Garden design courses

When asked about the OCGD course my first answer is always that it’s tough but I’m so glad I did it. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and it’s given me the skills I need to completely change my career and do something that I love.

I’ve completed a post graduate diploma by distance learning before, but this course was completely different. I was able to watch the lectures at a time that suited me and reinforce the learning again through weekly tutorials. Feedback was given via video calls which enabled me to have a discussion and clarify points for my own learning. At the beginning of the course, all students were put in touch with each other and due to the support we gave each other and from our tutor, I knew that help was there if I needed it, and there were points when I did.

The breadth and depth of knowledge covered can be demanding, but are all necessary for when out in the real world working on your own commissions. I was able to complete the course within twelve months and it was an incredibly challenging learning journey but I graduated with Distinction (and a smile) equipped to start my new career.

Little time has passed since I finished the Online Garden Design Course and I would like to express my gratitude.

I feel that my life has changed quite a bit since I started the course - to say the least - I became by far more professional.

It has been quite a hard road - (you had announced that it wouldn't be holidays and it wasn't) but the intense work schedule has been very worthwhile because it really put me on track.

To update you on further developments of your student, I am currently working on my first job - rather big one as I find, including a swimming pool and Poolhouse + covered Terrace.
I handed in the plans and documents for the town planning permits today and am now grateful that I learned so much, even though it was quite challenging.

I cannot say that anything goes quickly yet, specially not the CAD but definitely the workflow is improving immensely. There is just no comparison to last year, when I knew almost nothing about how to design a garden.

More artistic projects are waiting for me. Together with 2 professors I am applying to present my project "Living Gardens for Peace" at a Peace Conference in Istanbul in August. The project is why I initially wanted to do the course… and things are really falling into place.

Again Thank you so much for making this course possible.

Default Avatar55
Sarah Naybour

The course at OCGD is the steepest most rewarding learning curve I have ever experienced. 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. If this is going to be your career then do it. If it's just a hobby, forget it.

Default Avatar55
Paul Ridley

The one-year diploma at Oxford College of Garden Design offers the best coverage of this enormous field I can imagine. Progressing through three varied design projects based on real gardens, students learn the essential skills to assess the site, organise the space and design different types of garden.

With frequent critiques of your work and regular deadlines the pace is fast - very fast, but this allows you to rehearse the organisational skills necessary for running your own successful design office. There is a strong emphasis on the fundamentals of construction and hard landscaping, as well as a good grounding in the design programmes essential for successful computer design. The teaching is supportive as well as demanding, and you will make excellent contacts and good friends as a result of the course. The diploma has been the perfect launchpad for my new career, and is highly recommended if you have the stamina for a very busy year.

Default Avatar55
John Brookes
international garden designer and author

I enjoyed the students' end of term exhibition, I thought much of the work was excellent.

(quote taken from a note sent after the graduate exhibition)

Default Avatar55
Gill German,
Surrey student

Having already completed a one year garden design course at Merrist Wood college and worked as a designer for 5 years, I came to the course to just 'fill in some gaps'. I have learnt so much more than I anticipated - not just about the design process but you have provided a complete professional training. I now feel confident and ambitious to be one of the best! Thank you Duncan - you are indeed a gifted teacher.

Default Avatar55
Jo Chance,

The OCGD diploma course is broad and comprehensive in its coverage of all the different disciplines required to become a practising Garden Designer. On graduating from the course you will be equipped with an extremely good foundation of knowledge to access the information on all the diverse key skills needed to enable you to go straight into establishing a career in this field.

Default Avatar55

A great course! It places you at the forefront of the growing professionalism in garden design by not only giving you a thorough understanding of the principles of good design and also an in-depth knowledge of garden construction.

Default Avatar55
Jamie Bloxam

The design lectures were very helpful for someone like me, who, although I come from a film background I don't have a lot of drawing experience. They built up my confidence to the point where I can talk with prospective clients and contractors with clarity and ease. The construction lectures were incredibly comprehensive and have proved to be invaluable in my work as a designer. I look back on my notes and handouts regularly and they have given me great confidence.

Default Avatar55
Exhibition Review
by Sally Court
Garden designer and vice chair of the Society of Garden Designers (Publish in the GD Journal)

The breadth of knowledge that the students from the Oxford College of Garden Design have acquired over a year's postgraduate full-time course is exceptional. Again, this year, the students were able to demonstrate the depth of understanding of garden design in their work. A prospective client would feel confident that a graduate from this college could prepare a design from initial concept through to a scaled ground plan and installation — work that would not only be competent, but would express considerable creativity. I was particularly impressed by the progression shown in the development of each project set by the students. Concept boards showed the emergence of an idea which was then used as the basis of outline plans. These were developed further into scaled drawings and models, illustrating that the students were able to work within the confines of the garden with a grasp of spatial awareness. Too often colleges encourage their students to concentrate on theory and many indulge in the abstract side of design only to find that these creative thoughts are impractical when applied to a real garden. Principal Duncan Heather, has encouraged creativity to the full without compromising the attainable. Projects set covered a typical town garden through to larger private gardens. It was evident that the students knowledge of construction details and planting combinations was also of a high level. All the students had a mature attitude towards garden design and although not all their designs were inspirational, they illustrated a professional approach to their work.

Contact Us

PO BOX4784
Oxon, RG9 9FE

+44 (0)1491 628950