Create your own planting plan with Annie Guilfoyle

Ref: S2D32539

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Places available

About this course

Understand the principles of good planting and how to design planting plans. You will also learn about planning and plotting the right plants for your garden.

Course Description

This course is aimed at those who want to design their own planting plan, whether this is just an isolated bed or for the entire garden.

On the first evening, there will be an inspirational slide lecture looking at the principles of good planting. During the course, you will work through the process of how to measure and analyse your garden to create new planting beds. We will focus on the importance of structure and also look at different planting styles.

You will be working on your own garden project. If you do not have a personal project, the tutor could provide one to work on, but you will need to request this in advance.

On the first day, expect to cover all the essential work needed before beginning the planting plan: how to draw a planting plan; how to space plants correctly, so that your garden will not be too overcrowded or too sparsely planted and how to source and make a list of the correct plants for your project.

The second day will be spent designing your own planting plan under the tutor’s guidance.

After taking this course, you should have enough information to design and draw your planting plans. You may not get an entire garden plan drawn in one weekend, but you will have enough information and knowledge to continue at home. The course will be a mixture of practical demonstrations, slide lectures and hands-on workshops.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please bring with you a measured survey (to scale and in metric) of your garden or the individual beds that you wish to design space for.
  • Please bring any photos of your garden and pieces of any plants that you cannot identify. If you are working on existing beds, you may want to draw in the location of any existing plants that you want to keep. Photographs are very useful for identifying where they are, so do bring plenty.
  • Please bring a soil sample if you would like to test your soil for pH. If you would like the tutor to provide a project to work on, please request this well in advance, by emailing: [email protected]
  • A1 or A3 sheets of tracing paper
  • Self-propelling pencil
  • A selection of drawing pens (not essential)
  • Compass, circle guide, set square
  • Useful items:
  • Old garden magazines to cut up for inspiration
  • Coloured pencils
  • Any other drawing and writing equipment you might wish to use
  • It would also be useful to have some reference books on design and planting. However, there will be some available to share from the College library.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sketchbook, notebook, A2 tracing paper
  • Pencils, pens, eraser and a wide selection of drawing media
  • Metric scale ruler, a pair of compasses (or a circle guide)
  • Masking tape

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, including stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Annie Guilfoyle, gardening tutor at West Dean College

Annie Guilfoyle

Annie Guilfoyle has a BA in Garden Design from Middlesex University, her design studio Creative Landscapes is based in West Sussex. Her work is draws upon influences from art and architecture. She combines running her studio with lecturing internationally.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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