Make the Right Plant Selections in Garden Design

Choosing the right plants for the right purpose is often the difference between a good garden designer and a not so good one. In order to do this effectively gardeners and landscapers have to have knowledge of how different elements of the environment impact upon plant growth, and particular types of plants.

Don’t make planting mistakes

This extremely detailed course is a go-to resource for anyone involved in making planting decisions. Discover all the factors which influence growth of the main plant groups so that you can decide on their suitability for any particular location. Also learn about how to establish new plants in gardens and what they require in terms of ongoing maintenance.

Learn to Choose the Best Plants for a Garden Design

In order to choose appropriate plants for gardens and other landscapes it is important to have a sound knowledge of how plants are affected by the environment such as soil types, nutrients, wind, extremes of weather, altitude and latitude, weed competition, pest and diseases, and so forth. Often the reason a plant fails to thrive in a given location is because of many factors combined. It is more difficult to try and modify the environment for plants than to choose the best plant for the site in the first place. 

Landscapers who can select the right plant for the right affect are always in demand. The better your plant selection skills, the more you further your career prospects... that's very much the name of the game in this industry!

Make clever planting decisions

Study this comprehensive course to find out how to learn about all the different groups of plants and the key factors which influence their growth and how they can be used in the landscape. Find out how plants from turf grasses to trees are established, through planting techniques and site preparation, and maintained.  Feel confident in making planting decisions.

This is a course for:

  • Garden designers, planners or landscape architects who need a greater knowledge of plants
  • Horticulturists and gardeners who may be able to grow good plants, but struggle when it comes to selecting and using them to their best effect
  • Consultants or nursery sales staff who need to advise people on selecting and using plants


There are ten lessons in this course as follows:

1. Introduction

What to plant where, Plant selection, Plant varieties, Colourful year round foliage, Establishment (timing, soil preparation, plant size, planting technique), Maintenance programs, etc

2. Woody plants

Selecting woody plants, trees, shrubs, deciduous/semi deciduous/evergreen; flowering shrubs, Establishing woody plants, Planting procedure, Dealing with shade, etc

3. Windbreaks, hedges and screens

Plant selection, establishing windbreaks & screens, Trimming a hedge, etc

4. Alpine and water plants

Selecting & establishing alpines, Selecting water plants, Establishment & maintenance of water plants

5. Annual and herbaceous plants

Selecting annuals, Types of annuals (by height, flower, edge plants, dot plants, groundwork plants), types of bedding schemes, Planting seed or seedlings, Container culture, Selection & Establishment of herbaceous plants (Bulbs & Perennials), Maximizing flowering effect, etc

6. Turf

Varieties, Lawn mixes, What to grow where, Wildflower Meadows, Turf establishment, Soil Preparation, Seeding, Sodding, Stolonizing, Sprigging, Plugging, Mowing, Fertilising, etc

7. Maintenance

Fertilizing, Managing pH, Replacing plants, Pruning, Irrigation, Humidity, Mulch, Developing a maintenance Program,

8. Pestand disease control

Problem prevention, Non chemical control, Chemical control,

9. Weed control

Non chemical control, Chemical control, Safety, Alternative strategies.

10. Risk assessment

Identifying risk, Duty of care, Workplace safety, Protective clothing, Safety with tools, Significance of illness, etc

Examples of things you may do:

This course involves far more than just reading and answering questions. Here are just some examples of other things which you might be doing:

  • Visiting different gardens, nurseries and/or parks. These could include home gardens, parks, commercial or any other type of site. The choice is yours.    If for some reason (eg. Disability or isolation) you are unable to physically visit gardens or other places, you may undertake a "virtual visit" using the internet; and liaise via email.
  • Survey or interview industry people.
  • Analyse and devise maintenance plants for different areas.
  • Research the cause of an incident.
  • Prepare a weed collection of either pressings, photographs or illustrations.


Choosing the Right Plant Varieties is Critical

Plant selection is an important part of creating a beautiful and functional garden. With careful selection and well thought out planting schemes you can minimise maintenance, minimise disease and prevent over-planting. Over-planting is one of the most easily made mistakes in a garden. This is especially so for large trees that could end up being very costly to remove. Tangled trees (through over-planting) are never attractive, and also create a hostile environment for many plant species that may have been planted beneath them, when the trees were still small.

With careful plant selection you can create a garden that will still be beautiful decades from now. A well-selected plant is more likely to survive establishment and should also be more easily maintained.  As long as you remember that the success of a garden is largely determined by the suitability of the plant to the situation, the conditions that they are to grow in, the planting techniques that you use at the outset and your garden maintenance capabilities (i.e. the time you can input and expertise you have).


Where To From Here?

This course is likely to be of value to people who have an interest in garden design and landscaping. It will also appeal to anyone with a general interest in growing plants. People who take this course are most likely those working in or aspiring to work in:

Garden design
Parks & gardens
Botanical gardens
Garden maintenance

The course will also be of value to people wishing to start a garden design or general gardening business.