Develop a Home Garden within your Budget, and in a way that suits your families needs now and into the future
Learn how to plan, lay out and construct your own home garden. Whether you want a garden which you can work in, play in or simply look at and feel proud of then this course is for you.
Topics covered include: designing gardens, styles of gardens, drawing plans, understanding soils, basic landscape construction, weeds & pests, planting & pruning, lawns & other surfacings, garden features, plus a special project to help you develop your own garden. This course is 100% for home gardeners. While our other courses can certainly be relevant to home gardeners; they are generally considered as more oriented toward the "business" of landscaping; or those working in the industry.
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Designing Gardens - the basics of design concepts through to understanding how to use them.
Styles of Gardens - formal, informal, natural, and other themes.
Drawing Plans ‑Designing Gardens - learn how to draw basic landscape features and garden designs.
Understanding Soils - clays, loams, sands - how to identify them and treat them for better plant growth.
Basic Landscape Construction - what is involved to build basic structures like steps, walls, paths, etc.
Weeds & Pests - how to identify and treat garden weeds and pests.
Planting and Pruning - techniques to plant, prune and care for garden plants.
Lawns, paving and other surfacing - care for various surfaces
Garden Features - how to select and use garden features in a landscape.
Developing "YOUR" Garden - Special Project
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Understand the design procedure and the principles of landscape design
Develop knowledge of garden styles through history and apply this to your own designs
Develop skills in graphical techniques for plan drawing
Develop knowledge of soil properties and their relevance to home horticulture
Understand the principles and practices of basic landscape construction
Develop knowledge of pests and weeds, and their management in home horticulture
Develop skills in planting and pruning for home gardens
Develop knowledge of lawns and surfaces appropriate to home landscaping
Develop knowledge of landscape furnishings and other features appropriate for home gardens
Utilise skills developed during this course to develop a landscape design for a home garden.
Creating a Home Garden on a Limited Budget
–Do it in Stages
A home garden should be designed to suit your family needs! If the house is a man's castle, the backyard is his playroom.
There's nothing better than a backyard bbq, game with the kids, swim in the pool or to read a good book in the privacy of your own garden. For some people gardening is a hobby, and the job of creating and maintaining a garden is in itself a very enjoyable and relaxing pastime. For others, gardening can be a chore. Here the garden should be designed for low maintenance. No matter what they might think about "working in the garden", don’t forget to use it as well.
DO IT IN STAGES
Often the garden has to be developed in stages because:
a/ The money isn't available to do it all at once.
b/ Other work must be done first (ie. A sewerage main is to be laid, a shed erected, or a building extended).
Undeveloped, or underdeveloped parts of the garden might be screened with fast growing plants or a temporary fence until they are able to be attended to. Areas designated for paving, garden beds or water gardens might be grassed to provide a reasonable appearance until the time is right to finish the development.
As with anything it is always a good idea to start with a plan. List out everything you want to include in the garden ‑eventually ‑and arrange these things in order from your highest priority to your lowest. (NB: The low priority item might be low because it's expensive, not necessarily because you want it any less).
Your "prioritized" list might be something like this:
- Washing line
- Lawn or mulch to keep the mud and dust down
- Fences on boundaries
- Trees for shade
- Shrubs to screen the neighbours houses
- Plants to provide cut flowers inside
- A garden setting for eating outside
- Paved pathways for access in wet weather
- A paved patio area
- A vegetable garden
- A garden shed
- An ornamental pond
- A swimming pool
A well planned garden will eventually accommodate everything on your list, but may very well consider the garden's development as an evolutionary process over many years; and at any stage of that evolutionary process the garden should still be aesthetically pleasing and functional.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
Landscape planning is both an art and a science. It's a process which needs to consider the physical requirements of building a garden, and at the same time strive to create something which is artistic and pleasing to the eye.
DON'T BE PUT OFF BY THE CHALLENGE THOUGH!
Planning your garden can be a lot of fun, and remember it's a lot cheaper to make your mistakes on paper!
Follow this step by step process and you can't go too wrong:
1. Draw a sketch of your property (preferably to scale) as it is now. A builders plan is often good to work off (all you have to do is trace over it).
2. Make up a list of things you want to put in the garden (eg. washing line, shed, bbq, lawn area, vegie garden, children's swing etc).
3. Draw in pencil where you think the best place would be to put each of these things.
4. Now stand back and think for a week or so. If you like, ask friends or relatives what they think about where you plan to put things. Use a bit of common sense and consider whether each of these things is located in the best place (Refer to the list "What Goes Where")
5. Rearrange the location of these different components, and settle on final locations.
6. Fill in the gaps, placing lawn, shrubs, paving, mulch, gravel, etc. between the various components.
What Goes Where?
*The bbq, outdoor setting and patio should be together, and close to the kitchen, if possible.
*The rubbish bins, compost heap and burner should be away from the house and any outdoor living areas.
*The washing line is better hidden from outdoor entertaining areas, but in mild to cold climates it must be in a sunny spot.
*Areas where children play should be away from things you don't want damaged (eg. prize roses or the vegie garden).
*Areas which are walked over a lot should be well drained and surfaced with gravel, mulch or paving (grass will become damaged and high use areas may become slippery when wet).
Earthworks are the foundation of a good garden. As with anything, if you have a good foundation the rest of the job is much easier.
Ideally earthworks should be planned before any other planning, and any soil shaping, building or drainage should be completed in an area before other work such as paving, fencing or planting.
Earthworks involves the following:
1. Site Clearing
Remove unwanted plants, (weeds, dead trees, etc), rocks and rubbish (builders' rubbish, glass, drink cans, etc). Dispose of your rubbish properly, usually at a tip. Pay particular attention to plaster, cement and concrete which might be lying about. These things will affect plant growth if left there.
Remember, once weed growth is removed, the area becomes more susceptible to erosion, so you need to quickly progress with further landscaping which will help stablize the ground.
You are always best to work with the natural slopes of the ground. When you start changing levels, you change drainage patterns both through and across the surface of the soil. If changes made on your property affect your neighbours (eg. causing water to flood a neighbour's yard) , you have a legal liability to pay for any damage. Often the builder will have changed levels already to build the house, in which case further major changes may be needed. Often changing levels can help create character in a garden, and by hiring a machine such as a "BOBCAT", you can do a lot very easily; BUT KEEP IN MIND HOW THIS WILL AFFECT WATER FLOWING OVER YOUR PROPERTY. On very steep slopes, terracing may be the only way to create some useable outdoor living areas.
- Don't bury rubbish, dead trees, vegetation, etc. as this can subside later.
- Don't excavate below the water table (this can cause seepage).
- Areas which are to be paved or built on should be compacted (or given time to settle) after earthworks; but areas to be planted should not be compacted (particularly in clay soils). Rolling has in the past been popular when preparing an area for lawn, but is now considered to be undesirable.
3. Soil Building
Light (ie. sandy) soils are easier to dig and are better drained, but they can dry out quickly, so plants will need constant watering.
Heavy (ie. clay) soils are hard to dig, often drain poorly and are initially difficult to get wet, but once wet, will stay wet longer.
Both types of soils can be improved by mixing in lots of organic material. Well rotted manure, woodshavings, compost, lawn clippings or anything similar will go a long way to improving most soils. It is usually best to mix this material in at least a few weeks before planting (in cold areas, a month or more).
Drainage is improved in heavy soils by digging in organic material, or adding a soil treatment such as lime or gypsum. These cause the clay particles to move apart, allowing water to move more easily through the soil. Places where water builds up may need drainage pipes installed.
SOLVING DRAINAGE PROBLEMS
There are six ways to solve drainage problems:
1. Reshape the surface of the land so water flows somewhere else.
Warning: don't divert water to create a concentrated flow onto your neighbours' property. You are legally responsibile for problems you cause on your neighbours' property.
2. Improve the soil structure so it will drain more freely.
Soil is made up of a mixture of organic matter (eg. compost or mulch) mixed with clay, loam and sand. If there is a high proportion of clay, drainage is likely to be a problem. Mixing organic matter, sand or loam will begin a slow but effective process of soil improvement. As microorganisms move deeper into the soil, drainage and fertility will gradually improve.
3. Add Soil Ameliorants (eg. Lime).
Soil ameliorants are chemicals which cause clay particles to repel each other, thus opening up the soil and letting water in. They normally take months to show any effect, and they only work if the soil is kept wet.
4. Install drainage pits in low areas
A drainage pit is a large hole filled with sand or rubble. Water collects in the pit and gradually seeps away into the lower layers of the soil. The hole is best to be long and deep, not square or circular if possible, and at least 1‑2cu. metres.
5. Install surface drains
Commonly called spoon drains, these are normally half pipes (or concreted depressions set along at the bottom of a slope, or at the edge of a paved area). Water runs into the spoon drain and is carried to a collection point (an underground pipe in the storm water system or a drainage pit).
6. Install sub surface drains
These are pipes below the surface, which carry water to a collection point. (eg. agricultural drainage pipes buried below the surface and covered with a freely draining soil).
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month. See www.acsebook.com
ENROL NOW USING THE BOX ON THIS PAGE.
Visit our online bookstore to view title outlines of books to help you establish a beautiful garden.
Click here to enter the book store