Course summary

The only progressive garden design course in the UK to follow the growing year of January to December

The KLC Garden Design Diploma is a uniquely tailored course designed to prepare students for a career in the garden design industry. The course follows the growing year which means initial study and final project work all take place in the colder winter months and practical horticulture and live projects during the spring and summer. The resulting one-year course combines practical hard landscaping and gardening skills, plant science and creative design principles in a part-time format with additional study required outside of class each week.

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

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Great reasons to apply

  • A comprehensive and practical industry-recognised qualification in garden design to launch your new career
  • The only course to follow the growing year: [End of Winter > Spring > Summer > Autumn > Start of Winter]
  • Learn garden design, business skills, landscaping, horticulture and plant science
  • An exclusive 5-day work experience placement at Hampton Court Palace Gardens with the Historic Royal Palaces Garden and Estates team with a special illustrated talk by the Head of Gardens & Estates
  • Small class sizes with close teaching support from a very industry-connected teaching faculty of practising designers
  • Included membership to both the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) with a number  of member benefits
  • Graduates are in demand to work with prestigious designers and KLC has produced many show garden winners >>>


KLC Garden Diploma part of judging panel awarding B&Q Gardener of the year 2022

KLC Alumni take top prizes at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2022

KLC Staff, Students and Alumni at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022

Alumni Success News

July 2021 - Garden Alumnus, Felicity O’Rourke, receives a Silver Medal at Hampton Court Garden Festival for her RHS part-funded impact garden 'EXTINCTION'

July 2019 - Matthew Childs, KLC Garden Diploma Alumnus, has been awarded ‘Best in Show’ and Gold for his Smart Meter Garden sponsored by Smart Meter GB. This is the second year running that Matt Childs has taken home the title of ‘Best In Show’ at the prestigious RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

May 2019 - KLC Garden Diploma Alumni Andrew Lord (Senior Garden Designer at Andy Sturgeon Design), Maia Beresford (Garden Designer at Andy Sturgeon Design) along with recent graduates Derran Llewellyn and Marc O’Neill were all part of the Andy Sturgeon Design team that won Best Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Register for our next London Open day

Join over 20 staff and alumni for a course by course enhanced open day at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour or try our virtual online open day from your own home.

Student gallery

  • CFS Behind The Scenes Tour
  • Eve Hacking Final Master Plan
  • Eve Hacking RHN Key Visuals
  • Garden Design Planting Plan
  • Garden Diploma Model Creation
  • Garden Plan, Elevation and Cross Section
  • Garden Sketchbook Development
  • Hampton Court Gardens
  • Hampton Court Palace Workshops
  • Joe Brimson Residential Garden Concept Visual
  • KLC Garden Diploma Project
  • KLC Garden Exhibition and Awards

Course details


The KLC Garden Design Diploma is a uniquely tailored course designed to prepare students for a career in the garden design industry. This one-year course combines practical hard landscaping and gardening skills, plant science and creative design principles in a part-time format, with two full days at school (Wednesday & Thursday) and an average of 20 hours additional study required outside of class each week.

Image of Hampton Court Palace

KLC Garden Design Diploma students attend an exclusive 5-day work experience placement at Hampton Court Palace Gardens during April

KLC Garden Design Diploma students have the opportunity to join practical horticultural sessions at Hampton Court Palace, one of the most historically rich gardens in the country. In the second term, students undertake a 5-day work placement at Hampton Court Palace Gardens under the direction of the Historic Royal Palaces Gardens & Estates Team and a KLC Tutor.

Throughout the course students are trained to think like a designer, as well as expand their horticultural knowledge, gaining valuable knowledge and insight through visiting talks from industry leaders.  Students graduate with a respected qualification, an impressive portfolio of work and the skills and confidence to work on professional design projects.

Alumni from this course have gone on to exhibit and win medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, as well as being employed by established designers such as Andy Sturgeon, Marcus Barnett and John Nash. Our most recent alumni win was Matt Child's amazing triple win at RHS Hampton Court Flower show 2018 with his B&Q Busy Lizzie Garden achieving a Gold Medal, 'Best in Show' and 'Best in Construction'.


Contact us

To register your interest and receive information and updated about studying at KLC please complete this form.

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
11 January 2023 to 29 November 2023

KLC Diploma Garden Design

1 Year

Entry to garden design industry/entrepreneurial opportunities

Study Hours
2 days a week (Wednesday & Thursday - Limited spaces) or (Thursday & Friday - Available), plus 20+ hours per week outside of class

Five-day Hampton Court Palace work placement : April 2023

"Overall this course has given exactly what I required and more, providing the perfect foundations for a career in garden design, and giving me the ability and confidence to deliver exceptional design work, but most of all it has been great fun!" Sebastian Jans

Course units

Term One

Design Project 1         Chelsea Fringe Proposal
Design Project 2         Residential Garden

The year starts with exploratory design sessions; enabling students to get to know their tutors and classmates and immersing them in sketching and technical drawing workshops, as well as introducing design principles, planting and garden history.

The term continues with training in practical gardening skills such as pruning, training and propagation, as well as planting design and principles, including plans, schedules and using colour. Students are encouraged to develop their creative eye by keeping a plant sketchbook and learning to hand-render their plans and drawings. An overview of the design process is also given, with topics such as surveying a site, taking the client brief and project management all being introduced.

Term Two

Design Project 3         Hampton Court Conceptual Show Garden
Design Project 4         Derelict Space
Research Project 1     Plant Combinations File
Research Project 2     Construction File

Focusing on complex design situations and theory, including designing challenging sites, this term progresses students’ knowledge of garden design principles, creativity and concept work. Advanced visual communication techniques are introduced, such as one and two-point perspective drawing and computer-aided design software, such as SketchUp, Photoshop and Vectorworks Landmarks. This term includes a 5-days work experience placement at Hampton Court Palace under the direction of the Historic Royal Palaces Garden & Estates team and includes a variety of practical horticultural experiences around various sections of the garden and an illustrated talk from Terry Gough, the Head of Gardens & Estates at Historic Royal Palaces, on the Historical Development of the Gardens over the centuries.  At the end of the five days, you will receive a special certificate of attendance from Historic Royal Palaces.  A range of inspirational visits and lectures are also included in the course timetable to complement the ongoing projects.

Term Three

Design Project 5         Commercial Project
Design Project 6         Historical Garden

The course concludes with two large design projects, incorporating all of the skills students have learnt so far, as well as further teaching on professional business practice; including specifications, contracts, project management, proposals and costing. Students are also offered portfolio advice and careers workshops to help them get started in the industry. The year then culminates in a final Exhibition and graduation ceremony, with professionals from the garden design industry being invited to view students’ final projects.


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.

All KLC Diploma Garden Design students received student membership of the SGD as part of their course. Membership includes a whole host of benefits.

Students also receive a membership for the duration of their course for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). 

"The quality of the course, the knowledge of the tutors, the variety of projects offered, the network and the exposures to the major Garden-Design-related events is just phenomenal!" Noemi Mercurelli

How to apply

Entry onto the course is by interview only, so please complete the Request an  or call our Admissions team to book your appointment.

To prepare for your interview, you will be asked to complete the following:

  • Interview forms, including education and career history
  • A garden based creative exercise 
  • A multiple choice spatial awareness test.

Computer-aided design is a key part of this course; therefore applicants must be computer literate and able to confidently use their personal laptop.

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.

Request an interview  >

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!

English Language Requirements

Good command of written and spoken English is required for all applicants.

If you reside in the UK, but English is not your first language, you may be asked to undertake an approved English language test.

Fees and Funding

Home/EU/International fee


An Instalment Plan is available for this course

Instalment Plan

Course start date: 11 January 2023

Enrolment fee: £1,550 non-refundable but deductible from the overall fees.

Followed by 3 payments of: £3,255

  16 November 2022 £3,255
  16 March 2023 £3,255
  16 August 2023 £3,255


  • Please make a careful note of our refund policies, so that you are clear about what you might expect in the event of cancellation.
  • Each instalment includes a charge of £113.33 for using this facility.


Unfortunately, there are no public funding options (such as Student Finance England) for this course, but we do offer a useful instalment plan as detailed above. 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.

Garden Design Funding graphic

Alumni and careers


Diploma Garden Design students leave KLC with a broad and industry-ready knowledge of garden design and planting. The skills acquired equip graduates to become versatile and individual designers much in demand by the industry.


KLC’s dedicated Careers Service is available to all qualification students and alumni. We try to maintain a close relationship with our graduates; to assist them with their progress in the design industry wherever possible. Out of the Diploma Garden Design students who used the Careers Service in 2018, 100% are now working in the industry.