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Diploma in Landscape Design   Home Study Program

You can earn your Diploma and become Qualified in Landscape and Garden Design while studying at home. Our Diploma program is fully comprehensive and offers the ideal training for a professional career, covering every aspect of landscape design clearly and thoroughly. In line with changes in the industry, we support and teach the full use of CAD for landscape design work.

The Aim of the Program

We are committed to training creative, confident and professionally superior Landscape Designers. On completion of your studies you will be entitled to use the letters Dip LD after your name and be fully competent to undertake the following tasks:

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What you will learn

The Diploma program covers every aspect of garden and landscape design as well as other topics concerned with the setting up and running of a professional landscape design and consulting business. You will learn everything a professional landscape designer needs to know.

Project Assessment
You will learn how to talk with the Client about their landscaping concerns, assess the potential of the site, ascertain the Client's needs, suggest the best course of action, and give a written quotation for design work.
Site Survey
You will learn to measure a site, including surveying ground levels, and use this data to draw an accurate and useful survey (base) plan.
Concept Plan
Showing a ‘birds eye’ view of the proposed design, this drawing is the starting point in the development of a new garden. You will learn to create exciting and functional designs and present them to your Clients as attractive Concept Plans.
Planting Plan
You will learn to design the perfect planting scheme to complement the new design. Preparing detailed planting plans and schedules are covered fully.
Hard Landscape Construction
You will learn about hard landscape construction and materials. This will enable you to design viable hardscapes and structures to enhance your designs.
Ground Contouring and Retaining
You will learn to recognize a site's greater potential through re-contouring, and how to produce concept plans detailing the new ground levels, including retaining walls.
Running a professional design and consulting business
You will learn all the aspects of running your own business in a professional manner. This includes dealing with Clients, effective communication, getting new business, industry protocols, working to a Client's budget, bidding and tendering, and writing technical specifications.

And so much more as well.

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How long does it take?

Especially designed for home study, the diploma program consists of 21 modules and can be realistically completed in less than a year. Assignments vary in complexity and length. Some need only a few hours work, while others, such as the three real design projects will take longer. It is recommended that at least 10 to 12 hours per week be set aside for this program.

Even if you have a full time job or a busy lifestyle, you should be able to complete 1 or 2 modules a month. While many students complete the entire program in less than 1 year, you have a full
18 months to complete the program.

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Program Content

This is a brief outline of the main topics included in the program. The course material is intensive and highly informative with many pictures and diagrams used to illustrate concepts. You will be taught and encouraged to think and solve problems.

  • 21 intensive, information-packed study modules covering all aspects of professional landscape design
  • 21 highly relevant, hands-on assignments reflecting the actual work done by landscape designers
  • 4 full, real-life landscape design projects (no installation is required for any projects)
  • several small garden design projects (no installation is required)
  • continual assessment and feedback to keep you informed of your progress
  • a free CAD course to quickly get your CAD skills up to speed (for those using the recommended CAD software)

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The Study Modules

  1. Course Overview; The Design Process; Analyzing a Site; Discovering the Client's Needs
  2. Classification and Naming of Plants; Plants and Soil
  3. Drawing to Scale; Geometric drawing
  4. Site Surveying – theory and practical
  5. The Drawing Sheet; Drawing techniques
  6. Zoning Diagrams and Functional Placement; Origins of the Modern Garden
  7. Design Principles & Design Development part 1; Major Design Project
  8. Design Principles & Design Development part 2
  9. Solving Site Problems; Garden Styles and Themes; Function and Safety
  10. Surveying ground levels - theory and practical
  11. Elevations, Cross-sections and Working Drawings
  12. Portraying planting in your drawings; Major Design Project
  13. Planting design; Color theory; Shape and Texture
  14. Designing a Border; How to choose the Right Plants; The Planting Plan
  15. Hard Landscaping Material; Working with Existing Levels; Drainage
  16. Water Features, Pools and Ponds; Paving and other Horizontal Surfaces
  17. Introduction to Timber Construction; Steps and Ramps; Walls; Fences and Screens
  18. Decorative Structures and Garden Buildings; Using Trees, Shrubs, Hedges, Vines
  19. Natural Habitat Gardens; Eco-friendly Design; Major Design Project
  20. Small Gardens and Theme Gardens; Functional Planting; Irrigation, Lighting and Accoutrements; Estimating Installation Costs for Budgetary Purposes
  21. Business Procedures; Documents and Contracts; the Client-Designer-Contractor Relationship; Specification Writing; The Bidding Process; Project Facilitation; Costing your Design Services; Getting your Business Started; Promoting your Business; Final Design Project

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Landscape Design with CAD

Our Diploma in Landscape Design program requires the use of CAD for the production of landscape drawings and plans.

Using CAD to produce landscape design plans increases productivity by making drawings quicker to produce and easier to change. Most employers prefer that their landscape designers are CAD proficient.

Those new to CAD should use the recommended CAD software. If you already know how to use CAD then you can use any suitable CAD software you choose. The recommended CAD software, DraftSight by Dassault, is currently available free of charge from the makers, but this availablility should be confirmed before enrolling.

Our Diploma program also includes a free CAD training course written especially for the recommended CAD software. The lessons instruct you how to use the software step-by-step, as you learn how to design landscapes and gardens professionally. A reasonable level of computer competency is expected.

Computer requirements

To run the CAD program you must have one of the following:

PC with Windows 8 (64 bit)

PC with Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit)

Mac (64 bit)

Some ‘mini net books’ may not be able to run CAD programs.


To view part of a landscape plan (PDF format) produced with CAD click the link below. Please allow a few seconds for the file to open. Best viewed at 100% zoom.

View CAD plan ...

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