Designing your own garden with Annie Guilfoyle

Ref: S3D30043

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Places available

About this course

Learn the basics of site evaluation and the creation of a functional layout and planting plan, which can be used to plan and plant your own garden.

Course Description

This course is perfect for those who have a new garden with nothing in it, or an established garden in need of changes. It is aimed at enthusiastic amateur gardeners who would like to design their own garden.

The course will begin on the first evening with a talk showing some inspirational images of various gardens and a discussion about your garden and individual requirements.

Day one will cover the essential pre-design work, including the site survey and analysis, enabling you to evaluate your own garden, prior to design. You will formulate your own design brief and learn how to create a functional layout plan, which will help with site planning and arrangement.

Day two will be spent designing the garden in the studio.

Day three will focus on the planting design and how to produce a planting plan. You will learn the importance of structure when considering the planting.

During the course, the lecture sessions will include practical demonstrations, illustrated lectures and hands-on workshops. The tutor’s approach is to act as a guide, showing you the mechanics of garden design and giving you the confidence to exploit the endless possibilities that are available. Weather permitting, we will use West Dean Gardens for inspiration and to reinforce the theory of design; the objective being that you will complete the course having an in-depth insight into how to design your own garden and feel confident enough to tackle your own projects.


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

  • A sketchbook and notebook
  • Some inspirational garden books on design and planting, you may find useful at the planting plan stage
  • Some drawing equipment
  • Photos and images of your own garden
  • A measured survey (to scale in metric) of your own garden space – you will need this to do your design; without a survey it is very difficult to base a new design. You may want to consider having a professional survey done or carry out a survey. If you are in any doubt, please contact the tutor by email: [email protected]

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A1 tracing paper
  • Medium drawing pencil and eraser
  • A selection of drawing pens (not essential)
  • Metric scale ruler, set square
  • Masking tape
  • Circle guide
  • Compass
  • Mechanical drawing pencil

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes 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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