architecture and writes regularly for the premier UK garden magazines such as Gardens Illustrated and has been commissioned to write a book on the creative approach to garden design. 

Course outline

  • Design principles for small gardens

    Annie will take you through the basic garden design principles and introduce you to useful features she introduces when designing smaller spaces. She will demonstrate how you can apply these principles in your own garden and give you inspiration for your own plans.
  • Site survey and analysis

    During this lesson you will learn how you can create an accurately measured plan of your garden. The aim of a site survey is to both measure and analyse your garden so that you have all the relevant information prior to starting your own design.
  • Functional layout plans and preliminary design process

    You have now surveyed the garden so at this point it is worth developing and finalising the brief - you may have had more ideas since you completed the survey. Consider who the garden is for; do you have pets? Do you want a formal or informal design? What do you like/dislike about the existing site? What level of maintenance do you want the garden to be?
  • Draft design layout

    The aim of the draft design layout is to form a basis for your final layout design. At this stage you are ready to choose materials and decide the actual sizes of paths, terraces, steps and features.
  • Detailed design layout

    By the end of this lesson you will be ready to draw up your final master plan layout. The objective of this final plan is to have something that you can confidently give to a contractor from which they can cost and build your new garden.
  • Plants and planting

    The final stage of the design process is the planting plan. During this lesson Annie will arm you with the skills and knowledge you need to create a planting plan for any garden. You will need to consider form, structure, texture, colour and maintenance, which you can then build into your own designs.

Choose how you want to learn

  • The Expert option

    Recommended

    Develop your learning further with marked assignments and personal tuition from Annie Guilfoyle

    • Start course whenever you like
    • 6 weeks tutor access for personalised assignment feedback & coaching
    • 6 assignments marked by Annie Guilfoyle
    • Certificate of completion from Annie Guilfoyle
    • Online classroom with up to 20 classmates
    • 6 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • Group chat & direct message with tutor & classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $875
  • 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
    • 6 lessons with expert videos & notes
    • 6 course assignments
    • Group chat & direct message classmates
    • Lifetime access to videos, notes & classroom
    Learn more
    $189

Learn better together

  • Online classroom

    Start anytime and join a class of no more than 20 students

    Start anytime and join a class of no more than 20 students
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with assignments after each lesson

    Practice what you learn with assignments after each lesson
  • Personal tuition

    Exclusive assignment feedback from Expert Tutors

    Exclusive assignment feedback from Expert Tutors
  • Share

    Share ideas with classmates from around the world

    Share ideas with classmates from around the world

Meet Annie Guilfoyle

For over 18 years I was Director of Garden Design at KLC School of Design, based at Hampton Court Palace. I am the Garden Course Consultant at West Dean College, in West Sussex and I also teach a monthly Garden Design Course at Great Dixter, called the Art and Craft and Garden Design. For the past three years I have been on the judging panel for the Society of Garden Designer's annual, professional awards.

I was instrumental in organising the first Gardens Illustrated Festival and will also be taking part in this years event. Together with Dr Noel Kingsbury we have company called Garden Masterclass, which involves programming lecturers and organising garden courses throughout the UK.

I have a degree in Garden Design from Middlesex University and am the Director of Creative Landscapes, an award-winning design company based in West Sussex. Our design work includes contemporary and traditional, rural and urban gardens.

The RHS asked me to be on the selection panel for the Tatton Park Garden Show this year.

International lecturing and judging:
Teaching garden design at Chanticleer, Pennsylvania, USA
Speaking at The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Conference and the Ukraine Landscape Association Seminar in Kiev.

For the past six years I have been organising an annual design and planting workshop in association with Valfredda Nursery, for the Masters of the Landscape Annual Conference in Bergamo, Italy. Judging includes, The Moscow International Garden Show; Orticolario Show, Lake Como and this summer at the brand new Copenhagen garden show.

Garden writing includes:
A two year series for Gardens Illustrated called Design Solutions focusing on practical advice on many aspects of garden design.
A one year series for The Society of Garden Designer's, aimed at professional designers covering various topical subjects.

I have a degree in Garden Design from Middlesex University and am the Director of Creative Landscapes, an award-winning design company based in West Sussex. Our design work includes contemporary and traditional, rural and urban gardens.

I love teaching through Learning with Experts and meeting garden design students from all over the world. I look forward to helping you on your journey to understand more about Garden Design

Frequently bought as part of this collection

  • From $1,499

    Garden Design Diploma

    13 courses

    Garden Design Diploma

    Master the entire subject and SAVE 4% when you buy this collection

    13 Courses • Taught by 11 Expert Tutors

    Master the complete range of garden design skills from the biggest names in gardening, including landscape architects Tom Stuart-Smith and Chris Beardshaw, influential Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf and his co-writer Dr Noel Kingsbury, along with acclaimed design lecturer Annie Guilfoyle.

    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 and design, this collection of courses is unrivalled in its level of expertise.

    Our students at Learning with Experts say that it’s the practical elements of our courses that give them real-world insights into how they can succeed in garden design. Whether you’re hoping to upskill in an existing role or thinking of pursuing a new career in garden design, this Garden Design Diploma will give you all the skills you need to help you on your journey.

    The opportunity to have the likes of Tom Stuart Smith casting his eye over your own design plans is not something that you will find anywhere else – and will give you a huge advantage as a newly qualified garden designer. The experts who are on hand to guide you through this process are at the absolute top of their game, and they are keen to help you develop your skills further by giving detailed feedback on any work you submit to the classroom.

    As you progress through these courses, you will explore the principles that underpin good design and how you can apply these to your own ideas. You will tap into your creative side and be encouraged to create your own unique designs under their guidance. All aspects of the profession will be covered, including technical knowledge, artistic tendencies, planting in specific situations and skills in drafting and rendering, allowing you to create professional-quality plans with confidence.

    The course is taught in our friendly and private online classroom, where you will get to know your tutor and classmates. You will have the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, compare designs and planting plans, discuss difficulties you face and ask your tutor any questions.

    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). This certification is a huge advantage in the marketplace, promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals.

    Most importantly, 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.

    Learn more

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