Garden Design FD

Unique in the north of England and approved by the Society of Gardeners, this Garden Design Foundation Degree is ideal for those who want to become a professional Garden Designer. Progress directly onto the Level 6 programme to convert your Foundation Degree into a BA (Hons).

You will be required to use some of your own specialist equipment from the beginning of the course, including a lap-top and specialist programmes, to the value of approximately £200. Further information will be provided in your offer letter.

Course Level:
Level 5
2 Years (FT)
3 Years (PT)
Study Time:
Auction Mart
UCAS Code:
Institution Code:
Validated by:
The Open University

Once the College has finalised its proposals for 2021/22 Tuition Fees more information will be published. Any proposals will be in line with the Consumer Price Index and the College’s Fee Policy. Please note Foundation Degrees are qualifications in their own right and students progressing from a Foundation Degree to a top-up year are subject to a new fee.


Craven College is the only provider of Garden Design at Foundation Degree Level in the region. You will develop your knowledge of sophisticated software such as VectorWorks, SketchUp Pro and Adobe Photoshop CC to develop your professional status.

Your expert tutor is, in conjunction with students, a Gold Award Winner at the Harrogate Flower Show with Secret Garden 2014, The Equilibrium Garden 2009 and Student Garden in 2008.

You will develop specific knowledge of all aspects of garden design including site analysis and surveying, the art and science of plant use, graphics and rendering skills, computer-aided design, and elements of garden history and conservation. You will develop the practical, managerial and academic skills to successfully design gardens and run a small business. You will also build up a range of transferable skills and knowledge, including business and contract management, creativity, innovation and problem-solving.

The course includes lectures and demonstrations, practical and creative drawing sessions, site visits, and the design of several ‘real’ gardens. Through work experience, you will develop the skills needed to work with a range of different clients and to liaise with those in the horticultural and construction industries. The learning progress involves more practically based exercises that build on lecture and seminar study such as peer group discussion and modelling exercises. The opportunity to be involved in portfolio-based projects will enable you to use research skills and further your own interests in specific areas of garden design. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed by reports, presentations and vocationally based briefs.

You will be expected to undertake 8-10 hours of personal study each week such as reading journal articles and books, undertaking research and preparing for assessments. Your independent study is also supported by the excellent Learning Hub at the Aireville Campus in addition to the College’s Specialist Support Centre.  The average class size for this course is 8-10.


The module map provides a list of the modules you will study during the course; six x 20 credit modules (120 credits) are studied at each Level.

Year 1 – Level 4

Semester Module Title Credits Formal Assessment
1 Principles of Horticulture – Plants & Soils 20 Portfolio
1 Personal & Professional Development 20 Presentation & Research Project
1 Graphic Communication & Illustration 20 Portfolio
Semester Module Title Credits Formal Assessment
2 Principles & Art of Garden Design 20 Portfolio
2 Surveying, Site Analysis & Client Liaison 20 Base Plan Portfolio
2 Work Related Learning 1 (Health & Safety) 20 Audit

Year 2 – Level 5

Semester Module Title Credits Formal Assessment
1 Computer Applications & CAD for Garden Design 20 Design Project
1 Planting – Design & Maintenance 20 Annotated Notebook
1 Work Related Learning 2 (Specifications, Tenders & Contracts) 20 Presentation & Research Project


Semester Module Title Credits Formal Assessment
2 Hard-Landscaping and Construction 20 Annotated Notebook
2 Work Related Learning 3 (Business Identity & Planning) 20 Research Report
2 Garden History & Conservation of Heritage Gardens 20 Case Study & Presentation

Further information on feedback, pass marks and classifications can be found in Regulations for Awards Validated by The Open University.

Entry Requirements

  • 48 UCAS tariff points (formerly 120 UCAS points)
  • English & Maths GCSEs grade 9-4 (A*-C) or equivalent


Students without necessary qualifications but with relevant work experience are encouraged to apply for an interview.

In addition, if you have a relevant HNC you may be able to transfer credit in certain modules onto the Foundation Degree.


Your choices may include:

  • Landscape Contractor
  • Garden Designer
  • Heritage / Botanical Gardens Officer
  • Self Employment / Freelance

Your choices may include:

  • Garden Design BA (Hons)
  • Horticulture BSc (Hons)
  • Landscape Design & Management BSc (Hons)