Landscaping I

Course CodeBHT109
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn What is Behind Good Landscape Design

  • Learn to think like a garden designer
  • Find out about recording pre-planning information on site,
  • Understand how some different garden styles are created, how to make landscape drawings
  • Learn  to add garden features to designs, how to make small spaces seem larger and more


Student comments: "[The course] gave me an insight into a subject that I have been interested in for a long time. Plus it has helped me in my current job with a local landscape/nursery company. [The structure] was done in a way which was very easy to understand and this helped when you hit a subject which was hard to get a grip with.. All feedback from the tutors was very constructive and helpful." (David Painter, Landscaping 1, UK)


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Basic Design Procedure A
    • Scope of Landscaping
    • Dynamic Nature of Gardens
    • Plant Naming
    • Plant Identification and Selection
    • Botanical Families; a basis for identification
    • Principles of Landscaping
    • Design Elements
    • Design Effects
    • Climate, Microclimate and Aspect
    • Collecting pre-planning information
  2. History of Gardening
    • Formal Gardens
    • Informal Gardens
    • Natural Gardens
    • Cottage Gardens
    • Other garden styles and themes, oriental, Mediterranean, etc
    • Potted History of Gardens: Roman, Chinese, Dark Ages, Le Notre, Brown, Jeckyll, etc
  3. Draughting and Contracting
    • Concept Plans
    • Scale Drawing
    • Presentation Plan
    • Computer Aided Design
    • Drawing techniques (Graphics)
    • Design Procedure
    • Specifications and Contracts
  4. Basic Landscape Construction
    • Drainage and Erosion
    • Gradients
    • Walling
    • Rockeries
    • Steps
    • Creating Mounds
    • Earth Shaping
    • Play structures
    • Gravel and Paths
  5. Surfacings
    • Gradients
    • Surfacings
    • Gravel
    • Soft Surfacing
    • Grass
    • Concrete
    • Asphalt
    • Timber
    • Paving
    • Rubbers and Textiles
    • Substrates
    • Performance Considerations
  6. Furnishings and Features
    • Criteria for selecting Structural Components
    • Garden Furniture and Garden Rooms
    • Using Furniture in the Garden
    • Outdoor Tables and Chairs
    • Garden Art; types, selection, use
    • Lighting
    • Design considerations for Play Structures
    • Water Displays and Fountains
    • Skate Facilities
  7. Park Design A
    • Park Components
    • Ornaments
    • Walls, Fences and Windbreaks
    • Enclosed Gardens
    • Gates and Gateways
    • Windbreaks
    • Recreational Landscaping
    • Criteria for Public Outdoor Space Design
    • Why Parks are Under used
    • Types of Playgrounds
    • Making Community Participation Work
  8. Home Garden Design
    • Components of a Home Garden
    • Where Garden Meets House
    • Bringing the Outside In
    • Buildings in a Home Garden
    • Courtyards
  9. Design Procedure B
    • The Design Process
    • Design Elements
    • Components of a Recreational Landscape
    • Designing Narrow Gardens
    • Water Garden Design
    • Water Effects: sound, reflection, movement, light, cooling
    • Using Water Plants
    • Formal and Informal Pools
  10. Park Design B
    • Creating Trails
    • Planning a Trail
    • Types of Trails: Fitness, Nature, Sensory, Cryptic Puzzle, etc
    • Sporting Facilities
    • Outdoor Courts
    • Fun and Fitness Trails
    • Motor Vehicles in Parks
    • Plus A Special Assignment - comprehensive landscape


  • Create visual effects through the use of different landscape design concepts.
  • Determine pre-planning information required to prepare a landscape design.
  • Determine an appropriate garden style for a landscape, to satisfy specifications for a design project.
  • Illustrate a landscape design through a plan, using legible graphic skills.
  • Determine different hard landscape features, including earthworks, surface treatments and furniture, to incorporate in a landscape.
  • Prepare planting designs for different landscapes.
  • Design different types of landscapes, including domestic gardens and public parks

What You Will Do

  • Explain the complete range of principles, elements and concepts used in landscape design.
  • Visit and analyse a broad range of landscape styles, themes and components.
  • Perform methods utilised to develop concepts and to create affects.
  • Identify, record and utilise pre-planning information for the purpose of design development, and to use
    • a checklist as a guide for surveying a site for a proposed design.
  • Perform site survey and client interview with the site owner/manager.
  • Explain the significance of effective client liaison, in a specific landscape job.
  • Identify historical influences on landscaping in your locality.
  • Explain the influence on modern garden design, of work by three garden designers who have been prominent in world garden history.
  • Develop and compare the appropriateness of three design options for one specific landscape project.
  • Draw an extensive range of different landscape symbols on paper, covering soft and hard landscape features.
  • Transpose two different landscape drawings, reducing the scale by a specified amount.
  • Draw a plan for a landscape, using legible graphic techniques.
  • Determine site preparations required for a specified landscape site, including: clearing/cleaning
    • earthworks.
  • Explain the legal requirements for cleaning up after a job in your locality.
  • Determine suitable timbers for construction of four different types of garden structures.
  • Compare the suitability of different materials for surfacing paths, including:
    • Asphalt
    • Concrete
    • Local gravels
    • Local mulches
    • Timber
    • Ceramics.
  • Collect, catalogue and determine appropriate use for different items of garden furniture.
  • Design a paved area for a garden surveyed, including: scale drawings and construction instructions.
  • Prepare a plant collection of at least eighty different plants incorporating:
    • Pressed plant specimens,
    • Scientific and common names
    • Cultural details
    • How to use each of these plants in different landscape situations uses.
  • Evaluate established landscapes based in:
    • Costs
    • Maintenance
    • Function
    • Aesthetics
  • Develop detailed planting designs, including plant lists, for three landscape plans, to satisfy given job specifications.
  • Analyse and compare the landscape designs of numerous selected homes and public parks.
  • Develop and prepare concept plans for landscape areas such as:
    • Outdoor living area
    • Kitchen garden
    • Courtyard
    • Children's playground
    • Entry to home
    • Neighbourhood park
  • Draft a series of four conceptual plans, showing stages in the design of a home garden surveyed.
  • Prepare a professional standard landscape design for a client in the learner's locality, including:
    • A landscape plan drawn on tracing paper.
    • Materials specifications, including types and quantities.
    • Budget details.

Make Rooms in a Garden


All good garden designers use the following trick: “Divide the garden into rooms and it will make the garden feel larger and more interesting”.

You too can divide your garden into a series of outdoor rooms without spending too much money. You don’t need a large garden to make this work – even the smallest gardens usually have a front yard, a side passage and a backyard which can be treated as outdoor rooms.

The divisions between the rooms or sections of the garden may be separated by hedges, dense shrubberies, broad flower beds or trellises or by walls of stone, timber or other materials.

The floor of the garden may be covered with gravel, lawn, paving, creepers, low shrubs or even water.

The roof is most often the sky - but it could also be the interlocking canopy of large trees or the framework of some other structure such as an arched walk or pergola.

Even though the rooms may have completely different characters or themes, they can be linked together with a hedge to make the overall effect more harmonious. It is best to keep to one type of hedge species (eg. lillypilly, Murraya or Buxus) for this to work well.


Courtyard Gardens

Small spaces can be a puzzling challenge for gardeners, used to larger properties. They needn't be. Some of the most stunning gardens I've ever seen are areas no more than a few metres wide, which with good design and a little imagination, have been turned into the envy of all who visit.

What Is A Courtyard Garden?
A court or courtyard garden is a garden space that is enclosed by walls or buildings on three or four sides, or a confined yard that is generally surrounded by houses, and with an opening off a street. Courtyards can be as small as a few square metres, such as the space between a house and garage, or between a house and a side fence. They can also be quite large, such as those found surrounded by large city buildings, or surrounded by classrooms and walkways in a school. Courtyard gardens are common in inner city areas, where homes are generally packed close together, and with limited garden space, such as terrace houses.

  • Choose plants more carefully for courtyards, because roots & branches can be more damaging in confined spaces
  • Plant more plants in containers, to control the plant's size and potential to damage
  • Use only large containers for planting -these require less attention, particularly watering
  • Use deciduous trees, or trees with less dense foliage -too much high foliage can make a courtyard darker & wetter (algae and moss will grow more, paths can become slippery, lower plants can become straggly and suffer from low light.

by John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc.FIOH, FPLA, FAIH, Principal ACS Distance Education


Who Will This Course Benefit?

  • Work with a landscaper
  • Those you want to Design their own gardens or those of friends
  • Thos who want to extend their garden maintenance business with landscaping projects
  • Those starting out can use this course as a start to further education as a garden designer


 For more information on courses and books offered world wide through ACS Distance Education see:

www.hortcourses.com, www.acsgarden.com, www.acsbookshop.com or www.acsebook.com



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