Natural Garden Design

Course CodeBHT215
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
  

Design Natural Gardens, Bush Gardens, Sustainable Landscapes.

  • Learn to design all types of natural gardens
  • Develop your ability to design a bush garden (totally native, or using a mixture of both indigenous and other plants).
  • Start a business, get a job, or learn to create a great garden for your own property
  • 100 hr, self paced course, for landscape professionals or students training to work in landscaping.

"Natural Gardens are popular both because they can require less maintenance, and because they create a more "relaxed" ambience. It today's fast paced world; the natural garden has become very popular. This course shows you how to create all types of natural gardens, from woodlands and rainforests, to xerophytic landscapes. Over more than 20 years, I've seen many a person take this course, and go on to a very successful career in landscaping"   -John Mason Dip.Hort.Sc. FAIH, FIOH, FPLA, garden author and landscape magazine editor, garden designer and principal of ACS.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Natural Gardens.
  2. History of Natural Gardens
  3. Developing Concept Plans
  4. Plants for Natural Gardens
  5. Planting Design in Natural Gardens
  6. Natural Garden Features
  7. Natural Gardens Today
  8. Bringing It All Together.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain the concept of natural gardens.
  • Prepare concept plans for different natural gardens.
  • Plan the incorporation of appropriate plants into a natural garden design.
  • Plan the appropriate incorporation of non-living landscape features in a natural garden.
  • Produce detailed plans for a natural garden.

What You Will Do

  • Explain the historical development of natural garden design, in your locality.
  • Analyse plant inter-relationships within a specific natural environment (e.g. an area of bushland).
  • Analyse the design of three natural gardens, in an essay illustrated with photographs or sketches.
  • Explain, using illustrations, concepts of landscape design, showing their relevance to natural garden design, including:
    • Unity
    • Balance
    • Proportion
    • Harmony
    • Contrast
    • Rhythm
    • Line
    • Form
    • Mass
    • Space
    • Texture
    • Colour
    • Tone.
  • Develop three alternative natural garden concept plans for the same specified site.
  • Collect pre-planning information for a site for a proposed natural garden, by conducting a site survey, and interviewing a prospective client.
  • Explain, through a sequence of illustrations, a logical process of developing a design for a natural garden, on a specific site surveyed by you.
  • Prepare concept plans for two small natural gardens, including: *A rainforest garden *A sclerophyll garden.
  • List fifty different plants suitable for use in a natural garden design, of a specific style on a specified site, in your locality.
  • Explain compatibility considerations, when selecting different plants to include in the same natural garden design.
  • Develop a nursery customer information sheet, to provide guidelines for planting design of a natural garden.
  • Prepare a plant collection of fifty relevant plants, which includes:
    • A photo, drawing or pressed specimen of each plant
    • Plant names (scientific and common)
    • Cultural details
    • Uses/applications in garden design.
  • Prepare planting designs for three different styles of low maintenance garden beds, between 30 and 60 square meters each in size, and using only Australian Native plants.
  • Explain design options for six different landscape features in a natural garden, including:
    • Rockeries
    • Patios
    • Water features
    • Paths.
  • Describe the characteristics, including:
    • Cost
    • Availability
    • Longevity
    • Appearance
    • Maintenance, of ten different landscape materials, suited for use in a natural garden design.
  • Design a water feature for a natural garden, incorporating:
    • Concept drawings
    • Materials list
    • Cost estimates
    • Guidelines for construction.
  • Explain, using illustrations, the structural design of a masonry garden wall.
  • Explain, using illustrations, different appropriate applications for timber structures in a natural garden design.
  • Prepare plans, including structural diagrams and materials lists, for the construction of three different landscape features, which are appropriate for inclusion in a natural garden.
  • Develop a design "Brief" for a natural garden, in consultation with a client, through an interview and site inspection.
  • Design a natural garden of 200 to 500 square metres, including:
    • A landscape plan drawn on tracing paper, or an electronic file
    • Materials specifications, including types and quantities, to suit a site surveyed by you, and emphasising one type of plant, such as ferns, wildflowers or sclerophyll type plants.
  • Prepare a detailed professional standard plan for a natural garden of 500 to 2000 square metres, to an acceptable industry standard for a professional garden designer, which includes:
    • A landscape plan
    • Materials specifications, including types and quantities.
  • Explain the purpose behind decisions made by you in a natural garden designed by you.

Don't forget to ask for help if you need it - Click on the 'Talk to an Expert' box (at the end of this page) to get in touch with our academic staff  - they can advise you and make sure that you are enrolling in the best course for you!

What is a Natural Garden? 

The term Bush Garden is widely used in Australia and in Africa; the term Wild Garden is most often used elsewhere in the world.

Essentially a bush garden is a type of natural garden which is informal in style and attempts to recreate the appearance of a natural or bush area. Strictly speaking, a bush garden should use combinations of plants which occur together in the natural landscape.  In other areas of the world, the term wild garden will reflect the same concepts. 
For example, in Australia a Eucalypt which occurs naturally close to Sydney should not be planted alongside a Banksia which is exclusively native to Western Australia. 
 
In Britain, a Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry or whortleberry), which is common on the northern moors of England, should not be planted alongside Vaccinium microcarpum (small cranberry) which is limited to bogs in central Scotland. 

In reality, it is common to mix plants which do not come from the same area in natural, bush and wild gardens. For example, Papaver rhoeas (field poppy/Flanders poppy) is now naturalised virtually all over the world although it originates from the Central Asia. This will create a wilderness atmosphere. A natural garden can have Chinese, European, American and Australian plants, all together; however, such a garden is more difficult to create than one which copies the plant associations which occur in nature.

When plants are combined in the way in which they occur naturally, it is reasonable to assume that none of them will compete with each other too strongly (i.e. they should grow in harmony and not choke each other out of existence).  When plants which do not occur naturally together, are planted together, it is possible that some will be much stronger growing varieties than others, and that some will gradually gain dominance, while others will find it harder to compete and eventually disappear.

In the United States the best example of a naturalistic style is the prairie. Much of the original prairie has disappeared, but now parts of it are being restored to its original beauty.  The prairie may be considered to be somewhat similar to the native bush-land in Australia.
 

 


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  Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
  John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
  Maggi Brown

Maggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
  Gavin Cole

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own landscaping firm. He spent three years working in our Gold Coast office, as a tutor and writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine) which we produced monthly for a Sydney punlisher between 1999 and 2003. Since then, Gavin has contributed regularly to many magazines, co authored several gardening books and is currently one of the "garden experts" writing regularly for the "green living" magazine "Home Grown".