A well landscaped garden can add 10 % or more to the value of your property.

If you design and build it right, your investment in time and money will be far less than that 10%; but unless you know what you are doing; it is easy to waste both time and money and end up with a poor quality garden that neither serves your needs or is a wise investment.

If you are new to landscaping; you should either take the time to learn and plan; or employ a professional to at least design and advise on your garden project.

Most new home owners probably can’t have everything they want in a garden immediately, so they will need to decide what the priorities are:

  • A functional garden, ie. a garden that is used a lot – perhaps for outdoor play for kids, for growing vegies and fruit, or for entertaining.
  • A very attractive garden – this is likely to cost more to set up and maintain, and will almost certainly require a high degree of maintenance.
  • A low maintenance garden – this needs a lot of forethought, do it right and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.
  • A low cost garden – bargain plants can often be found at weekend markets, also look for discounted stock at nurseries. Inexpensive landscaping materials can be found at demolition yards, tip shops and in the classifieds of your local paper.

What type of garden is most important to you? To achieve any one of these things will usually mean compromising the others.

Also decide on the style of the garden. Do you want a formal or informal garden? Do you have a preference for a particular theme, eg. Oriental, Mediterranean, bush garden? How will it suit the style of your house, and how much will it cost to set up and maintain?

If you want to learn, consider either reading credible and good books; or doing a course.



This course is designed to teach you how to design (or renovate), and maintain, a home garden. It is suitable both for beginners and for experienced gardeners who want to develop a solid understanding of the principles and procedures underlying the design and development of garden areas. 


  • Understand the design procedure and the principles of landscape design
  • Develop knowledge of garden styles through history and apply this to your own designs
  • Develop skills in graphical techniques for plan drawing
  • Develop knowledge of soil properties and their relevance to home horticulture
  • Understand the principles and practices of basic landscape construction
  • Develop knowledge of pests and weeds, and their management in home horticulture
  • Develop skills in planting and pruning for home gardens
  • Develop knowledge of lawns and surfaces appropriate to home landscaping
  • Develop knowledge of landscape furnishings and other features appropriate for home gardens
  • Utilise skills developed during this course to develop a landscape design for a home garden


There are ten lessons in this unit as follows:

1.       Designing Gardens

            - the basics of design concepts through to understanding how to use them.

2.       Styles of Gardens

            - formal, informal, natural, and other themes.

3.       Drawing Plans ‑Designing Gardens

            - learn how to draw basic landscape features and garden designs.

4.       Understanding Soils

            - clays, loams, sands - how to identify them and treat them for better plant growth.

5.       Basic Landscape Construction

            - what is involved to build basic structures like steps, walls, paths, etc.

6.       Weeds & Pests

            - how to identify and treat garden weeds and pests.

7.       Planting and Pruning

            - techniques to plant, prune and care for garden plants.

8.       Lawns, paving and other surfacing

            - care for various surfaces

9.       Garden Features

            - how to select and use garden features in a landscape.

10.  Developing "YOUR" Garden - Special Project


  • Find a site to be landscaped and record pre planning information required to design the landscape; 
  • Photograph or sketch a plant of three gardens representing three different styles, and discuss any historical influences on the design;
  • Using the pre planning information collected earlier, produce a design for an un-landscaped area;
  • Test the drainage of a soil sample and comment;
  • Explain how you can tell if a plant is suffering a nitrogen deficiency;
  • Contact your state government's forestry department to discover what timbers are suitable for different uses in landscaping, what timbers need treatment with preservatives and which do not; 
  • Draw a design for detailed construction of some garden structure) and describe how you would go about building and installing the structure in a landscape;
  • Explain the difference between a systemic pesticide and a contact pesticide;
  • List the plants in your garden which require regular pruning, and how and when you would prune each;
  • Contact several quarries in your area to find what is available and the prices;
  • Draw a sketch plan of a site in your garden and a plan for a garden bed on that site;
  • Prepare a full landscape plan (including plant lists) for developing your garden.
  • For each lesson, prepare plant review sheets with descriptions of 6 different plants.

Click here for more details or to enrol.