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LANDSCAPING III - BHT235 (Gardening Styles)

Course CodeBHT235
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Gardening is an ancient art; throughout history people have created gardens around their homes in a combination of practicality and style. They filled spaces with plants, water and rocks, and made places to walk and to rest. Many beautiful gardens were created this way.

Studying the gardens of the past and the present, the importance of design principles, design elements and features, helps the garden designer to combine the best of these to create the most beautiful gardens.

There are many elements that contribute to the ambiance and mood of a garden. Colour is a significant component however the choice of plants, the amount of plants, the permanent structures and ornamentation are also important.

This course covers many types of gardens including: Historic, Formal, Oriental, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Coastal, Modern, Eclectic and other garden styles enabling the student to gain knowledge and draw inspiration from the most beautiful garden styles in the world.



There are 10 lessons in this module as follows:

1. Creating the Mood

  • Active or Passive Mood
  • Simple or Complex Garden
  • Movement in a Garden
  • Light or Shade
  • Increasing or Reducing Light: How to
  • Working With Shade
  • Garden Lighting
  • Other Mood Factors
  • What's Wanted (by you or a client)
  • Personality of a Garden
  • Keeping it To Scale
  • Colour ands it's Use; plants, pots, statuary, other coloured features
  • Impact of Buildings on Garden Colour
  • Coloured Surfaces
  • Understanding and Applying the Psychology of Colour
  • Hot and Cold Colours
  • Water and Colour
  • Hot Coloured Plants
  • Making Gardens Cooler
  • Using Blue in the Garden
  • Winter Warmth and Light
  • Site Analysis
  • Creating a Concept Step by Step
  • Components of a Garden Room

2. Historic Gardens

  • Historical Considerations and Historical Styles
  • Types of Gardens: Formal, Informal, Natural, Resort, Colonial, Permaculture, Balcony
  • Rose, Australian Bush, etc
  • Cottage Garden Design
  • How to Use Plants in a Cottage Garden
  • Federation and Edwardian Gardens

3. Formal Gardens

  • What is a Formal Garden
  • Design Elements of a Formal Garden
  • Locating a Formal Garden Bed
  • Types of Formal Garden; Parterre, Avenue, Hedged beds
  • Informality in the Formal Garden
  • Plants for a Formal Garden Ornaments for a Formal Garden
  • Traditional Furniture
  • Formal Courtyards

4. Oriental Gardens

  • Scope and Nature of Oriental Gardens
  • Chinese Gardens
  • Japanese Gardens
  • Types of Japanese Garden: Hill and pond, Dry landscape, Tea garden, Stroll garden, Courtyard, Rock garden, Pebble garden
  • Japanese Features; Tori, Moss, Deer Scarer, Bridges
  • Bonsai
  • Traditional Bonsai Styles
  • Water in an Oriental Garden
  • Ornamental Grasses

5. Middle Eastern and Spanish Style

  • Scope and Nature
  • Features of a Moorish Garden
  • Sense of Enclosure Mexican Style
  • How Mexican Gardens Evolved
  • Using Coloured Gravels

6. Mediterranean Gardens

  • Characteristics of a Mediterranean Garden
  • Differences between French, Spanish, Greek, Italian Gardens
  • Built Landscape
  • Plants
  • Use of Paint in the Garden Verandah Gardens
  • Making the Most of Small Spaces
  • Microclimate Management

7. Coastal Gardens

  • Features of a Coastal Garden
  • Dealing with Temperature, Humidity, Salt, Soil and Wind
  • Coastal Plants
  • Trees

8. Modern Gardens

  • Scope and Nature of Modern Gardens
  • Modern Technology in the Garden; lights, water, music, screens
  • Working with Modern Architecture; making the garden sympathetic to shapes, angles, colour, etc
  • Courtyards
  • Inner City Gardens
  • Types of Inner City Gardens
  • Future Trends

9. Eclectic Gardens

  • What is an Eclectic Garden
  • Creating an Eclectic Garden
  • Garden Ornaments
  • Plants
  • Living Art
  • Topiary
  • Hedges
  • Miniature Gardens
  • Using Junk in a Garden
  • Pebble Gardens
  • Art Gardens
  • Public Gardens

10. Other Styles

  • Dryland Gardens
  • The Desert Landscape
  • Xeriscapes
  • Australian Bush Garden
  • Cacti and Indoor Succulent Gardens
  • Minimalist Gardens
  • Permaculture Gardens
  • Tropical Style Gardens
  • Landscaping with Bulbs
  • Bird Attracting Gardens


  • Explain the use of colour, light, shade, temperature, water, foliage and other elements in establishing the mood of a garden.
  • Describe gardens from different places and periods in history; and in doing so explain how to renovate and/or recreate gardens that reflect the style of different historic periods.
  • Apply the principles, design features and elements that make up a formal garden.
  • Discuss cultural and historical traditions that contributed to the development and style of the oriental garden.
  • Discuss cultural and historical traditions that have contributed to the development and style of the Middle Eastern and Spanish garden.
  • Discuss the historic, climatic and cultural influences which have contributed to the style of Mediterranean gardens.
  • Discuss design styles of coastal gardens
  • Explain the limitations and potential of coastal sites when preparing a landscape design.
  • Discuss contemporary garden design styles and possible future trends in garden design.
  • Identify the range of diversity possible in garden design.
  • Identify characteristics of different garden styles including eclectic, dryland, permaculture, rainforest and tropical garden styles.
  • Design different styles of gardens.


  • Visit different gardens to assess the mood of each garden. Take time to observe each garden and try to identify the different elements that contribute to the garden mood.
  • Observe how colour has been used in different gardens. Observe the colours of both plants and hard surfaces, and the way the colours have been combined.
  • Visit an historic garden in your area. Identify all the different features that make this an historic garden.
  • Visit a formal garden in your area. Identify all the different features that make this a formal garden.
  • Visit an oriental garden either in person or by research.
  • Search for more information on gardens that reflect the styles.
  • Make notes of anything you find which is interesting and could be used in development of a Mediterranean style of garden in the locality in which you live.
  • Visit a coastal region near where you live and observe the type of plants that are growing near the seashore. Also observe the plants and design elements of nearby gardens. (If you are unable to visit a coastal region, use descriptions of coastal sites and gardens from books, magazines and the internet.)
  • Evaluate a modern courtyard garden (if there is no suitable garden in your area, use a garden described in a book, magazine or on the internet). Identify and describe the elements that make this a 'modern' garden. How has the designer overcome the restrictions of the site to create a feeling of spaciousness?
  • Research and list suppliers of materials suitable for eclectic gardens such as pots, sundials, pebbles, statues, wrought iron, tiles, gazebos, seats, wind chimes, etc. Visit as many suppliers as possible and inspect these materials. Find out about their cost, availability and longevity.
  • Evaluate a garden site, identifying and describing the elements that determine the style of this garden.

ACS operates a student bookshop that supplies a range of horticulture texts to supplement our courses.
Many are written by the principal (well known gardening author John Mason), or other staff. All have been reviewed and approved by our academic experts (to be accurate and relevant to students studying our horticulture courses).
  • Student discounts are available to anyone studying with ACS Distance Education.
  • Both printed books and ebooks (as downloads) available

Meet some of our academics

Gavin Cole Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. In the mid 90's he worked as a manager and garden designer with the well respected UK company -The Chelsea Gardener. A few years later he formed his own garden design business, at first in the UK, and later operating in Queensland Australia. He has since moved to, and works from Adelaide. Apart from his work in landscaping, Gavin has been a prolific garden writer and a tutor with ACS Distance Education since 2001. He is currently part of the team of garden experts that produce Home Grown magazine.
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Marie BeermanMarie has over 7 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants". Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Ldscp.
Rosemary Davies Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences. Initially she worked with the Department of Agriculture in Victoria providing advice to the public. Over the years she has taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Check out our eBooks

Garden Design Part 1This stunning full colour Garden Design ebook is full of useful tips, information and inspiration. It contains around 300 colour illustrations! It is comprised of three parts: Design, How a Garden Functions and Aesthetics (making it look good).
Garden Design Part 2Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. It's brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. It contains around 300 colour photos! Written by John Mason over several decades of visiting and photographing gardens, writing, teaching and creating gardens.
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.