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Biophilic Design and Landscaping 100 Hours Certificate Course


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Biophilic Design and Landscaping 100 Hours Certificate Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BHT343
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Biophilic Design and Landscaping 100 Hours Certificate Course

Biophilic Design and Landscaping creates a perceived safer and welcoming environment, which has a positive psychological effect on how people feel and their general well-being. Interior and exterior Biophilia introduces nature to man-made constructions, such as shopping centers, plus town and city squares and walkways. A good example of Biophilic Landscaping is the New York High-line.

Environmental factors like traffic noise in cities only become a problem when people think of it as a nuisance and become stressed-out by it. Therefore, rather than seeking to plan traffic noise out, which would be a tall order indeed,  Biophilic Designers can use landscaping to make it less obtrusive and noticeable, for example with tall shrubs and trees, or with pleasant alternative noises such as trickling water from a fountain.

As Governments and Councils become more aware of the correlation between the population's environment and their mental and physical health, the need for an Urban Green Infrastructure can only increase, as will the need for suitably qualified and knowledgeable Biophilic Landscaping Professionals with the skills to bring buildings to life.

The online course in Biophilic Landscaping will give you an invaluable insight into how to create biophilic spaces. It will enable landscapers, environmental health professionals, architects, planners, health service providers, civil engineers, builders and others, to take the impact of how building nature into built up areas affects peoples well-being, into account during the inception of a project. Those who would benefit from taking this expertly designed course therefore, includes those involved in designing and constructing:

  • Cities and towns
  • Home gardens
  • Industrial landscapes
  • Parks and other open spaces
  • Rural landscapes
  • Shopping Centers and other public or private indoor areas
  • Urban areas

Biophilic Landscaping will also sit well with ADL's courses in: Landscape Construction, Green Walls and Roofs and Healthy Buildings, plus a useful addition to you CV for those completing the RHS courses in Garden Design.

The picture of the New York High-line walkway on the right shows how biophilic landscaping can be used in urban areas, to make a previously unattractive structure interesting and restful to walk along, perhaps during someone's lunch-time break or a Sunday afternoon stroll for families.



Learning Goals: Biophilic Landscaping
  1.     Discuss the relationship between physiological and psychological health and outdoor environments.
  2.     Determine the important biophilic factors which should be considered when designing or renovating an outdoor space.
  3.     Explain different principles and patterns which have been identified as underpinning biophilic landscape design.
  4.     Describe how a range of elements of an urban landscape can contribute in a positive way to human well-being.
  5.     Describe how different landscaping techniques and methods can be utilised to benefit human well-being by encouraging use of public spaces.
  6.     Evaluate the relationship between the health of individuals and different environments, and how biophilic design can be of benefit to wellbeing.
  7.     Evaluate landscapes and determine actions that can be taken to improve the environmental conditions of people in those places.
  8.     Understand how to assess and analyse existing landscapes.
  9.     Redesign a landscape to meet biophilic requirements for a renovation of an existing landscape
  10.     Create a design to show how an urban (town or city) location may be improved to meet biophilic criteria.


Lesson Structure: Biophilic Landscaping

There are 10 lessons in this course:

1  Relationship between Outdoor Environments and Human Well-being

  • Introduction
  • Health problems and Biophilic Design
  • Health benefits of Biophilic Design
  • Terminology explained

2  Design Considerations

  • Introduction
  • Learning from past mistakes
  • Good Biophilic Design

3  Patterns and Principles in Urban Design

  • Introduction
  • Design principles
  • Design patterns
  • Terapin bright green criteria
  • Relationship to health
  • Application of patterns

4  Components of the Landscape

  • Introduction
  • Hard landscape components
  • Soft landscape components
  • The relationship between health and design components
  • Some natural components in more detail

5  Providing Services to People

  • Introduction
  • Five principles of healthy places
  • Water harvesting, retention and reuse

6  Affecting the Individual

  • Introduction
  • Biophilia in different environments
  • Conclusions for biophilic design

7  Affecting Environmental and Climate Conditions

  • Introduction
  • Water contaminants
  • Using plants to extract contamination
  • Biological filters for water polution and waste water
  • Air quality
  • Roof and wall gardens to improve air quality and aesthetics
  • Plant selection
  • Construction of vertical and roof gardens
  • Plants suited to roof and vertical gardens
  • Bromeliads
  • Succluents
  • Hardy groundcovers
  • Xerophytes

8  Assessing and Analyzing Existing Landscapes

  • Introduction
  • Assessing the landscape
  • Measuring pollutants
  • Creating buffer zones for pollution
  • Designing a new home garden using biophilic design principles
  • Simple design procedure

9  Integrating Biophilic Design into Existing Landscape

  • Introduction
  • Retrofitting grren walls and roofs
  • Redevelopment of public institutions
  • Water chemistry of run-off
  • Some solutions to improve water quality of runn-off and recycled water in the biophilic context
  • Reducing the use of pest control chemicals in gardens

10 Working in/ Improving Urban Development

  • Introduction
  • Challenges for design
  • Working in urban development

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.


The quality of this course is second to none, from the in-depth learning you will get to the expert individual mentoring you will receive throughout your studies. The mentors for this course are: 
bunch of yellow rosesSusan Stephenson
BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 
Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.
Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.
In 2010, Susan authored a complete module for a Foundation degree (FDSC) in Arboriculture.
Susan holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.
Steven WhitakerSteven Whitaker
Diploma in Garden Design (Distinction) – The Blackford Centre, Gold Certificate of Achievement in Horticulture, Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture, Level 1 NOCN Introduction to Gardening, – Joseph Priestly College, BTEC Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations (Merit), Trainer Skills 1, & 2, Group trainer, Interview and Selection Skills – Kirby College of Further Education
Steven has a wealth of Horticultural knowledge, having ran his own Design and Build service, Landscaping company, and been a Head Gardener. His awards include five Gold awards at Leeds in Bloom, two Gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom and The Yorkshire Rose Award for Permanent Landscaping. Steven has worked with TV’s Phil Spencer as his garden advisor on the Channel 4 TV Programme, “Secret Agent”. 
He is qualified to Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture and has a Diploma in Garden Design which he passed with Distinction. Steven’s Tutor and Mentor was the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Award-winning Garden Designer, Tracy Foster. He also works for a major Horticultural Commercial Grower in the field of Propagation and Craft Gardening. Steven lives in Leeds where he is a Freelance Garden Designer and Garden Advice Consultant. 



Understanding more about human behaviour, health and mental health is important when looking at urban design. Each component in a design can have implications for our health. Kellert and Calabrese (2015) give examples of how components can be used as direct experience of nature, indirect experience of nature, and experience of space and place.

Direct Experience of Nature


Our daily cycles, or circadian rhythms, are attuned with daylight. We have evolved as a species to orient ourselves to day length and the changes in seasons according to the sun's cycles. Natural light in the environment can be used to help us with movement and finding our way. It also helps us to feel relaxed. It's perhaps why deprivation of light has been used as a punishment or torture technique because when devoid of natural light we become disorientated and confused.     

In the landscape natural light can be used to highlight shapes and natural patterns we find attractive. There are also options for using filtered light through positioning of trees and plants, and also manipulating shadows created form objects. Light can be reflected better of some surfaces than others. Some types of lighting, e.g. LCD, offer a very similar experience to daylight.  


We need good ventilation to make us feel comfortable. A lack of ventilation causes the air to feel stuffy and makes people unable to breathe. Outdoors, ventilation is not needed but the air if polluted will be very unpleasant. Screening with plants can help. Indoors, air flow can be enhanced by opening windows, use of ventilation bricks in exterior walls, and other methods. This will help people in work environments to perform better.

Water has been a part of built landscapes since the earliest 'oasis' gardens were created in the Middle East. Water provides a sense of wellbeing because of its association with life. All life relies on water whether directly or indirectly. The presence of water is known to relieve stress and enhance perceived levels of satisfaction.

Water has its best effect on our sense of wellbeing when it is seen to be clean and clear. Also, moving water helps to stimulate our senses. When water is used to stimulate more than one sense, e.g. sight and sound from moving water, its effects can be cumulative.


The effects of vegetation on our health are many and varied. It promotes physical wellbeing, reduces stress, has a calming effect, enhances performance, promotes better concentration and increases productivity.

The benefits of vegetation work best when it fits with the local environment and is present in more than just isolated clumps.


Humans have evolved around other animals and creatures since time immemorial. Along with plants they are an obvious reminder of the natural world. Pets are known to be beneficial to their owners for their therapeutic value. Grooming an animal can reduce stress. Animals in outdoor environments can impart a similar benefit to plants. Of course, some animals can instil a sense of fear and may not be desirable, or at least not by all people.

Although it is not always easy to include animal life in built environments there are ways to encourage it. Besides the presence of plants and natural ecosystems, animals can be attracted by incorporating things like bird or bat boxes, bee hotels, and ponds. Beneficial effects may be greater when contact with animals is regular rather than occasional.     

Like our awareness of the seasons, we have evolved as a species with awareness of changing weather, and it has shaped how we respond to it. Direct experience of weather is stimulating. It can be very exhilarating e.g. basking in warm sunshine or standing under a rain shower.  Indoors or in garden structures, natural changes in weather can be simulated through changes in airflow, temperature and humidity. All sorts of outdoor parts of buildings can be used to provide experience of the weather e.g. balconies and roof gardens. Views of the skyline and skylights can also bring the weather into direct experience.  
Natural Landscapes and Ecosystems

People enjoy any sort of natural scenery. It promotes all the benefits associated with plants and animals. However, when the landscape is more natural this is even more preferable. In particular, it has been found that savannah type settings are most beneficial. That is, where there is a tree canopy, understory shrubs, rocks, water, animals, etc. If the scene is observed to be a diverse ecosystem, then this adds a further level of enjoyment.

A variety of self-sustaining ecosystems can be constructed in the built environment. These include things like rainforest gardens, woodland gardens, wetland gardens, and so forth.


In humans fire can stimulate anxiety. This is exemplified by building fires or out of control bushfires, for example.  However, fire can also bring comfort. It is used to cook food and provide warmth during cold evenings.  

In the built environment fire may be created from hearths, fireplaces and stoves. Fire can also be simulated using light and movement. Outdoors fire can be provided through barbecues, fire pits and bonfires.
Indirect Experience of Nature

Images of Nature

Besides directly experiencing natural components in the landscape, indirect experiences gained through images can be just as psychologically and physiologically satisfying. Images may be of plants, animals, whole landscapes or other natural elements. There are all kinds of ways to this, such as via paintings, murals, sculptures, photographs, mosaics, or others. Using designs and patterns in architecture is also said to impact positively on people’s psychological health; it isn’t just a shrub or tree that impacts positively. Examples of artwork or designs on buildings can be seen extending back centuries e.g. in Arabic, Greek, Roman culture and even ancient civilisations (e.g. rock art).

Natural Materials

Materials which are natural or perceived as being natural invoke a sense of mastery of survival when we look at them. We have worked with natural materials throughout evolution. Natural materials stimulate our senses. Visually they look attractive. We often want to feel them and often enjoy their textures.  All sorts of natural materials can be used in both exterior and interior environments. Examples include: straw, wood, stone, clay, cotton, wool, linen and leather. Natural materials can be used for furniture, furnishings, pots, fountains, and structures.  
Natural Colours

Natural colours help us to find our way around landscapes and encourage movement. They help us to distinguish food on plants, and identify animals. Colours like green tend to have a calming effect on our dispositions.

The most favourable natural colours are those which are quite earthy looking - browns, greys, and greens i.e. those which most accurately represent the natural environment. Bright and gaudy colours are best avoided or used sparingly so they replicate natural scenes like the blooming of flowers in a meadow. Sharply contrasting colours can be too stimulating and some colours may look vulgar together.
Information Richness

Natural environments are abundant in information. They provide us with great variation colours, shapes, sizes, textures, movement, and so forth.  The stimulation provided by this great diversity imparts in us a positive sense of wellbeing.  

This level of information richness can also be provided in built environments and simulated landscapes, so long as it is not haphazard but all the components complement one another.
Age, Change, and the Patina of Time

In the natural world, nothing remains the same. Trees grow and die, rocks become exposed from the earth and tiny lichens grow on them, the edges of a lake recede, and land is eroded. These sorts of change associated with aging and the never-ending forces of nature instil in us a sense of awe about how nature adapts. However, it works best when coupled with a sense of stability. In the landscape, the inclusion of naturally aging materials such as wood can replicate this natural phenomenon.    

Natural Geometries

There are many naturally occurring mathematical properties found in nature. These include things like representations of the Fibonacci sequence, the Golden Ratio, recurring patterns, and hierarchies of scale. These geometrical patterns remind us of nature and impart a sense of contentment and relaxation.   


Bio-mimicry refers to imitating the forms and forms and functions which occur in the natural world. It is particularly applicable to other species. The more we learn about them, the more we can mimic them in our built environments. The answers to many of our engineering problems can be found by making direct observations of nature. For example, the climate control used by termites in their mounds has been imitated in an office complex in Harare, Zimbabwe.   
When we incorporate these non-human functions or forms into our own technology it not only benefits us as a species but it also stimulates our admiration for nature.

Experience of Space and Place

Prospect and Refuge
During our evolution we have come to recognise opportunities and dangers in the natural landscape. Humans have had to do this to survive. Elements of a landscape which provide refuge are seen as safe and secure. Those which provide prospect afford long uninterrupted views.  
The presence of prospect and refuge in the built environment provide both function and self-satisfaction. Inside buildings they can be achieved through providing windows with distant views, having a connection between inside and outdoors, having sheltered space with outward views, and so forth. Outdoors, they can be achieved through the positioning of vistas, archways framing distant views, gazebos, and so on.

Organised Complexity

We get great satisfaction from organised complexity in our environments. Whether built or natural, complexity in the form of different options and possibilities is stimulating. However, if it is perceived as being disorganised or chaotic it is more likely to cause us to feel stressed.
Integration of Parts to Wholes

We tend to have a preference for wholes rather than parts of things in the landscape. Gestalt psychologists would say "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts." In the built environment this can be satisfied through linking components together. A built landscape could have garden rooms for example which follow on from one another in a unified theme. Some sort of focal point, e.g. a central arch or fountain, can also be used to unite different spaces. 

Transitional Spaces

People have a need to understand the connections from one area to another. We have evolved to interpret the environment as a continuum of interconnecting spaces and we use transitions from one space to the next to help us move around the environment. When applied to interiors, buildings have demarcated entrances, hallways, reception rooms, etc. In exteriors, we may have roadways, gateways, fence lines, paths, boundaries, etc.  

Mobility and Way-finding

In any environment, must be able to find their way around comfortably. This adds to our sense of enjoyment of the space. It is particularly important for more complex spaces. Landscapes which are not well set out can cause confusion to users, and ultimately stress and anxiety. People like to explore but they don't like to get lost. Landscape components can be used appropriately to help delineate areas and guide people. In a public space, well positioned and clearly signed footpaths will help.  

Cultural and Ecological Attachment to Place

We all have a sense of place, and we like a 'place to call home'. Indeed, some social commentators argue that without it societies become disconnected and disintegrate. Without any attachment people don't take pride in, or nurture, their environment.     

Culture and ecology can be used to promote a sense of attachment. Culture can be reflected through designs which depict cultural values e.g. through basketry, mosaics, bonds in brickwork, paintings, etc. Ecology is mostly reflected through the use of indigenous plants species, local fauna, and ways of mimicking the local climate.  An emphasis on local culture and ecology also helps people to foster greater awareness of their local resources and build stronger attachments to them.





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