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Online (via Zoom)
Fast-Track Diploma

Professional
Garden Design

Online (via Zoom)
Fast-Track Diploma

Professional
Garden Design

As a not-for-profit foundation, we are so confident in the price of our Diploma’s that if you can find the same level of education for less, we will match it!

Entry Requirements

No previous qualifications required, just an interest & enthusiasm for garden design

Course Duration

14 weeks of home study
including 20 x bi-weekly
online lectures (via Zoom)

Next Course Dates

11th March - 17th June
10am - 12.30pm (UK Time)
Wednesday & Monday

Assessment

No exams!
Tutor assessment only

Course Summary

With twice weekly live Zoom classes, the Online Fast-Tracked Diploma combines the intensive pace of the ‘In-Studio Fast-Track’ Diploma and the convenience of the ‘Online Flexible’ Diploma. This 14-week course is ideal for those students wanting to study from home and speed up their learning in a live environment.

The Level 3 Diploma in Professional Garden Design provides you with the skills and qualification to work professionally as a garden designer… without having to go back to school full-time allowing you to balance the demands of work and family life.

The skills you’ll learn can help you carry out design projects for yourself or for family and friends, prepare you for work as a designer, or enable you to pursue further studies in the subject.

This course is Ofqual Level 3 accredited and globally recognised, meaning you can work legally as a garden designer or gain enough educational credits to study a Bachelors Degree if you so choose.

We have over 35 years of experience in teaching design, with over 35,000 alumni, this garden design course is a trusted way to help you pursue your passion and kick-start your career as a garden designer

Why Learn Online?

For students who want all the benefits of remote online learning, but are also looking for more structure and live interaction with tutors and peers, the ‘Online Fast-Track’ course offers an ideal mix.

Because the course is delivered fully online, it means students can study from anywhere in the world without the need to travel or commute and attend a full-time course. But it also adds the valuable element of live lectures online with tutors and other students, to cover key content and enable discussions.

What Will I Study?

You will study eight dedicated Units during this Professional Diploma

Garden Design & the Role of the Designer

This unit introduces you to the purpose of garden design and the development of key garden design trends. In addition, it teaches you about the role and responsibilities of the garden designer and the main principles garden designers work with in the present day. This unit also includes:

  • The history and development of garden design and key styles
  • The effect garden design history has on contemporary gardens
  • Skills required to fulfil the role of garden designer
  • Stages of the garden design process
  • The importance of the design brief
  • Working with clients and other professionals

Garden Design Principles

Within this unit, you will learn about the components that make up a garden, exploring core elements that are common within a successful design scheme. You will learn how these ingredients work together to influence the appearance, usability and function of a garden space. This unit also includes:

  • Applying techniques to create a sense of movement through the space or to highlight a focal point
  • Using scale and proportion that relates to the property and the practical use of space
  • The use of colour, texture and form to create a variety of moods in an exterior space
  • Creating a variety of effects using garden components: boundaries, structures, planting, soft & hard landscape
  • Creating balance, unity and cohesion within a scheme
  • Light and shade as part of the garden design

Exploring Site Surveys & Drawing Plans

Within this unit, you will learn how to measure a garden space and draw it to scale. You will also learn how gather important information about the site and how this information will influence your garden design decisions. You will develop drawing skills and produce your own site survey plan. This unit also includes:

  • Site surveying – how & what to measure or record on site
  • Surveying tools
  • Understanding scale
  • Developing site survey plans to scale, step by step
  • Hand drawn or CAD – students may produce either
  • Industry standard drawing conventions

Space Planning & Garden Design Development in a Professional Context

This unit will inspire your creativity by developing your garden design skills. You will develop spatial planning skills and explore innovative ideas related to the aesthetics and practicality of garden layout. You will learn how to produces sketches, technical plans and elevations, how to select your strongest designs in relation to client briefs, as well as how to present this information professionally to clients, trade or contractors. This unit also includes:

  • Developmental space planning techniques
  • Exploring layout composition
  • Traffic flow and effective zoning of space
  • Drawing plans to scale
  • Drawing elevations to show vertical dimensions and to propose elements such as boundaries, steps, raised beds, furniture and planting forms
  • Ensuring successful practical and creative designs for your clients

Hard Landscaping, Furniture, Lighting & Accessories

This unit focuses on products and materials for hard landscaping and water features, along with the items that provide the finishing touches to the garden space, such as furniture, lighting and accessories. You will explore products and materials for their practical, ethical, and aesthetic characteristics, making suitable choices for a garden scheme and presenting these to meet a client brief. This unit also includes:

  • Products and materials for hard landscaping, water features, furniture, lighting and accessories in garden design
  • Practical and aesthetic qualities and suitability for use in an outside space
  • Selecting, sourcing and using products and materials
  • Incorporating products and materials in your design
  • Visually communicating your ideas, the professional way

Planting Design

This unit will help you to understand plant biology, the environmental requirements of plants and the importance of selecting appropriate planting as part of your design. It looks at how you source your plants and the practical and aesthetic considerations to be considered when developing a planting plan to a design brief. In addition, you will learn how to present planting plans and specifications to a professional standard. This unit also includes:

  • Plant identification and plant features: flowers, fruits, leaves, stems
  • Plant names and classification
  • Basic plant biology and environmental requirements
  • The role of plants in the garden
  • Selection & design for site context, functionality and client requirements
  • Selection & design for visual aesthetics
  • Production of planting plans and specifications

Professional Practice in Garden Design

This unit explores the wide array of creative and technical roles and diverse possibilities for professional engagement and career progression in this dynamic and competitive industry. It will help to prepare you to work successfully in the professional environment, whether for an established practice or setting up a garden design business. With a focus on your personal and professional development, you will consider the steps you should take to achieve your own progression ambitions. This unit also includes:

  • Being employed, self-employed and setting up a garden design service
  • Portfolio development
  • Working with others in a professional environment
  • Effective marketing and promotion
  • How to cost garden design projects and services

Professional Garden Design Project

For the final unit of the course, you bring together all your newly learned skills by producing conceptual designs and a design pack to create a wonderful garden design for a new client. When complete, your work will form an asset to your developing portfolio to show future clients. This unit also includes:

  • Design development
  • Reflecting on the challenges to enhance your final concept plan
  • Preparing a rationale
  • Professional presentation techniques
Unit 1

Garden Design & the Role of the Designer

This unit introduces you to the purpose of garden design and the development of key garden design trends. In addition, it teaches you about the role and responsibilities of the garden designer and the main principles garden designers work with in the present day. This unit also includes:

  • The history and development of garden design and key styles
  • The effect garden design history has on contemporary gardens
  • Skills required to fulfil the role of garden designer
  • Stages of the garden design process
  • The importance of the design brief
  • Working with clients and other professionals
Unit 2

Garden Design Principles

Within this unit, you will learn about the components that make up a garden, exploring core elements that are common within a successful design scheme. You will learn how these ingredients work together to influence the appearance, usability and function of a garden space. This unit also includes:

  • Applying techniques to create a sense of movement through the space or to highlight a focal point
  • Using scale and proportion that relates to the property and the practical use of space
  • The use of colour, texture and form to create a variety of moods in an exterior space
  • Creating a variety of effects using garden components: boundaries, structures, planting, soft & hard landscape
  • Creating balance, unity and cohesion within a scheme
  • Light and shade as part of the garden design
Unit 3

Exploring Site Surveys & Drawing Plans

Within this unit, you will learn how to measure a garden space and draw it to scale. You will also learn how gather important information about the site and how this information will influence your garden design decisions. You will develop drawing skills and produce your own site survey plan. This unit also includes:

  • Site surveying – how & what to measure or record on site
  • Surveying tools
  • Understanding scale
  • Developing site survey plans to scale, step by step
  • Hand drawn or CAD – students may produce either
  • Industry standard drawing conventions
Unit 4

Space Planning & Garden Design Development in a Professional Context

This unit will inspire your creativity by developing your garden design skills. You will develop spatial planning skills and explore innovative ideas related to the aesthetics and practicality of garden layout. You will learn how to produces sketches, technical plans and elevations, how to select your strongest designs in relation to client briefs, as well as how to present this information professionally to clients, trade or contractors. This unit also includes:

  • Developmental space planning techniques
  • Exploring layout composition
  • Traffic flow and effective zoning of space
  • Drawing plans to scale
  • Drawing elevations to show vertical dimensions and to propose elements such as boundaries, steps, raised beds, furniture and planting forms
  • Ensuring successful practical and creative designs for your clients
Unit 5

Hard Landscaping, Furniture, Lighting & Accessories

This unit focuses on products and materials for hard landscaping and water features, along with the items that provide the finishing touches to the garden space, such as furniture, lighting and accessories. You will explore products and materials for their practical, ethical, and aesthetic characteristics, making suitable choices for a garden scheme and presenting these to meet a client brief. This unit also includes:

  • Products and materials for hard landscaping, water features, furniture, lighting and accessories in garden design
  • Practical and aesthetic qualities and suitability for use in an outside space
  • Selecting, sourcing and using products and materials
  • Incorporating products and materials in your design
  • Visually communicating your ideas, the professional way
Unit 6

Planting Design

This unit will help you to understand plant biology, the environmental requirements of plants and the importance of selecting appropriate planting as part of your design. It looks at how you source your plants and the practical and aesthetic considerations to be considered when developing a planting plan to a design brief. In addition, you will learn how to present planting plans and specifications to a professional standard. This unit also includes:

  • Plant identification and plant features: flowers, fruits, leaves, stems
  • Plant names and classification
  • Basic plant biology and environmental requirements
  • The role of plants in the garden
  • Selection & design for site context, functionality and client requirements
  • Selection & design for visual aesthetics
  • Production of planting plans and specifications
Unit 7

Professional Practice in Garden Design

This unit explores the wide array of creative and technical roles and diverse possibilities for professional engagement and career progression in this dynamic and competitive industry. It will help to prepare you to work successfully in the professional environment, whether for an established practice or setting up a garden design business. With a focus on your personal and professional development, you will consider the steps you should take to achieve your own progression ambitions. This unit also includes:

  • Being employed, self-employed and setting up a garden design service
  • Portfolio development
  • Working with others in a professional environment
  • Effective marketing and promotion
  • How to cost garden design projects and services
Unit 8

Professional Garden Design Project

For the final unit of the course, you bring together all your newly learned skills by producing conceptual designs and a design pack to create a wonderful garden design for a new client. When complete, your work will form an asset to your developing portfolio to show future clients. This unit also includes:

  • Design development
  • Reflecting on the challenges to enhance your final concept plan
  • Preparing a rationale
  • Professional presentation techniques

Student Gallery

A sample of work completed by our talented garden design students

How Is The Course Run?

The 14 week course consists of a 8-week study period that covers each of the 8 subject units in the Diploma course, one unit per week. Also up to 4 ‘Independent Study’ weeks within the duration to allow students to complete assignments.

Study Week Course Schedule

Please Note: This is an intensive, fast-track course. If you are unable to commit to the course schedule, other study options are available.

Next Available Course Dates

International students (non-UK) – Please check the timings of each course in your country, using our handy Timezone Converter below. All courses are listed in UK (London) Timezone.
March to June Course
  • 11th March - 17th June
    10am - 12.30pm (UK Time)
    Wednesday & Monday
Morning
September to January Course
  • 16th September - 6th January
    10am - 12.30pm (UK Time)
    Wednesday & Monday
Morning
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A Recognised Qualification

Accreditation

At the National Design Academy, we fully believe in the importance of accreditation. After all, what value is there in investing time and money into a course if it doesn’t offer a recognized qualification? The Diploma course is accredited by AIM Qualifications, an independent accrediting body for UK courses, and is recognised globally. It offers a level-3 UK qualification that allows to you work as a professional garden designer or start your own garden design business.

UK residents pay approximately 50% course fees and funding from the UK government will pay the rest.

Online Fast-Track Diploma Course Fees

UK Students

Non-Funded
Course Fee £1,800
Less
UK Government Funding
NDA Funded Course Fee £1,200

There are two ways for UK students to pay for their Online Fast-Track Diploma:

One Payment

£ 1,200 On Enrolment
  •  
Most Popular

3 x Monthly Payments

£ 450 Per Month*
  • £1,350 in total
* Monthly payments include admin fee.

International Students

There are two ways for International students to pay for their Online Fast-Track Diploma:

One Payment

$ 2,425 ON ENROLMENT
  • Save $250 by paying in full
  • Limited spaces available!!

3 x Monthly Payments

$ 2,675 IN TOTAL*
  • $1,125 on enrolment
  • + 2 x $775 monthly payments

* Monthly payments include admin fee.

All International fees in US Dollars.

What Will I Need To Study?

Alongside a computer and an internet connection, there is also essential and recommended design equipment and resources required to complete your NDA Course, the majority are available through the online NDA Art Shop at student prices!

What's Next?

Higher Education

Successful completion of your NDA Diploma provides a guaranteed place on one of our online BA (Hons) degrees, such as BA (Hons) Design for Outdoor Living, with a generous Progression Scholarship. Degrees are validated by De Montfort University (DMU).

For those who wish to continue their study at an on campus university, all NDA Professional Diplomas carry a UCAS tariff point value. You can top up any existing UCAS points you may have with points from an NDA Diploma. 

Diploma in Professional Garden Design = 24 UCAS tariff points.

Careers

The NDA Diploma in Professional Garden Design is designed to help you start your own Garden Design business. Like the Diploma course itself, you can work flexibly for your clients around your family commitments and gradually expand your business.

Many of our Diploma students start their own business and study for their degree flexibly alongside their client projects.

Student Success Stories...

Ready to pursue your passion for Garden Design?

What Our Students Say...

Hear what past and present students have to say about studying at the NDA

Course Schedule

11th March to 17th June 2024

Induction Session

1 hour Live Online Induction to the Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) and to meet your course Tutor before study weeks begin.

Monday 11th March @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 1

Garden Design & the Role of the Designer

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 13th March @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 18th March @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 2

Garden Design Principles

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 20th March @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 25th March @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 3

Exploring Site Surveys & Drawing Plans

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 27th March @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study Week

Self-study to complete assignments
Week commencing 1st April

Study Week 3 Continued...

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 8th April @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 4

Space Planning & Garden Design Development in a Professional Context

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 10th April @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 15th April @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 5

Hard Landscaping, Furniture, Lighting & Accessories

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 17th April @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 22nd April @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 6

Planting Design

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 24th April @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 29th April @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 7

Professional Practice in Garden Design

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 1st May @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study Week

Self-study to complete assignments
Week commencing 6th May

Study Week 7 Continued...

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 13th May @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 8

Professional Garden Design Project

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 15th May @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 20th May @ 10am (UK Time)

Q&A Week 1

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Wednesday 29th May @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 3rd June @ 10am (UK Time)

Q&A Week 2

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Wednesday 5th June @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 10th June @ 10am (UK Time)

Course Completion

Final hand-in of assignments
Monday 17th June

Course Schedule

16th September 2024 to 6th January 2025

Induction Session

1 hour Live Online Induction to the Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) and to meet your course Tutor before study weeks begin.

Monday 16th September @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 1

Garden Design & the Role of the Designer

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 18th September @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 23rd September @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 2

Garden Design Principles

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 25th September @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 30th September @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 3

Exploring Site Surveys & Drawing Plans

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 2nd October @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study Week

Self-study to complete assignments
Week commencing 7th October

Study Week 3 continued...

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 14th October @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 4

Space Planning & Garden Design Development in a Professional Context

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 16th October @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 21st October @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 5

Hard Landscaping, Furniture, Lighting & Accessories

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 23rd October @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study Week

Self-study to complete assignments
Week commencing 28th October

Study Week 5 continued...

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 4th November @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 6

Planting Design

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 6th November @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 11th November @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 7

Professional Practice in Garden Design

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 13th November @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study Week

Self-study to complete assignments
Week commencing 18th November

Study Week 7 continued...

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 25th November @ 10am (UK Time)

Study Week 8

Professional Garden Design Project

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Wednesday 27th November @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 2nd December @ 10am (UK Time)

Q&A Week 1

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Wednesday 4th December @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 9th December @ 10am (UK Time)

Q&A Week 2

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Wednesday 11th December @ 10am (UK Time)

2.5 hour Live Online Q&A Session
Monday 16th December @ 10am (UK Time)

Independent Study & Winter Break

Self-study to complete assignments
Weeks commencing 23rd & 30th December

Course Completion

Final hand-in of assignments
Monday 6th January 2025

Course Timeline

3rd September to 20th January

Introduction Week

Course Introduction

2 hour Live Online Introduction Session
Tuesday, 3rd September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 1

Unit 01: Fabric Selection & Colour Theory

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 2

Unit 02: Estimation for Soft Furnishings

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 20th September @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 3

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 23rd September

Week 4

Unit 03: Window Treatments: Mitres, Hand-Stitching Techniques & Pattern Matching

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 1st October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 4th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 5

Unit 04: Lined & Interlined Curtain Construction

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 8th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 11th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 6

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 14th October

Week 7

Unit 05: Constructing Hand-Sewn Buckram Headers

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 22nd October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 25th October @ 10am (UK Time) 1pm (Dubai Time)

Week 8

Unit 06: Constructing Piped Crescent Tie-Back & Piped Cushion

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 29th October @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 1st November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 9

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 4th November

Week 10

Unit 07: Constructing a Roman Blind

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 12th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 15th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 11

Independent Study Break Week

Commencing Monday, 18th November

Week 12

Unit 08: Constructing Padded Pelmets

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 26th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 29th November @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 13

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Swags)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 3rd December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 6th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 14

Unit 09: Constructing Swags & Tails (Tails)

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 10th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
Friday, 13th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

Week 15

Unit 10: Setting-up a Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings Workroom

2.5 hour Live Online Tutorial
Tuesday, 17th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)

2.5 hour Live Q&A Session
*Thursday, 19th December @ 10am (UK Time) 2pm (Dubai Time)
*One day early due to office closure

Christmas Holidays

NDA Office Closed

20th December - 6th January

Week 16 & 17

Independent Study Break Week x2

Commencing Monday, 6th & 13th January

Week 18

Project hand-in

Monday, 20th January 2025

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