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Natural Garden Design
Natural Garden Design 100 Hours Certificate Course
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Learn About Natural Garden Design
Natural Garden Design Online Course
Become an expert at designing home gardens through the Natural Garden Design Online Course with ADL
After developing an understanding of the workings of natural environments you will learn to create innovative plans for low maintenance and visually pleasing gardens.
This online course in Natural Garden Design delivered via distance learning and studied from the comfort of your own home or indeed from anywhere, develops your ability to design beautiful gardens for your clients, using both native or a mixture of indigenous and other plants, in an imaginative and professional way.
Being a professional garden designer isn’t just about arranging plants in a symmetrical pattern to create a aesthetically pleasing garden. A true professional must know how to create different types of gardens for increasingly demanding customers, who look up design concepts on the internet and then want a garden designer to create something similar for them. Some customers will want the cottage look. Others the neat and tidy look and many will want a natural looking garden, where choosing the right plants which attract an abundance of wildlife and then complimenting it all with the use of ornamental features, will need to be taken into consideration.
This course has been developed over many years by garden design professionals with a wealth of experience to call upon, You can tap into their experience and help create a niche market for yourself by creating specifically themed gardens for discerning clients in your area. A very popular and sought after theme that you will be able offer from this course, is a rain forest garden, Add this and many other marketable garden design skills to your CV and areas of expertise with ADL’s Natural Garden Design Course.
Lesson Structure: Natural Garden Design BHT215
There are 8 lessons:
1 Introduction to Natural Gardens
- What is a Natural Garden?
- What is a Natural Wild or Bush Garden?
- Improving Soils
- Improving Drainage
- Improving Infiltration of Water into Soil
- Soil Mixes
2 History of Natural Gardens
- The History of Gardening
- Landscape Designers, Garden Designers and Landscape Architects
- Natural Gardening Approaches
- Organic Gardening
3 Developing Concept Plans
- Principles of Landscape Design
- Basic Principles
- Quality of the Components
- Creating Effects
- Pre-planning Information (included diagrams and plans)
- Design Procedure
4 Plants for Natural Gardens
- Basic Planning Procedure
- How to Build Raised Beds
- Plant Nutrition
- Propagation of Native Plants
- Four Main Seed Sources
- Understanding Cuttings
- Some Native and Natural Garden Plants for Temperate Climate Wild Gardens
- Some Native and Natural Garden Plants for Australian Native Gardens
5 Planting Design in Natural Gardens
- Natural Garden Planting Design
- Native Planting Design
- Aesthetic Criteria for Planting Design
- Procedures for Planting Design
- Plant Applications
- Natural Weed Control
- Invasive Plant/Plants which Take Over
- Plant Health
- Control of Problems
- Types of Natural Gardens
6 Natural Garden Features
7 Natural Gardens Today
- Considering Shaded Areas
8 Bringing It All Together
- Tips for Planning a Natural Garden
- Creating a Table of Advantages and Disadvantages
- Garden Size and Location
- Putting it all Together
- Using Plants
- Using Trees
- Foundation of the Garden
- Planning for Difference
Learning Goals: Natural Garden Design BHT215
- Explain the concept of natural, wild and bush gardens. Examine the influence of soil on plant grow
- Explain the history of natural, wild and bush gardens
- Prepare concept plans for different natural gardens
- Study the characteristics and how to cultivate native plants appropriate to a natural garden
- Plan the incorporation of appropriate plants into a natural garden design
- Plan the appropriate incorporation of non-living landscape features into a natural garden
- Understand means of attracting wildlife to modern natural gardens and other native plant choices
- Produce detailed plans for a natural garden
Practical (Set Tasks)
- 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:
- 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:
- Water features
- Describe the characteristics, including:
- 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.
Assessment is based on a combination of completing all assignments and sitting for a final short one and a half hour exam, in your own location.
If you don’t cope well with exams then you may elect to undertake a project instead. This is a popular option.
In addition, most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson placed before the assignment. This is an opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge and skills and practical experience. This ADL feature is an added bonus not found at most online schools. Set Tasks are not required for assessment.
Some courses also have optional Self-Tests which are available on our online learning platform. These are not available by correspondence or by USB, and do not form part of your overall grade.
How our courses work
- Choose Your Learning Method
You choose how you would like to receive your course material, i.e., Online, USB or Correspondence. The choice is yours. You may also work on online or offline.
- Tutor Allocation
Every student is assigned their own dedicated tutor who is an expert in their subject area. They provide as much or as little individual contact as you require. You can contact your tutor whenever you need – your hours are not limited.
- Feedback and Assignments
Tutor Feedback is an essential component in helping you understand the subject matter. Tutor feedback is given in the form of notes written on the assignment. We encourage you to contact your Tutor where help with clarification and understanding of course material may be required.
Your assignments are located at the end of each lesson. You submit them for marking whenever you are ready. There is no time limit.
- Set Tasks and Self-Tests
Most modules have a Set Task at the end of each lesson before for the assignment. This is where you get the opportunity to undertake practical work to help you acquire knowledge, skills and practical experience. Many modules also have short Self-Tests.
Once all assignments have been completed you may then elect to sit for a one and half hour exam in your own location. If you prefer not to take the exam you do have the option to undertake a project instead.
Once the exam or project part of the course is completed, your Certificate is then processed. Please allow approximately 4 weeks for this.
- Design Your Own Qualification
ADL offers students the flexibility to self-design their own qualification – bundling together a combination of 100-hour modules into a qualification higher than a certificate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here is a list of the most often asked FAQ’s.
Q. Why should I enrol with the Academy for Distance Learning?
A. Here at ADL, our students are our priority – we treat everyone as a unique individual.
Q. Do I need to buy text books?
A. No, as each module has been written by highly qualified industry professionals. The content of the material is presented in such a way that text books are not required. However, if you require additional reading your tutor will be able to supply a list.
Q. What happens if I have to stop studying for a while? (eg. become sick, go on holidays, have a baby, move house, etc)
A. It’s OK to take a break and start up your study at a later point in time. Just let us know.
Q. Is there an age limit?
A. There is no maximum age limit. We do however, have a minimum age limit of 18 years. Below that age parental consent would be required.
Q. Are your courses up-to date?
A. Our courses are revised and updated on a rotation system.
Q. Do you have a Cancellation policy?
A. Yes. We have a cancellation policy that is fair and equitable. For further details please click here.
Q. Will I have any opportunity to engage with other students?
A. We have a Student Community group based on facebook! If you don’t have a facebook account already, you could make one just for talking with fellow students on the group.
Q. When can I enrol/start?
A. You may enrol and start at any time of the year – it’s all self- paced.
Q. Can I study from anywhere in the world?
A. Our courses are available to anyone, anywhere in the world from the comfort of your own home. The course content is relevant to any country, culture or economy.
Q. How long do I have to complete the course?
A. You complete the course at any time that is convenient for you.
Q. Completing a 100 hour module – how long will it take?
A. For some students a 100 hour module will take approximately to 3- 6 months to complete. Others take less time and some even longer.
Q. Assessment – how does it work?
A. For each 100 hour module you are assessed by assignments (at the end of each lesson) and a final one and a half hour exam (or you may elect to complete a Project, instead of sitting the exam) – the choice is yours – you sit for the exam in your own location.
Q. I don’t cope well with exams – what can I do?
A. You may elect to undertake a Project (set by your tutor) instead of sitting the exam. Projects are completed from your home and can usually take a couple of weeks to complete.
Q. If my assignment is not up to standard is there an opportunity to resubmit my work?
A. Yes –
Q. How many assignments do I need to complete for each module?
A. At the end of each lesson, there is an assignment – so if a course has say, 10 lessons, there would be 10 assignments.
Q. I am having difficulty attending workshops/industry meetings, what can be done?
A. If your course requires attendance at workshops, conferences, or industry meetings; alternative arrangements can be made in your country.
Q. What qualification will I receive?
A. For individual modules, you would be awarded a Certificate endorsed by TQUK (Training Qualifications, UK), providing you complete all assignments and the exam. If you just want to complete only the assignments and not sit for the exam or finish a Project, then a Letter of Achievement would be awarded. For more details on qualifications available please click here.
Q. Can I customize my diploma/higher qualification?
A. Not all educational institution’s certificates /diplomas meet everyone’s needs. The opportunity to Design Your Own Diploma at the Academy (subject to our approval) is an added bonus, not found at other colleges. You choose modules that you think will help you in achieving your goal.
Q. What do I get when I complete the course? Will I receive a transcript?
A. At the completion of all courses and providing all assignments and exam requirements have been met, you will receive your Award and a Transcript.
Q. Our tutors – who are they?
A. We appoint Tutors and require that they must be currently active in their industry, with at least 5 years’ experience in their chosen profession.
Q. Can I contact my tutor at any time?
A. Yes – you have unlimited access to your tutor via email through our Online Classroom. You can always leave a message with ADL requesting your tutor to contact you. You decide on how much or how little contact you wish to have.
Q. Practical work – How is this done?
A. To find out more about this part of the course please visit the section on How Our Courses Work here.
The rainforest is commonly seen as one of the ultimate environments to duplicate in the garden. It can provide a home for native animals or provide you with a quiet, pleasant place to escape to. It is easily ‘constructed’ provided a few requirements are met to satisfy plant growth.
Protection from direct sunlight and strong wind and an abundant supply of mulch or leaf matter are three of the most important necessities for the establishment of a rainforest. Understandably, if you already have a shaded site it makes your rainforest garden one step closer to completion.
Many people do not realise it, but rainforest plants are very adaptable to the domestic garden.
Let us look at some of the good points of rainforest landscaping:
- Large rainforest trees that grow to heights exceeding 20 metres will only grow to about half that height in sunny domestic gardens.
- Full shade is not essential for rainforest trees as many will grow in full sun and others may require some shade while young. As a result these trees become more rounded with fuller canopies.
- Large areas are not essential to develop a rainforest – many people have successfully developed miniature rainforests on domestic sites. Any soil can be made suitable provided a bit of extra pre-planting preparation is performed. The better your soil is to begin with, the easier and quicker will be your established rainforest.
- With adequate compost or leaf-litter, water is retained better in the soil therefore less hosing will be required.
- There are several types of rainforests around the world ranging from tropical climates through to temperate ones, so no matter where you live; your climate can be assisted to produce a rainforest.
- Many rainforest plants are extremely easy to grow, so much so that many are used as indoor plants (e.g. Castanospermumaustrale) and others have been available throughout nurseries for decades (e.g. Archontophoenixalexandrae).
Constructing a Rainforest
A rainforest is made up of levels or strata of vegetation. These are generally referred to as the upper storey, middle storey and the lower storey (or ground covers). In a typical domestic garden it is important to realise that you should not plant rainforest species that can grow to 20m or those that have invading destructive roots like Umbrella trees. For many gardens those plants that would normally be classed as middle storey plants would be best used as the upper storey plants so that the rainforest landscape takes on a human scale.
Pioneer plants are usually fast growing with a spreading canopy. They are however relatively short-lived and may need removal at some later date. These plants are important by providing necessary shade and leaf litter which helps retain moisture and improves the organic matter content of the soil.
These plants also provide the essential shade for ferns and ground covers and protection for the slower growing species.
Climax plants are those plants that require some shade while young but which eventually outgrow the shade of the pioneer plants resulting in their deterioration. They are long-lived. These are planted after the pioneer plants are between 1 to 2 years old with variable spacing distances (e.g. 1.5m to 3m apart). A reasonable canopy can be developed in about 5 years depending upon species suitability to your climatic region.
Ground cover and other under-storey plants require plenty of shade and shelter. They are best planted after pioneer plants are well grown and climax plants are well established. These plants consist of mainly ferns, orchids, native lilies, gingers and small palms. These plants prefer moist but not waterlogged sites. As these plants are at eye height, you may wish to provide contrast to the all-green rainforest by adding colourful “tropical” plants. If however you are a purest, you may prefer to keep with only native ground covers.
Once established many rainforest are self-sustaining. These however are in districts that receive about 750mm p.a. of rainfall. In other areas, additional watering is recommended in dry times to prevent plant death.Hosing the canopy reduces transpiration (water loss from leaves) and also cleans the plants. The use of trickle or sprinklers will place the necessary water exactly where it is required.
This is an essential part of the rainforest that must be kept up in volume. Continual leaf fall may supplement this mulch but if the site is steep, new mulch may be needed to be added to overcome erosion or wash off. A layer of mulch provides a cool environment for the roots, a holder for moisture and a continual supply of mild fertiliser. Maybe more importantly it provides the home for countless microbes to make the ecosystem complete.
A balanced fertiliser can be spread over the area and watered in. Tropic fertiliser at a rate of 1 kg per 5m square applied 3 or 4 times over the year is frequently suggested. Blood and bone and pelletized manures are also suitable. Organically based fertilisers are the best for this ecosystem.
With adequate mulch and reduced light, few weeds will grow in the rainforest. As weeds compete for light, moisture and nutrients they are best pulled out upon sight or spot sprayed.
To obtain the succession of rainforest development and replacement of dead plants, future plantings may be necessary. Try not to transplant rainforest plants each season until a final site is decided – this only results in weak plants. Once a plant has been planted leave it there unless it is essential that it must be removed or transplanted.
Pests and Diseases
As this garden is to be an environmental aware garden, it is best not to use any toxic chemicals. Try to leave insects for their own predators. If possible manually collect insects or disease damage and destroy elsewhere. If sprays must be used consider the use of natural controls such as traps or organic sprays.
FAQ - RHS Theory Qualifications
If you require further details about any of the RHS industry recognised qualifications please, call one of our friendly RHS Course Advisors on +44 (0)1227 789 649 or email: [email protected]
Q: When can I Enrol/Start My RHS Course With ADL?
A: Anytime, Anywhere. There are no enrolment deadlines.
Q: I live Overseas. Can I Study From Overseas?
A: You can study any of the RHS theory qualifications overseas. All courses are offered in English. You will need to email RHS Qualifications direct to arrange sitting for your examination overseas.
Q: Is There a Time Limit for Completing an RHS Qualification?
A: At present there are no time limits. However, RHS is contemplating in the future, the introduction of course time-lines.
Q: Are There Any Entry Requirements (Pre-Requisites)?
A: The RHS Theory courses do not require prerequisites, previous experience or any knowledge of horticulture. You just need passion for all things horticulture.
Q: What Course Should I Start With First? I Am New To RHS Qualifications.
A: We highly recommend that you start with Level 2 – Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.
Q: What Does ADL Course Material Include?
A: Includes Power Point Presentations, Videos and written course lessons.
Q: When Do Exams Take Place?
A: Exams are held on fixed dates in February and June of each year. You should register as a candidate at least 3 months before these dates, so please do not leave exam registration to the last minute
Q: Where Do I Take My Exams?
A: UK: You take the exams at the RHS Wisley Centre, located between Cobham and Ripley in Surrey or at other authorised RHS centres around the UK.
Overseas: please email RHS qualifications direct for centre information.
Q: Exam Pass Marks?
A: Module – pass 50%. Commendation 70%.
Qualification: 50% pass for all modules.
Commendation awarded for all modules.
Each question carries a value of 10 marks.
Q: I’m Not Happy With My Exam Results?
A: You have the opportunity to re-sit your exam at the next opportunity.
There are no restrictions on the number of re-sits you can take. The highest mark you achieve will remain.,