Centre for Continuing Education

Garden Design Course for Large and Small Spaces

Horticulture and gardening. Open to everyone.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: arrangement of our courses

Some of our courses have moved to online delivery. We aim to continue to deliver a high-quality educational experience through interactive, online classes in real-time. If you are currently enrolled in a course with us, we will be in touch soon with options for your enrolment.

Please note that for online classes, all course materials will be shared electronically. No printed resources will be available.

Nowhere to relax or entertain outdoors? Is your outdoor area looking tired? Are you and your plants happy?


Whether you have arid acreage, a barren balcony or a cluttered courtyard, you can transform it into a stylish sanctuary.

Discover how to use space effectively and the concepts of good design. Recognise your soil type and determine how to choose appropriate plants and materials. Achieve a professional, cost-effective design with minimum effort. Comprehensive course notes are provided.


This workshop enables students to define the use of their outdoor area and draw up a plan. By assessing the conditions, selecting appropriate plants and implementing the principles of good design, students will not only be able to achieve a professional result but also maintain their plants effectively by controlling common pests and diseases.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • analyse site conditions including climate, aspect, topography and soil
  • identify how to modify existing conditions, if necessary
  • draw up a plan to indicate the preferred position for plants
  • select suitable plants and materials for various conditions
  • locate plants to achieve a pleasing aesthetic outcome
  • maintain plants successfully using organic methods of pest and disease control.


This course covers the following topics:

  • course introduction and overview
  • define the function of your outdoor area – analyse individual needs/wants
  • assess your site – climate, topography, aspect, soil, mulch
  • containers – types, potting mix, mulch etc.
  • draw up a plan to scale – equipment, procedure, etc.
  • select plant material for specific conditions – sun/shade, wet/dry, privacy, etc.
  • implement principles of good design – unity, simplicity, variety, movement, etc.
  • perspective – the use of colour; techniques to make a small garden seem larger
  • establish a theme – formal, Mediterranean, tropical, native, etc.
  • maintenance of plant material – watering, fertilising, pruning, etc.
  • pest and disease control
  • transform problem areas
  • course review.

Intended audience

Suitable for anyone interested in designing their outdoor living area to achieve a professional result, by implementing the principles of good design using both suitable plants and materials.


Comprehensive course notes will be provided in class.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Free, expert advice
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

What others say.

  • Totally happy. This course met the program criteria outlined and my expectations when I enrolled. Have gained some very valuable info which I can implement in my job and my lifestyle.

  • The presenter was excellent. The content of the course was packed full of very, very useful information. The teaching style was also excellent – and the amazing level of knowledge was inspiring.

  • The presenter is an expert in the field of garden design who also has a gift for teaching. The class exceeded my expectations. Informative, flexible and relevant.

  • This was an excellent class, well prepared, excellent tutor. Highly recommend.

What others say.

  • This was an excellent class, well prepared, excellent tutor. Highly recommend.
  • Very informative course and great tutor.
  • The course was excellent; well paced and full of content. I liked the use of photographs to cover the points. I also loved that the tutor brought in flowers and living examples to show us. Thanks!
We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.