Completely flexible mode of study to launch your new garden design career

Diploma Garden Design

Open LearningPart Time


The Garden Design Diploma - Open Learning allows anyone to access the garden design training you’ve always wanted and launch your career in the design industry with KLC’s most flexible qualification course - the Open Learning Diploma. This industry recommended diploma is available to start at any time and can be studied at your own pace, meaning you don’t have to change your work or family commitments in order to enrol.

Covering everything from plant science and hard landscaping, design principles to professional practice, you’ll learn everything you need to become a professional garden designer.

Course Details

Section One

Design Project 1         Residential Garden - Site Survey & Analysis

Students start the course with learning how to read scale and professionally survey a garden site, going on to practise initial pencil exercises, then how to create plans, elevations and sections from these surveys. A medium sized residential garden of the students’ choice is required for this this project and from this students are taught about the design process, fundamental design principles, taking the client brief and creating concepts. Garden history is also introduced, as well as plant nomenclature and advice on keeping a sketchbook.

Section Two

Design Project 2         Residential Garden – Exploring Garden Layouts

This section develops on the residential garden site from the first project, with students exploring functional layout plans, as well as taking a closer look at plant categories, planting principles - including form, texture & colour - and plant science. This is developed into creating a lakeside planting plan and continuing to progress skills such as sketching, inking and lettering.

Section Three

Design Project 3         Small Town Garden

Moving on to a small town garden project, students look at dealing with difficult sites, construction and garden lighting. They also start to consider professional practise elements of design, such as costing a project, and researching topics such as environment, sustainability & naturalistic planting. Visual presentation skills are developed through teaching on axonometric projection drawings and colour rendering planting combination drawings. Students are also required to submit their garden sketchbook.

Section Four

Design Project 4         Commercial Garden – Hospital Courtyard

Taking on larger projects for the second half of the course, students look further at garden construction, this time from a commercial perspective, using their new knowledge to create detailed construction drawings and a landscaper materials reference table. They continue to progress their horticultural knowledge of with further plant combinations exercises and also explore creating scale models.

Section Five

Design Project 5         Conceptual Show Garden

This section focuses in the main on conceptual gardens, with students being asked to design a conceptual show garden - as though they were exhibiting at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show. This lends itself to researching contemporary garden design, as well as creating a research profile on a contemporary garden designer. 

Section Six

Design Project 6         Final Residential Garden 

For their final major project, students combine a large residential site of their choosing with a given client and budget, to showcase their full range of knowledge and skills, including professional practise considerations. They will be asked to produce a full project proposal, site survey and analysis, composite photos, a concept board, a functional layout plan, colour rendered master plan, a planting plan and schedule, a colour-rendered elevation and construction detail drawing, a freehand, colour-rendered sketch perspective and lighting plan. Students also present a lighting research document, a history of garden styles notebook and submit their final garden sketchbook.

Entry requirements

No previous experience in garden design or horticulture is required for this course; we simply ask that you have a passion and a drive to learn more about this exciting field of design!

As well as the teaching manuals, some course materials are held online; therefore applicants must be computer literate and able to confidently use their personal laptop or computer.

International applicants looking to take this course are advised to have achieved a minimum IELTS test score of 6.5.

Open Days

Join us at our next open day and speak with course advisors, course leaders and alumni. Have all your questions answered and find out which course is best suited to you.

Register for our next Open Day on 26 January 2019


  • Enrol today free of charge
  • Study at your own pace
  • Private, commercial and show gardens
  • Career focused qualification course
Speak with an advisor today
020 7376 3377
  • KLC Open Learning Diploma Garden Design
  • Must be completed within 5 years
  • 12 – 15 hours a week recommended
  • No previous experience necessary, suitable for career changers
  • Entry to garden design industry/entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Chelsea Harbour, 503 Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour, London, SW10 0XF+44 (0)20 7376 3377
An Instalment Plan is available for this course

Enrol for free with our 28 day trial. First payment will be taken after the free trial ends.


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