Course summary

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

The Online Certificate in Residential Garden Design allows anyone to access the garden design training for residential gardens you’ve always wanted, to apply to your own garden projects or to help you launch your career in the residential garden design industry with KLC’s most flexible qualification course.

It is perfect for anybody who wants to gain a professional qualification and have the flexibility to fit their studies around work, family or other commitments. You can start at any time of the year, work at your own pace and study from anywhere in the world!

Contact us

Our friendly team are ready to help you - Mondays to Fridays, 09.00 to 17.30 - Tel: +44(0)20 7376 3377.   

Make an enquiry

Click to call

Register for our next Open day

"The course was hard work but thoroughly enjoyable. I particularly liked putting together the concepts for the designs and the drawing and rendering of them. I also loved researching plant choices. The staff at the KLC were always very helpful with any queries I had. Some parts of the course involved a steep learning curve." Clare Braham

Great reasons to apply

  • Exceptional level of student support available via email and telephone from our dedicated team of experienced Open Learning design tutors
  • Study at your own pace in your own spare time
  • In-depth training on designing and running residential garden projects
  • Receive detailed, constructive feedback on your submitted projects by our Open Learning tutor team
  • Connect with your peers, through the included online forum that all students use to communicate with each other and share tips and experiences



  • Achieve a highly respected KLC Certificate in Residential Garden Design qualification
  • Award-winning online delivery with easy to follow videos, infographics and fun exercises to help you easily gain the skills needed and accelerate your learning to complete the various inspirational course design projects
  • BONUS FREE CAD Software video tutorials worth £715, that can also help you to learn key garden industry-useful CAD software packages of AutoCAD® and SketchUp®, which you can pause and play when you undertake your first garden design projects.

Student gallery

  • Contemporary Garden Cottage
  • Garden Design Elevations Project Work
  • Garden Design Master Plan
  • Garden Design Planting Plan
  • Garden Design Project Planning Technical Drawings
  • Garden Perspective Project Work
  • Garden Sketchbook Development
  • Joanna Baldock Small Town Garden Project
  • Joe Brimson Residential Garden Concept Visual
  • Sarah Brookes Final Master Plan
  • Sketch Perspective Garden Design
  • Small Town Garden Master Plan

Course details

KLC has been pioneering digital and online teaching for over 25 years and at the 2017 Independent Higher Education Awards KLC won two accolades for “Innovation in Digital Teaching and Learning” and “Breakthrough in Course Design and Delivery”.

The Online Certificate in Residential Garden Design course is accessible by all your devices 24/7 via KLC's bespoke virtual learning environment (VLE). Through this online web portal, students have constant access to dynamic course materials developed by industry experts.  Broken down into four sections, the course layout is clear and easy to use with practical step by step instructions. 

The Online Certificate in Residential Garden Design allows students to combine their love of gardens and plants with their inherent creativity to develop a new and exciting career. The course is designed to be accessible and inspirational with the emphasis on providing key skills and sound practical knowledge for residential garden design.

The business aspect of running a design practice is given a high priority, and students will learn how to run all aspects of a professional design project. By the time students have graduated, they will not only have been awarded a respected KLC qualification but will also have built up an impressive portfolio to show prospective employers and clients.

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

BONUS - FREE CAD software training

For those who wish to develop CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills, AutoCAD® and SketchUp® software videos are provided for FREE as a bonus part of the course. You can choose to use AutoCAD® software for the technical drawing parts of the course and then use SketchUp® software later on in the course for 3D visuals which can be used in conjunction with AutoCAD® software. 

Join KLC's online study community

There is a thriving online community, where students share ideas, show examples of projects and discuss coursework with one another – the perfect way to meet like-minded people and maintain motivation. 

Support Throughout Your Studies

The level of student support on offer at KLC is simply not available elsewhere.  Our dedicated open learning tutors, including experienced garden designers, are on hand to provide friendly and professional help via telephone and email whenever you need support for your studies.  Students receive detailed, personalised feedback from the tutors on all project work that is submitted for formal assessment.

Engage with the school, other students and the industry through:

  • Garden Design Competitions – through our extensive industry links, you can enter competitions providing real-life project experience

  • Student Study Groups – join one near you and benefit from interacting with your fellow students

  • One to One Tutorials – for personal guidance on project work, you can opt for one or two hour sessions with one of our tutors (this carries an additional cost). 

  • Online Open Learning Garden Student of the Year – set yourself a challenge and aim for the top with our annual industry-sponsored award which this year was sponsored by industry partner Crocus. 


Contact us

If you can't find the information you are looking for or to ask a question, please contact our Admissions team on 020 7376 3377

Course Dates

Start Date:
You can enrol at any time.

Students are given a generous 3 years to complete the course

Study Hours
To fit in with your commitments - e.g. 10 hours study per week to complete in 15 months

Course fee

An instalment plan is available for this course and any discount will be automatically applied when you go to checkout

KLC 40th Anniversary
SAVE 40% off KLC’s Online Certificate Residential Garden Design course using code OCG40. PLUS option to pay by instalments of just £60 per month. Offer expires 30/05/2022 - READ MORE

Any current discounts will be automatically applied when you go to checkout.

Course units

Section One

Design Project 1         Residential Garden - Site Survey, Analysis, The Client Brief, and Functional Layout Plans

Students start the course by 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 project and students are taught about the design process, fundamental design principles, taking the client brief, concepts, and plant science.  In section one students choose and report on a garden designer whose work is aspirational and inspirational. 

Section Two

Design Project 2         Residential Garden – Exploring Presentation Materials

This section develops on the residential garden site from the first project, with students researching topics such as environment, sustainability & naturalistic planting.  The project for the section includes conceptual design development and explores different design layouts while focusing on the skills needed to create compelling presentation materials to show to clients.  Visual presentation skills are developed through teaching on axonometric projection drawings, sketching and drawing in perspective, and colour rendering planting combination drawings in order to share the impressive visual impact of design and planting proposals.

Section Three

Design Project 3         Small Town Garden – Skills of Technical Communication

Moving on to a small town garden project, students look at the technical aspects of garden specification and design communication. The master plan and section produced by students for this project will include dimensions and information to brief the contractor.  Additionally, technical details are drawn at large scale requiring students to fully-resolve the construction of their hard landscaping proposals.  Students are also required to submit their garden sketchbook. Hard materials are researched and the section includes a quiz to test breadth of knowledge and understanding. In Section 3 students study the History of Garden Design and produce a report on their chosen period. 

Section Four

Design Project 4         A Fully-Developed Residential Garden Design Project Including Professional Practice Documentation

In the final project students continue to progress their horticultural knowledge of plant combinations, and are required to find and survey a residential site that is typical in their area and/or for their future practice, this could be in the country, in a town, or even a large terrace.  Design project 4 requires the submission of all preparatory materials such as survey notes, photos and analysis of site.  Students will produce a full suite of professional practice documents, such as a scope of works, letter of engagement, and a fee proposal. Students are guided in the production of their own choice of presentation materials – the materials that will most persuasively sell their design concept.  Among the technical drawings produced and submitted students will draft a planting plan, a simple lighting plan, and key drawings will be annotated with dimensions and accompanied by a number of technical details to demonstrate a good grasp of construction considerations, properties of materials, and technical communication skills.


Educator recognised by Society of Garden Designers 

Society of Garden Designers Educator Status

KLC has been awarded Society of Garden Designers Educator Status. To gain the accreditation the SGD thoroughly check the course content to ensure that we are teaching to a professional level and that the skills, understanding and knowledge gained by our students are up-to-date and industry-focused.

"I found the hand drawing quite time consuming and very quickly taught myself Sketchup so that I could present my plans in this format. This grounding has proved invaluable as I still use Sketchup along with Photoshop to produce my visuals." Sarah Plested

How to apply

Entry onto the course is via online booking using the shopping basket button below or over the phone by calling 020 7376 3377. Any current discounts will be automatically applied when you go to checkout.

You can enter any promo code you have just before completing the checkout process. If you opt to pay by KLC Instalment Plan, you must have a UK bank account.

Please contact our Admissions Team on 020 7376 3377 or if you need any further information or advice about the Entry Requirements for this course.

Entry requirements

No previous experience in garden design is required for this course; we simply ask that you have a passion for the subject and a drive to learn!

Applicants should have basic computer skills (Word processing, Spreadsheets, Internet and Email use) and able to confidently use their laptop computer. These skills can be built on using the online learning resources during the course to gain the computer-aided design (CAD) software skills needed to complete the course from an absolute beginner level to confident usage. 

English Language Recommendation

IELTS score of 5.5 ( is advised as a guide

Fees and Funding

Home/EU/International fee


Instalment Plan

Below is a table showing the breakdown of course fees according to our monthly payment plan option based on the course fee of £1,840. Please note that this payment facility is only available to students with a UK bank account (inc. Northern Ireland).

1st payment due now    Further monthly paymentsTotal
    Instalments     Amount    
£175 18 £98  £1,939

The total course fee includes a small additional charge of £99 (just £5.50 per month) to cover administration costs for using this facility.

  • Please note that VAT will be charged at the rate in force at the date payments are made which may increase the total fees quoted if the VAT rate changes

Additional expenses

The course fee for the Online Certificate Residential Garden Design course includes all the study materials, project and assignment work, VAT and all distance learning tuition, including the telephone helpline, email advice and assessment of coursework.

However, students should make an allowance for the following:-

  • Equipment and drawing materials
  • Books for further reading
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Membership to various affiliations (eg BIID, RHS etc)
  • Visits to exhibitions, museums, trade shows, historic houses and gardens
  • KLC Workshops (optional)
  • KLC One to One Tutorials (optional).


There are a number of funding options available and it can be complicated to establish the most appropriate route for you, so if you would like any advice then please do not hesitate to contact our Registrars by telephone (020 7376 3377) or email (

Garden Design Funding graphic

Personal Education Loan
There are many different companies offering personal loans, including some that specialise in private education loans which have a reduced repayment through the duration of your course.

Please note that we are unable to accept the 24+ Advanced Learner Loan for our courses.

Alumni and careers


- Clive Anderson changes his successful career in the city to an exciting new career in garden design.

- Martin Nealon studied the Online Garden Design course whilst studying interior design with KLC.

- Clare Braham worked for many years in an office-based job as a finance and administration manager for local government.

- Sarah Plested was running a garden maintenance business, having completed the RHS Horticultural Certificate she wanted to learn Garden Design.


No other design school has the industry links or careers support that KLC provides. We assist with CV and portfolio preparation, plus organise internships and job placements within a broad and prestigious range of design companies.

Employers consistently return to KLC to recruit knowing that our graduates emerge with the relevant and practical skills for the workplace. As a result, students have gone to a broad range of exciting new careers.