Postgraduate Diploma Home Study

Develop an in-depth understanding of garden design skills and principles to set up your own garden design business.

Start Date

Can be started at any time


€1,732 (Easy-pay plan available)


Approximately 9 months

Work Placement

Graduates of this course are eligible for a one month work placement with a garden design company. All placements are made in the Dublin and Cork areas.

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Study Option
Home Study
Course Level
Comparable to level 6 on the NFQ
Entry Requirements
18 years old or over
15 practical assignments
The Garden Design Academy of Ireland is recognised by the International Approval and Registrations Centre (IARC).

Completing this course will enable you to start your own successful garden design business by honing your skills to plan, present and manage your own design projects.

Designed around 15 practical assignments, you will incrementally develop the advanced techniques and deep understanding of the industry that you need to succeed as a garden designer.

As a home study student you will have full access to our student area, the Online Learning Centre, which contains course material created by industry experts including: instructional videos, written content and assignments.

Our tutors provide all the support, knowledge and in-depth feedback you need to progress through your course and are always contactable through the Online Learning Centre.

This course can be completed in approximately 9 months*.

*Completion time is based on the approximate time it has taken past students to complete the course. Students have up to 36 months to complete the course.

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The list below provides an overview of the topics covered in this course.

    • History of Garden Design

    An in-depth look at the history of garden design, covering the ways in which gardens evolved through time and how this influences the way we design today. You will learn about:

    • Mesopotamia
    • Egypt
    • Persia (Iran) & The Persian Empire
    • Greece
    • The Roman Epoch
    • India
    • China
    • Japan
    • Spain
    • Monastery and Castle Gardens
    • The Italian Renaissance
    • The French Tradition
    • English Traditions
    • Principles of Garden Design

    From plant selection to selecting colour schemes, this topic covers the principle components that form the garden designers craft. You will learn about:

    • Balance and Proportion
    • Unity and Repetition
    • Movement or Rhythm
    • Contrast
    • Colour
    • Focal Points
    • Simplicity
    • Know your Materials
    • The Seven Principles of Plant Selection
    • The Elements

    Take an in-depth look at some of the most important elements within a professionally designed garden. From outdoor floors to garden themes, this topic deals with many of the most important elements you will require when designing your outdoor rooms. You will learn about:

    • Path and Patio Planning
    • Decks
    • Living Floors
    • Lawns
    • Garden Walls
    • Living Walls
    • Hedges and Shelterbelts
    • Seaside Themes
    • Cottage Style
    • Mediterranean Style
    • Modern or Architectural Garden
    • Fragrance Garden
    • Wildlife Garden
    • Vegetable Border Garden
    • Rockeries
    • Japanese Gardens
    • Assessment & Presentation

    This practical topic covers all you need to know about assessing a client's wishes and needs, and how to make effective presentations of your ideas to them. Preparing simple base plans at first, you will build up to a concept drawing and then a final working plan. You will learn about:

    • The Garden Area
    • Steps to Effective Measuring
    • What's Above, What's Below?
    • Existing Plants and Trees
    • Recording Sun and Shade
    • Factoring in Hardiness and Microclimates
    • Soil Conditions
    • Ph levels
    • The Client Questionnaire
    • Drawing Tools
    • Creating a Base Plan
    • Title Block
    • Bubble Plan
    • Landscape Symbols
    • Concept Drawing and Working Plan
    • The Business

    Understand the steps you need to take to start your own successful garden design business. You will learn about:

    • Business Essentials
    • Getting Started
    • Pricing and Selling Your Services and Products
    • Customer Service
    • Day-to-Day Operations
    • Working from Home
    • Business Supports, Information, and Entitlements
    • Plant Science

    Garden Design is an art, a craft and a science. The truly competent garden designer should be proficient in all three elements. You will learn about:

    • Structure and Function of Plant Cells
    • The Power of Flowers
    • Plant Physiology: How Plants Work
    • Breeding and Genetics
    • Soil and Water
    • Plant Propagation
    • Plant Diseases and Pests
    • Weeds in the Lawn and Garden
    • Environment and Ecology of the Garden


All our tutors are garden design professionals working in the industry.

The Garden Design Academy of Ireland

Our philosophy at the Garden Design Academy of Ireland is to make high-quality education accessible to all by empowering people to do what they love. Through the power of online and blended learning, our students are able to harness their creativity and practically apply it to succeed in their chosen careers.

Pursue your ambition - because the future is today!

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Choosing the right course

We offer a range of garden design courses to suit your goals.

Why not contact our experienced staff for advice, or browse to our other courses.

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