Design Your Own Garden

This course is designed to enable keen amateur gardeners to design a fabulous garden for themselves, incorporating their own ideas but gaining the knowledge necessary to avoid fundamental mistakes that may be both complicated and expensive to put right at a later stage. It consists of a number of separate, easily understood topics on garden design, presented in the sequence in which they are carried out in the design of a garden.

Relaxed, Friendly and Informal.

Tom and Rosemary have worked hard to ensure that their course is presented in a friendly manner and in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

For each topic you will learn:

  • Essential principles of the topic:
    Simple basic principles and why they are important will be explained.
  • Detailed information for the topic:
    The detailed information required at the time of garden design will be presented as carefully structured printed notes. The use of the notes during garden design will be explained.

Garden Design Manual

By the end of the course each student will have a complete set of notes, comprising a comprehensive manual on garden design and will have been trained to use it effectively.

How and What:

The manual will not only tell you how to design your garden, but will also contain detailed information showing, for example, plants by size, plants by colour, plants by season, plants by soil type, to enable you to easily create the effects you are seeking.

Scope of Course:

The course covers every aspect of garden design from initial measuring of the site, through consideration of the various hard and soft landscaping features, to the detailed planning of planting schemes.

Duration of Course:

The course is a two day course: midweek courses are held on Tuesday and Wednesday, whilst weekend courses are held on Saturday and Sunday.


Courses are held in The Garden Room at the Swan Inn and Bistro, in Olney Bucks. The Swan is noted locally for serving very good, unpretentious and reasonably priced food. It also delights Tom by serving a range of excellent, well conditioned ales.

The Swan is an old coaching inn on the A509, just north of the bridge over the river Ouse, in the pretty market town of Olney. The Garden Room is a relaxed and informal venue, which was created from the passageway which used to give access for horse drawn coaches from the main road to the courtyard and stabling at the rear of the inn.

Course Schedule (for each day):

  • 8.30am Welcome of delegates, with tea, coffee and biscuits
  • 9.00am Course starts
  • 10.30am 10 minute break for morning tea and coffee
  • 12.30pm Break for Lunch
  • 1.30pm Course resumes
  • 3.30pm 10 minute break for tea and coffee
  • 5.00pm course ends for day.

Delegates staying overnight on the first evening of the course may join Tom and Rosemary in the Swan for supper, when we will discuss an aspect of gardening not covered in the course. This will provide a chance to socialise with other delegates. A charge of £13 to cover the cost of supper, payable at the time of booking, will apply. Delegates not wishing to take supper, but wishing to join the discussion are welcome free of charge.


Overnight accommodation for the first night of the course may be booked as an option and will be arranged in a local hotel. Accommodation for the night prior to the course can be arranged at concessionary rates on request. We will also organise transport between the Swan in Olney and the hotel for delegates who do not have their own transport.


The price of the course is £350 including one night’s accommodation or £300 if accommodation is not required.


For details of forthcoming courses see our list of course dates. Clicking the course that interests you will take you to a page where you can book online. You can register to be kept informed about future courses, and if you wish to purchase the course as a present, gift vouchers are available enabling the recipient to book a course that is convenient to them.

To enquire about our two-day “Design Your Own Garden” courses, please call us on 01234 241053 or complete our online enquiry form.