Landscape construction & professional practice – Get to know the business from the ground up

  • Landscape construction

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

    Ben Norris

A mentored, continuing professional development course for working landscape and garden designers focusing on garden design construction, business and professional practice.

This online construction course is one of the most valuable garden design construction courses of its kind. It teaches you how to become an all-round professional – in control of every aspect of the business. You’ll be capable of offering a full design service, similar to that of a building architect, from the first day after graduation.

Coursework is based on your current  projects, so if you’re a working designer this is the right choice. You’ll be able to offer a comprehensive garden design and landscaping service – and charge professional fees.

Nothing else exists like it, because it plugs all your knowledge gaps. You’ll become an expert on hard landscaping and construction, contracting, pricing, lead generation and marketing. The course will allow you to apply for full membership of BALI, APLD or the SGD because you’ll be able to provide your clients with full planning and competitive tendering documentation.

This garden design construction course puts you ahead of the competition. It’s where you learn how to make a healthy profit whilst saving your clients a small fortune in contractor costs.

  • Landscaping courses

    “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
  • All lectures are available from day one. We prepare a bespoke timetable for you. You simply work through them in order, at your own pace.
  • It’s a mentored course. You’ll have daily access to college principal Duncan Heather for course guidance, assignment feedback and business support.
  • Work and learn simultaneously. Coursework is based on your current projects.
  • All lectures are available 24/7 in your pocket. Review and replay them as often as you like.
  • Graduate in 1 year with a maximum 5 hours study per week.
  • Extend the course to 2 years with a maximum 2½ hours study per week.
  • Acquire the key skills to become a full member of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), Association of Professionals Landscapers (APL).
  • Garden design construction course

    “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

Mentoring & Tuition

This landscape construction course is mentored, allowing students daily access to the college principal, Duncan Heather, who will act as their mentor on their own design projects. He will help with every aspect of your business covering everything from how much to charge, to checking drainage plans and writing specification documents.

The student will get lifetime access to the online classroom and updated lectures as they come online. The course is designed to be completed within a 12 month period.

You receive tutored support via our online classroom and phone App, so you can ask questions both in the office or while on site. (Usually getting a reply the same day).

You will also have 12 months mentoring and access to our monthly webinars so Duncan can assess your assignments and discuss aspects of your business and progress on the course.

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

    Brian Dove, Mauritius

Awards & Assignments

To be awarded our Certificate of Completion you need to complete a series of detailed CAD constructions drawings (See GD600) with full specifications as well as submit a full working project of your choice with full construction details, contract documentation, and full specification documentation.
  • “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

What will I learn on the CPD course?

The course is divided into 3 parts: construction, contracts and business.  Here’s an overview of what you’ll learn:

  • Landscape Construction – We cover every aspect of hard landscaping, from technical drawing through to stone, water, concrete, walling and timber. You’ll be confidently capable of preparing almost any construction drawing.

  • Contracts – Contract documentation, the tender process and documentation, planning and building regs, health and safety. You’ll be able to cost complex projects with precision, manage the tender process and then supervise construction and building.

  • Business – How to sell, how much to charge and when, how to deal with clients, generate leads and become a networking expert. You’ll learn everything you need to know about marketing and advertising your business, including how to launch your own website.

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

  • “From day one, this course opens your eyes to the most amazing possibilities in the world of garden design”

    Sue Squire

CPD Course Full Curriculum

SketchUp Make essential training (Optional)

Architecture, design, and media professionals all over the world are using SketchUp to create detailed 3D models efficiently and quickly. You will cover the fundamentals of the application, the interface, and the Sandbox extension, which is used to create realistic organic shapes and terrain.

Landscape construction theory and practice

A detailed look at construction and specification in landscape and garden design.  You will be able to specify and instruct contractors to build all manner of landscape features including ponds, pools, pergolas, arbours, walling, fencing, paving, drives, steps, drainage, decking and concrete.

Landscape construction

Design detail and creative planning. This module covers hard landscape construction – working drawings, surveying, levels, drainage, construction details and setting-out, as well as the properties of construction materials.

Garden design masterclasses

Exclusive lectures from top designers and artists such as John Brookes, Anthony Paul, Luciano Giubbilei and Jilly Sutton. 

Country garden design

You will apply your design knowledge to drawing up a proposal for a large country garden. The drawings and documents associated with this project will employ the full range of skills and knowledge learned on the course.

Business and professional practice

This covers the fundamentals of contract law governing the relationship between designer and client and between client and contractor. Lectures on setting up, marketing and sustaining a design business are given by practitioners who are able to explain the incremental steps required to maximise your chances of success.

VectorWorks training (optional)

VectorWorks sports cutting-edge features and a brand new interface, making it the perfect opportunity for those with no prior drafting experience to learn CAD from the ground up.

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

    Ben Norris

Fees and Dates

Courses Launch Date

Immediate start, subject to clearance of funds. (Usually within 24 hrs)

Cost:  £4300 +VAT  
Tutor: Duncan Heather


This online course comes with on-demand video lectures, 24/7 online classroom, marked assignments and personal mentored tuition, feedback and support.  The coursework is based on your own current design projects. You work with your mentor and study at the same time and work to your own timetable, accessing lectures on-demand to suit your requirements 


Approx. 400-600 hrs. of study 
Student Profile: Working Landscape and Garden Designers.
Additional skills required: Own Design projects & 2D Vectorworks Skills


To secure your place, all students will be required to pay the full course fee up front. Once approved, full access to all lecture will be available.  In order to be awarded the college’s Certificate of Completion, students will be required to complete and pass all sections of the course within 12 month period from the course start date. An Additional 12-month extension to the course can be purchased at an additional cost of £650 pa if required.

Once you have started the course, it is regretted that no fees can be refunded for whatever reason including non-attendance. 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

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