Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the right course for me?

All courses are different. Some place a greater emphases on horticulture while others concentrate on the design and professional practice. Do not choose your course because of price or location. Most people can only afford to do a course once, so make sure you pick the college that will give you the best head start.

Who teaches on the course?

Reputable courses should be prepared to give you a list of their lecturers including their CV’s Remember the course is only as good as the people who are teaching it

How much money will I earn from Garden Design?

Not an easy question to answer. Students should be aware that when starting any new business it takes time to make a profit so they need to have a contingency plan in the first couple of years after they graduate to earn extra income. As a guide I suggest that in the first year after graduation, student should complete between 4-6 gardens, in the second year between 8-12 and in the third year 15-20 garden plans. How much money you ear will depend on the size of the garden Click here to see SGD Fee Guidance table.

What qualification will I get?

Many courses offer their own certificates or diplomas which are unaccredited and therefore professionally unrecognised. Others are offering qualifications that are little higher than GCSE’s. Make sure you know if the qualification you are studying for is worth anything professionally and to what academic standard you are being taught too.

Who monitors the course and why is it important?

If the course is unaccredited it means the student has little or no protection. Few courses have any sort of quality control, student monitoring, qualified lecturers or external examiners. Accredited courses offer nationally recognised qualifications, are constantly monitored both by their university and external examiners for quality control, good teaching practices and to ensure good student feed back.

Will my chosen course allow me to practice as a professional?

Most short courses and 1 year one-day-a-week courses, have a study time of no more than 300 hours for the whole year. This is fine if you only wish to design your own garden but is certainly not long enough to become a professional or earn a living. A professional course will be at least 1200 hours and be to degree standard or higher.

What services will a professional garden designer be able to offer?

Click here for a copy of the SGD fee guidance table which includes a detailed list of services.

Does the Society of Garden Designers recognise my course?

Yes depending on the course. As from end of 2002 Degree and Post Grad. course graduates will automatically enter the SGD as Graduate Members. Students from all other courses will have to joins as Corresponding Members.

What camera should I buy?

This is not an easy question to answer because there are so many camera manufacturers out there.

The short answer is a DSLR. The second shortest is to buy a DSLR the same make as your film SLR because you can use the same lenses. If you don’t have any existing lenses worth using, life becomes more complicated. Canon is the market leader closely followed by Sony & Nikon but Pentax and Olympus also make great cameras (Olympus makes some of the best SLR lens in the world ).

If you want a Canon and you can afford it, I would recommend the EOS 40D or as a second choice the 450D Sony do either the A700 or the A200 and Nikon, the D300 or as a second choice the D60

What lens should I buy?

Buy the best lenses you can afford. Lenses will last while camera bodies die. If you get a Canon, don’t buy it with a lens package, buy the body only and their 28-135mm IS USM lens It has a macro of flower photography but also covers the most used focal range and is a great all-rounder For a second lens get their 70-200mm 2.8 IS USM lens but this might have to be a later purchase because we are talking ££££££ Nikon make a fantastic 105mm macro which is stabilized.

What books will I need for garden design?

What materials will I need for garden design?

What is the curriculum?

What is the course outline?

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