Announcing the World’s First Professional Online Garden Design Course

Online Garden Design Courses.

There's a lot misconception regarding the word online. Our new course is not a correspondence course you download from the web; it truly is online.

All lectures will be watched as on-line video tutorials. There will be interactive online exercises and students will talk to their tutors using web chat and classes will be given via webinars.
This is the closest you can get to being in the classroom attending the lectures in person!
Unlike other colleges, we have refused to offer a correspondence course in garden design as we didn’t believe you could teach art through the post.

Statistically only 3% of people who start a traditional correspondence course, finish them and most courses are little more than very expensive books with telephone support.

Our whole design program has been specially rewritten to make the best use of this new technology and consequently you benefit from a 50% increase in course content.

You will be allocated your own tutor and will follow the course timetable along side the other full time students, participating via the forum, online gallery, monthly webinars and with 1-2-1 tutor feedback.

Our interactive online garden design course is also available to existing classroom taught students, allowing them to revisit lecturers online all the time, as well as overseas students, or those unable to travel, giving them the next best thing to live studio lectures via interactive video tutorials delivered via the internet.

You will be able as listen to your lectures as many times as you wish so as to maximise your learning potential, and you will even be able to listen to the lectures on your iPod/phone/MP3 player while out and about or in the car.

Lectures will be time released to co-inside with the classroom taught program, so both online and face to face students will learn together.

You need to consider your online garden design course as a full time course, requiring a minimum of 25 hours of study a week.

Hand-in dates are strictly enforced. Student who fail to submit work on time are subject to the same rules and regulations as the full time students. (see terms and conditions)

All online material including tutored support is available to students for a period of 24 months from the course start date, after which students have the option a paying an annual subscription if you wish to maintain access to updated course content.

Next Course Start date
30th September 2010
Click here for further information


Carol’s Garden of the Month (January)

Anglesea Abbey01CR2

Well I am writing this with my PC perched on my lap staring out at a winter wonderland which some 3 weeks ago was my garden .  It is hard to imagine right now that it will ever re-emerge!

Certainly this snow and the icy temperatures will have taken their toll and present new challenges when it loosens its grip!!!!

So I confess that this month’s garden comes from good memories rather than a recent visit!!!

Would you be a better Landscape Designer if you were Dyslexic?


Like most people who find something difficult, I dislike writing intensely, but with my job, it’s an inevitability that has to be endured.

I must confess to being very Dyslexic.  I can’t spell for toffee; never could; and probably never will!

So why  am I so grateful to be dyslexic  and why would that make me a better designer?

First you have to ask your self, are you a left or right-brain person?

As an artist, you might think right, if you're an accountant, you might think left.

In reality, it's not really an either/or situation. Because each half of the brain tends to control certain kinds of thinking, its easy to categorise people as either one or the other.

Left Brain characteristics tend to be, Logical Sequential, Rational, Analytical, Objective.

While Right Brainers’ are considered Random Intuitive, Synthesizing, Subjective and Holistic

But while some people tend to use one side of the brain more than the other, the reality is that the two sides are dynamic and interactive.

When most of you are thinking and learning at your peak, you use your whole brain, switching freely between the halves.  Dyslexics however tend to favour the right side over the left.

Traditional education has been overly focused on left-brain modes of thinking. Logic, sequences, and rote learning have been pushed, and the more creative "big picture" has been marginalized.

This is true for design teaching as well and may account for the sorry state of most student end of year exhibitions. 

Look in most design/architecture books and you still see the old Survey, Analysis, Design or SAD method of teaching predominate.  SAD because it often produces  very SAD looking work .

At the Oxford College of Garden Design I teach the way I would have wanted to be taught myself. We study two styles of Design. The traditional SAD process and John Brookes’ Pattern Analysis.

Pattern Analysis is the polar opposite to SAD.  It looks at shape and pattern based on geometrical theory and allocates the paces and lines with different materials.

As a dyslexic designer i don’t think about space allocation but art and pattern.  I visualise the site as a whole, while creating a series on interlocking geometric shapes, then allocating each with one of the following materials: paving, lawn, water, or planting.

Pattern Analysis could easily be mistaken in the early stages of the design process, for a piece of modern art, such as that created by the 20th century French artist Mondrian. 

The following video is an series of extracts from some of our lectures on design.

You will see the importance of understanding pattern and how shapes link together. 

Finally we will reverse engineer two courtyard gardens to discover their underlying patterns and how they were created.

You may wish to watch the 800x600 version of this on Vimeo to fully appreciate the lesson

Please leave feed back here or feel free to ask questions.


Can People Find your Website? See our new video tutorial to maximise your business in 2010

At the Oxford College of Garden Design we believe good business is as important as good design, so from day one, we start preparing our student to set up and run their own design business (see DG700).

This video, (part of our new interactive online training program), is really useful, for anyone who wants to improve their web page rankings. Called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by following these simple steps you can significantly increase your web presence.  We explain why its important to blog, Twitter, and use social media like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.  

This is probably the most important video tutorial you will watch this year! so if you have found it useful please tell other people where to find it by clicking on one of the social networking links in the top right corner of this blog.


15 English Winter Gardens to See in 2010

Anglesea Abbey18CR2
1 Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire 
Has one of the best modern winter garden in the UK, planted in 1998, it takes you past a stunning array of white-stemmed birches, dogwoods, ghostly brambles (Rubus cockburnianus), Mahonias, Christmas box and Viburnums. Wed-Sun, 10.30am-4.30pm, closed December 21-30; £4.20/£2.10; 01223 810080,
2 Regent’s Park, NW1
Regent’s Park, which covers 410 acres and has a lake, formal and wildlife areas, woodland and open parkland. To its west is a winter garden with heathers and shrubs such as Viburnums and Cornus,. 5am-dusk; free; 020 7486 7905,
3 Thames Barrier Park, E16
The 22 acres of riverside gardens are a delight.. 7am-4.30pm; free; 020 7476 3741,