Planning Layout & Construction of Ornamental Gardens Online Course

Garden Design Course Online
Full Fee $595.00 incl GST - Best Value!
Payment Plan $800.00 incl GST
Duration 100 hrs
Exam Optional
Qualification Certificate

This is a great course for landscape consultants, garden designers, horticultural advisors, project managers, or anyone else who works with landscapes and needs to improve their ability to survey, evaluate and plan development work on a site.

Every site has a unique set of micro climatic and soil conditions. Other factors such as the site’s exposure to traffic, pests and disease, will also be unique. All of these things are relatively uncontrollable; although the way the landscape is designed will impact on these characteristics as well.

Course Aims:

  • Explain how to conduct a site appraisal and interpret the results.
  • Conduct risk assessments associated with planning layout and construction of ornamental gardens
  • Produce and interpret site plans and specifications using basic survey measurements.
  • Explain how site characteristics may influence choice of garden design style.
  • Evaluate and explain the contribution made by hard landscape features to design and function
  • Describe the practical procedures for setting out a site to scale plans and drawings.
  • Describe and explain the reasons for correct soil moving and storage during construction works.
  • Explain the factors which determine the design and specification of land drainage systems and describe procedures for setting out and installing land drainage.
  • Explain requirements for a range of ground preparation techniques for different landscape features.
  • Specify a range of materials and outline procedures for construction of paths and patios.
  • Specify a range of materials and outline procedures for construction of Steps, Ramps, Dwarf Walls and Fences

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    Detailed Course Outline

    This course is made up of a number of lessons or units.  Each of these has self assessment questions, a set task (practical homework) and an assignment which you can upload online.  Click below to read about each of the lessons and what you will learn.


    There are 10 lessons in this course:

    Site Appraisal, Interpretation and Risk Assessment

    • Introduction: Prior Site Use, Tree Data Required, Influence of Trees on Buildings, Influence of Trees on Atmosphere, Species Suitability, Planning Considerations, Tree Root Protection, Consider Roots and Construction, Building/Construction Data to Collect
    • Child-Proofing a Garden: Designing a Safe Garden Environment for Children
    • Slippery Slime Control: Solutions for Slippery Surfaces, Temporary Solutions
    • Risk Assessment of a Landscape Construction Site: The Area(s) and People That May Be At Risk, The Risks, The Consequences of an Event Happening, The Adequacy of Existing Controls, A Rating of the Consequence, Likelihood and Level of Risk
    • Keeping a Work Site Safe

    Preparing Site Plans and Specifications

    • Base Plan: Scale, Topographic Plan
    • Design Drawing: Drafting Brushes, How Much Detail in a Plan?
    • Completed Designs/Plans: Examples

    Influence of Site Characteristics

    • Introduction: Examples, High Impact Changes
    • The Environment of Balconies and Verandas
    • User-Friendly Gardens: Seating, Shelters
    • Providing Shade: The Sun’s Path and Its Affect on Shade, Determining Shadow Length, How to Make the Backyard Warmer Paths
    • Garden Features: Entries, Exits and Gateways, Fragrant Trees and Shrubs, Potager and Picking Gardens, Gardens with a Sense of Mystery
    • Focal Point Ideas
    • Gardens for Children
    • Dry Gardens: Dry Garden Design, Where Do We Have Dry Garden Areas? Desert Landscapes, Xeriscapes, Cacti and/or Succulents, Australian Bush Garden, Minimalist Landscapes
    • Extending the Garden Potential: Bringing the Garden Inside

    The Use of Hard Landscape Features

    • Hard Surfacing: Laying Pavers, Concrete
    • Concrete Mixes
    • How Long Does Concrete Take to Set?
    • Pebble Gardens
    • Fencing: The choices, Inexpensive Fences, Tips for Building a Timber Fence, Deciding on the Style of Fence
    • Stone Walls
    • Rockeries: Rockery Ideas, Artificial Rocks
    • Planning for Children’s Play: Features, Protecting the Garden from Children, Designing the Garden for Children, Plants to Avoid, Play Equipment for Different Ages, Recommended Play Surfaces, Sand pits, Cubbies/playhouses, Surfaces for Play Equipment

    Setting out a Site to Scale Plans and Drawings

    • Introduction: Rules of Planning
    • Surveying Techniques: Triangulation, Slope, Direct Contouring, The Grid System
    • Leveling Terms: Leveling Procedure

    Soil Handling and Storage

    • Introduction
    • Type of Earth
    • Ease With Which It Is Handled
    • Slope Stability
    • Angle of Repose
    • Optimum Gradient
    • Soil Types and Foundations: Watch the Water Table, Try to Maintain Vegetation Cover Where Possible
    • Developing a Grading Plan
    • Required Grading Drawings, Grading Operations
    • Filling
    • Doing the Earthworks
    • Earth Moving Machinery
    • Use of Experienced Operators
    • Cost of Earthworks

    Land Drainage Systems

    • Drainage: How Much Drainage is Needed? Typical Permeability Rates, Solving Drainage Problems
    • Creating a Drain Pit
    • Drainage Design: Draining Lawns (Including Sports Grounds), Springs and Under-ground Water Courses, What a Landscaper Should Know about Drainage
    • Sun Surface Drainage: Layout of Drains, Outlet, Gradients, Distance between Drain Pipes, Depth of Drains
    • Types of Drains: Laying the Drain
    • Rain Water Harvesting and Storage
    • Bore Water
    • Grey Water
    • Diverting Storm Water: Water Quality

    Ground Preparation Techniques

    • Working Soil: Why is Some Soil Hard?
    • Choosing Cultivation Equipment: Manual Equipment, Mechanical Equipment
    • Making Garden Beds – The Variables: Raised Beds, Sunken Gardens, No Dig Garden Beds – One Method
    • Earthmoving: Moving Existing Earth, Importing Soil, Buying Soils
    • Shaping Sloping Ground

    Construction of Paths and Patios

    • Paths: Build a Solid Foundation, Soft and Hard Paths, Load Bearing Capacity
    • Paving: The Effect of Paving Designs, Paving a Slope
    • Paving Maintenance: Reviving Old Paving, Slippery Surfaces, Cleaning
    • Paving
    • The Veranda: Roofing, Container Plants on the Veranda
    • Building a Timber Deck: Foundations, Support
    • Decking Materials: Handrails/Balustrades, Steps
    • Decking Around Pools
    • Paints, Stains and Preservatives: Painting and Staining the Deck, Preservatives, Clear Finishes, Paints and Stains, Tips, Preparation, Application Tips, Safety
    • Heavy Work (Safety Techniques): Manual Lifting, How to Lift, Other Ways to Lift, Using Machines to do the Heavy Work

    Construction of Steps, Ramps, Dwarf Walls and Fences

    • Changing Levels – Step By Step: Types of Steps, Part of a Step, Designing the Steps, Materials
    • Ramps
    • Railings
    • Retaining Walls: Construction Materials
    • Types of Retaining Walls: Brick, How to Build a Brick Wall, Drainage, Timber, Concrete, Stone, Clay, Recycled Rubber
    • How to Render a Wall: Render Mixes, Wet Walls
    • Fencing: Solid Fence, Open Fence
    • Fencing Materials: Timber, Lattice, Stone, Brick, Wire, Steel or Aluminium Sheets, Star Pickets and Wire Mesh/Strand, Cast-Iron Lattice, Clear Perspex

    When you have completed the lessons of your Certificate course, you will be given the option of taking the optional exam. It's okay if you don't want the exam, we still issue your Careerline Certificate. For Advanced Certificates however, the exam is compulsory (per module) and are included in the course fee.

    Course Tutor(s)

    Barbara Tremain BSc. (Hons) Horticulture, RHS Adv. Cert,. RHS General, City & Guilds Garden Design, Permaculture Level 3 (UK)

    Barbara brings to Careerline a wide range of horticultural experience and knowledge Barbara has a keen interest in herbalism, edible wild plants and has lead into studies of many plant based complementary medicinal systems, qualification as a Bach Flower remedy practitioner and studying Ethnobotany. Barbara has practiced and studied horticulture as well as combining it with her love of travel in many countries including the UK, US and Australia and has also studied Permaculture and runs her own horticulture business. Within the past two years she have also worked for Groundwork SW with 18-24 year old unemployed people, this work and the mentoring scheme has allowed me to teach informally. It has been a delight to nurture the interests of keen learners in horticulture and garden design. Meanwhile the business has covered a variety of Garden Design projects, from wildflower gardens to seaside situations, and has included some work with Chelsea Gold multi-winner John Moreland.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I pay in installments?

    Yes! We offer great payment plans, however full payment up front is the cheapest. You can choose the best payment plan for you from the course page, or call us on 07 55368782 to talk to one of our course consultants for a custom plan.

    Can I study from anywhere in the world?

    We have many international students. Careerline's range of courses are suitable for any one, anywhere in the world.

    Do I get a discount if I enroll in a second course?

    Yes. You may claim a 5% fee discount when you enroll in a second course, and a further 10% off a three-course package.


    Do I have to sit an Exam?

    No. If you are enrolled in a Certificate course (100hrs), the exam is optional. You will be issued with a certificate which proves that you are competent in all units, if you choose not to sit the exam.

    Do you have set start dates?

    There are no set start dates, you may start at any time. Our courses are all self-paced. As our home page says, ‘Courses for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’. ‘Anytime’ includes the start time of your choice. However, we do encourage our students to submit assignments on a regular basis. Wherever possible, we suggest developing a study routine.