Introductory Course in Interior Design and Decoration, 21 - 24 May 2018

Garden Design Diploma Courses FAQs

Inchbald School of Design

Garden Design Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

If you consult the Society of Garden Designers website they have compiled a checklist for students to enable them to select the correct garden design course for their requirements, to view this checklist please click here to be taken to the SGD ‘Student Welcome Page’:-

This SGD list of questions is so comprehensive we have used is as our FAQs and have given Inchbald Faculty of Garden Design’s answers to the questions below.

1. How many design projects are there in the course?

For the Inchbald Garden Design Diploma HE Full Time, the answer is 7/8 projects.

For the Inchbald Garden Design Diploma Part Time, the answer is 4/5 projects.

Please have a look at Inchbald School of Garden Design’s Facebook page (link from main site) to see the range and depth of projects undertaken by our current students.

2. Are students given experience with presenting their design ideas and receiving criticism of their work?

Submission for each project involves students pinning up their design and presenting to the class prior to handing the project to the lecturing staff.  This offers the opportunity for peer reviews and gives the experience of presenting and being able to verbalise the design process.

Through out the studio sessions students are constantly discussing their designs with tutors and their peers.  If a design is going well we gather round and discuss why it is going well, if a design in going wrong, why is it going wrong and how can we resolve it?

3. What is the percentage of time spent designing?

For the Full Time Diploma HE 3 of the 4 days in School are Studio days.

For the Part Time Diploma 1.5 of the 2 days in School are studio days.

This varies depending upon which stage the students are within a particular project.  Studio days are essential to the creative learning process, it means you make a discovery, good or bad, with us and not at home on your own.

4. Is there a variety of projects, sites and briefs?

These projects are all real life situations.  We change them every year; you go to site, meet the client and take a survey.  P{projects vary from small town gardens with limited outlook to large country estates with open boundaries.  One of our projects is a public space as we believe having a site with multiple client usage develops the creative process.  Students also have the opportunity to design a show garden from a choice of international shows in a short project.

5. Does the course cover the following aspect of the design process?

Presentation plans and accompanying illustrative drawings

Yes, from day one you will be drawing both in plan and 3D.  Progression of these skills is achieved with the inclusion of a differing visual requirement for each project.

Site surveying and analysis

As we only use real sites a full site survey and analysis is essential for each design.

Construction drawings

During the Spring term we introduce construction to the students, it is important to fully understand the design process first.  We teach our students to fully understand both materials and how to communicate the build of their gardens to a contractor.


In line with the SGD requirements we teach using the Heather specification system although students are also introduced to NBS.

Setting out drawings

Setting out drawings are vital, so that the contractor can build the designs and so these are integrated into the final three projects as a marked submission.

Planting design

Planting design is critical in realising a garden.  We teach planting design right from the start looking at plants as design elements allowing student to use a unique method of producing a planting plan.

The Business of Design

1. Client Communication

2. Contractor Communication

3. Contracts with: clients, contractors, third parties

4. Laws and legal responsibilities

5. Prospective market and clientele: bespoke, design & build

6. What is taught about marketing your skills and business?

7. What is taught about setting up and running a design business?

In answer to the above 7 points, students attend a week long integrated business course in the summer term, which is taught by a leading business professional who also works within the garden design industry.  This gives the students a thorough insight into all of the above.

Skills Tuition and Teaching Methods

1. Do the students learn to use and design with Computer Aided Design packages?

Yes, we teach Vectorworks, SketchUp and Photoshop.  Students have access to as part of their course.  This gives them access to over 117,000 online course including additional Cad tuition.  This enables students to learn international CAD packages relevant to their own countries.

2. If CAD is taught, do the students also learn hand drafting skills?

Yes, we only introduce CAD in the spring term ensuring the autumn term to spent mastering hand drawing.  The communication of a design visually needs to be appropriate to both the client and the designer.  We d not have a house style and encourage students to develop their own.

3. How much horticultural teaching is offered and in what depth?

We are lucky enough to be based at Eccleston Square which has a superb range of plants planted by the renowned plantsman Roger Phillips who also lives on the square.  This allows our students instant access to a wide range of plants.  We are also a short train journey from Kew and Wisley.  Within a 10-minute walk we also have access to some of the worlds greatest public spaces with a wealth of plants to study.

4. Does the course offer practical horticultural experience and how much?

Whilst we are primarily a design school students receive practical horticulture whilst on work experience.  This may be in a nursery, with a designer or helping our graduates with gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

5. How much construction and hard landscaping teaching is offered and in what depth?

By the end of the course students will feel confident to be able to communicate the build of their designs both verbally and visually to a contractor.

6. Does the course offer practical construction experience and how much?

Again, whilst we are primarily a design school, students receive practical construction experience whilst on work experience.  This may be with a construction team, with a designer or helping one of our graduates at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  This really depends on the individual student’s needs and past experience.

Course Credentials

1. Is it an arts based, construction led or horticulturally biased course?

We are a design and arts based school developing designers who will be confident to design for and client in any situation.

2. Is there a School design style?

No, we strong believe in developing and challenging the individual to create their own style.

3. Are there practising designers teaching design on the course?

Yes, all of our staff are both experienced tutors and work within the profession.  This is essential in providing a realistic experience for the students.

4. If so, are they professionally trained/accredited?

Our Director and senior tutors are both full members of the SGD.  Full time staff hold relevant teaching qualifications.  In general we source our staff from our graduates as they talk the Inchbald language of design and can empathise with the student position.

We always recommend that any applicants come and have an informal visit, this allows them to talk to our current students in studio and to meet available staff.

5. Is the course externally accredited in any way?

As a school we are accredited by QAA (Quality Assurance for Higher Education) and our PG and MA course are University validated.  We are currently seeking accreditation from the Landscape institute for our courses to become an official pathway to further study in landscape architecture.

6. Do they have external examiners?

We have University and QAA external examiners.

7. How many of the graduates find work either in established practices or on their own?

We have a full list of progression routes our graduates have taken over the last five years, these are viewable at application.

8. Is there an element of work experience in the course?

We encourage students to seek work experience during the Easter break, however most start after graduation and the majority during RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

9. What sort of work experience placements are available?

These vary depending upon the individual.  Some students benefit from more plant knowledge and so a nursery or garden is recommended, others need hands on construction.  Experience with a designers is often the most rewarding.

10. What help is available to find work experience?

We provide an introduction and any references that are required but strongly believe it is more realistic for the students to start networking within the profession themselves.

11. Does the course have good links with the design industry?

Inchbald has very close links with the industry, which enables us to form the first step in this process.  A great deal of the top designs are Inchbald trained and our regular networking events enable us to gain first hand the requirements of the profession which is then fed into our syllabus.

12. What are the opportunities for taking your studies further after graduation?

Depending upon which course you undertake you can progress to PG and MA level.  We strongly believe that once you are an Inchbald student you always will be.  We are quite used to guiding graduates whether it is career advice or design challenges.  Our door is always open.



View / Download Prospectus