Flower Border Design – Take your career to the next level

  • Flower border design

    “The diploma is much more than a distance learning course… Its use of online technology is an improvement on traditional classroom teaching.”


    Ben Norris

The Flower Border Design course is popular with practising landscape and garden designers who want to expand their planting design knowledge. It is also suitable if you have existing horticultural knowledge and want to start offering professional planting design, or a plant supply service.  

A love of plants is the reason you’re here. In as little as 1 year you could graduate with a specialist knowledge of plants that will form the solid foundation of a successful future career. A wide variety of business options are covered – buying wholesale plants, different planting design services, garden supply, layout and planting services.

Fitting study around work won’t be an issue. You’ll be in control of your own time and study path, learning online from professional working designers who will give you individual support and advice.

  • Slideshow 14

    “I have learnt so much more than I anticipated - not just the design process but a complete professional training. I now feel confident and ambitious to be one of the best!”


    Gill German, MSGD
  • Courses can be completed in 1 year with 10-15 hours study per week.
  • There’s a further year of tutorials, advice and support as your career takes off.
  • Life can be busy. Extend the course to 2 years with 5-10 hours study per week.
  • You’ll receive weekly video lectures to your smartphone and computer, with downloadable notes.
  • The classroom is in your pocket. Watch when you like, re-watch as often as you need.
  • You’ll have regular webinars with your tutor - individual feedback, advice and support with your projects.
  • It’s sociable and supportive. You’ll have daily contact with tutors and other students via our online classroom.

No previous design experience is necessary - and while knowledge of Vectorworks would be useful, it’s not essential. You’ll need a passion for plants, some horticultural knowledge, familiarity with computers and a good grasp of English.

If you can read an email and download a file you can do this course. If you love plants, you’re already halfway there.  

  • “Professional garden design in its entirety, in one year. It is tough but you come out of it confident to take on even the most complicated project, and enjoy it.”


    Sarah Naybour, RHS Gold Medallist

Student Profile

This course is ideally suited for those already practising landscape and garden design, who wish to expand their planting design knowledge. Or those wishing to start a new career offering professional planting plans and other planting design services. No previous design experience is required, but it is assumed that students will have a passion for plants and some basic horticultural knowledge. CAD experience, such as Vectorworks is useful but not essential as all design work can be done by hand. In addition, you will need a good grasp of English and some basic computer skills. If you can email and download a file then you can do this course! We set out to produce students with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to become professional planting designers who can offer a professional service and charge professional fees.

Awards

Our students have won the both the APLD and SGD student of the year awards numerous times, as well as the BBC garden designer of the year award. Many have produced medal-winning show gardens and have worked with some of the leading landscape designers around the world including Anthony Paul, Arne Maynard, Luciano Giubbilei, James Alexander Sinclair, and Charlotte Rowe (herself a former OCGD student!)

  • “This diploma went well beyond my expectations and opened my mind and my heart to the beginning of a new adventure!”


    Brian Dove, Mauritius

Course Structure

You have planting design video lectures released every Friday to watch and listen to at your convenience. In addition to these, you will have weekly assignments to complete and upload to the classroom, which is then discussed in class each week during your online webinar.

Planting Design

Plants are the heart of garden design and the reason most people come into the industry in the first place. You will continue to learn about planting design for the rest of your design career. What we will teach you at the Oxford College of Garden Design is planting design techniques and philosophy. You will graduate with a thorough understanding of how to choose plants that work and respond to your scheme and a plant knowledge which will be more than enough to get you started in your career.

  • “Duncan and his tutors are patient and flexible, which has allowed me to pursue the course while raising 3 children in middle school.”


    Elisabeth Giovine, California, USA
This planting design diploma course is based on the notion of 1200 hours of your effort to complete, including all online/studio contact teaching time and private study. This is a very inexact science but is based on years of experience. The time required to complete tasks will vary according to your personal organisation, ability and application. Feedback mechanisms are used regularly to monitor all aspects of the course including levels of effort required to successfully complete each section.

Assessment is by coursework together with a continual assessment of planting projects and associated technical studies. The course is student-led, with ongoing evaluation over 12-24 months.

Planting design work carried out through studio projects and taught by online tutorials form the heart of the course.
  • “From day one, this course opens your eyes to the most amazing possibilities in the world of garden design”


    Sue Squire

What will I learn on the Flower Border Design course?

The course covers everything from garden history to plant analysis, from the principles of visual composition to design documentation and legislation. Here’s a broad overview:

  • Plants as a medium for design - Using form, texture and colour theories over a range of styles and settings.

  • The art of combining plants – Analysis of planting styles used by today’s leading designers, plus an exploration of styles used by the greatest plantsmen and women of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • Hardiness, growing requirements, seasonality - The relationship between plants and their optimum living environments, plant physiology, form and structure.

  • Planting styles - Clashing colours or tonal harmony, naturalistic style or modern simplicity. How to create planting combinations that truly inspire and connect people with their garden.

Take a look at the full curriculum below, and if you have  any questions, just give us a call on +44 (0)1491 628950.

  • “The diploma is much more than a distance learning course… Its use of online technology is an improvement on traditional classroom teaching.”


    Ben Norris

Planting Design Diploma full curriculum

Plants as a Medium for Design

Introduction to the selection and use of trees, shrubs, climbers, herbaceous perennials, bulbs and annuals for a range of landscape settings through lectures, garden visits and planting design exercises and plant idents.

  • Explore use factors such as hardiness and growing requirements and seasonality.
  • Introduction to the use of form, texture and colour theories to planting design and development of planting design associations for a range of settings and styles utilising principles.
  • Development of understanding of risks of hazardous plants, research methods to identify risks and develop an understanding of methods of design to mitigate risk.
  • Presentation of planting plans and plant schedules.

Spatial Characteristics of Plants

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. 

The Art of Combining Plants

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Composite Landscape

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Visual Properties of Plants

  • Support in development of identification and analytical skills in plant observation through facilitating site visits to a range of different garden settings and campus walks.
  • Support in development of note-taking and observation skills to record plant associations.
  • Development of vocational terminology and use of botanical nomenclature.
  • NB students are encouraged to bring in the imagery of additional visits undertaken independently and analysis notes to support portfolio development.

Principles of Visual Composition

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Methods Of Planting Design

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Structural Planting

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Ornamental Planting

You will explore the relationship between plants and their optimal living environment. You will study plant physiology, form and structure and considered their inter-related variables. You will also analyse different planting styles used by leading designers.

Planting Styles

Whether clashing colours or tonal harmony, naturalistic style or modern simplicity are used, successful planting combinations can truly inspire and connect people with the garden.  In this section, we will study and analyse some of the great plant's people of the 20th & 21st Century including Beth Chatto, Christopher Lloyd & Fergus Garrett,  Dan Person, Piet Ouldolf, Rosemary Very, Penelope Hobhouse, Oehme and van Sweden, and Tom Stuart-Smith.

  • “I have learnt so much more than I anticipated - not just the design process but a complete professional training. I now feel confident and ambitious to be one of the best!”


    Gill German, MSGD

Advanced Flower Border Design

PD100 Plants as a Medium for Design

Plants as 3D space
Plant Selection
Aesthetic & Functional Considerations
Harmony & Contrast
Balance
Emphasis and Access
Scale

PD200 Visual Properties of Plants

Plant form
Flower form
Texture
Habit
Colour

PD300 Plant Selection

Identification & naming
Site analysis
Style Mood & Theme
Climatic Influences
Soil Biology
Plant Roles & Growth
Structure
Trees
Shrubs
Herbaceous
Bulbs
Ferns
Grasses
Roses

PD400 Plants and Their Environment

Plant Communities
Designing with Canopy Layers
Design interpretation
Plant associations
Growth requirements
Mode of spread
Habit
Longevity and lifecycles

PD500 Flower Border Styles

The Mixed Border
Herbaceous Border
Naturalistic planting
Mediterranean planting
Shade planting
Cottage Gardens
Meadow planting
Low Maintenance
Water and bog
Tropical planting
Container Gardening
 

PD600 Flower Border Virtuosos

Piet Oudolf
Dan Pearson
Tom Stuart Smith
Scot Ogden
Orme & van Sweden
Fergus Garret
John Brookes
Gilles Clément
Beth Chatto
Nigel Dunnett
Thomas Rainer
Paul Thompson

PD700 Flower Border Business

Client Relations
Brief
Gardens & The law
Nurseries: Trade vs Retail
Maintenance
Plant Schedules
Specification: Pot & Container Size

PD800 Planting Plans

Survey
Preliminaries
Organisation of Ideas
Design concepts
Schematic Planting Design
Graphical Styles
Scale
Planting Nomenclature
Presentation

PD900 Ornamental Panting

Layout of Planting Area
Planting arrangement
Canopy Layers
Successional Growth
Composition & Scale
Accents
Planting patterns
Ecological planting
Plant Spacing
Setting out
Plant supports

Click here to see the Planting Design Diploma booklist

  • “This diploma went well beyond my expectations and opened my mind and my heart to the beginning of a new adventure!”


    Brian Dove, Mauritius

Fees and Dates

Course Start Dates

The college has two intakes per year the first at the end of April and the second at the end of September.  Places are limited to a max of 8 students per class and are supplied on a first come first serve basis.

The next course start date is 28th Septemeber 2019  
Fees: Online Planting Design Diploma £4995.00 +VAT

Regulations

To secure your place, all students will be required to pay a non-refundable administration fee of £500. Once approved, a reading list and your first CAD lectures will be issued, for students to make an initial start.  In order to be awarded the college’s Diploma, students will be required to complete and pass all sections of the course within 12-24 month period from the course start date. Additional 12-month extensions to the course can be purchased at an additional cost of £650 pa if required.

Once you have paid your deposit, you will be invoiced for the balance (to be paid via bank transfer), prior to the start of the course. In the event of illness or other crisis, the college will do its best to assist students, by moving them to the next subsequent course, so allowing them to complete their studies.  It is regretted that no fees can be refunded for whatever reason including non-attendance, once the course has commenced. The college reserves the right to change the course dates, and structure without notice.

Oxford College of Garden Design
Oxford Science Park,
John Eccles House,
Robert Robinson Avenue,
Oxon OX4 4GP

T:+44 (0)1491628950
E: info@ocgd.org

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