Natural Garden Design

Learn to design a natural garden -100 hour landscaping course; bush, woodland, wild, low maintenance gardens

Course Code: BHT215
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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 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.

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 one 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.

 

  

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

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You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

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If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jacinda Cole (Horticulturist)

B.Sc., Cert.Garden Design. Landscape Designer, Operations Manager, Consultant, Garden Writer.
She was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up her own landscaping firm. She spent three ye

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

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 (c

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





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt.

Over 30 years of experience in horticulture, education and management, Yvonne has travelled widely within and beyond Europe and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.

Mitchell Skiller

Assoc. Dip. In Horticulture, Cert IV in Training and Assessment.

Mitchell has had over 25 year’s experience in the Horticultural Industry. He has held positions as a supervising horticulturist, landscaper, consultant, and a business owner growing cut flowers, specialising in tropicals.

Gaynor Hartley

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