Garden Design Planning and Planting Online Courses - the easy way to creating a stunning garden!

Want to know all the tricks to creating a beautiful garden? Yes, including the ones that professional designers usually leave out of their books?

International garden designer and Amazon no.1 best-selling author, Rachel Mathews, has been successfully designing gardens all over the globe for over twenty years. She’s put her wealth of experience and all her cunning designer tricks and shortcuts into a series of easy-to-follow, online garden design courses. There’s something for everyone, from complete beginners to more experienced gardeners and professionals.

Rachel infuses her passion for design into her courses, in a straight-talking format, that’s devoid of the usual ‘designer babble’ that many garden design books confuse people with! Even if you’re the most brown-fingered of gardeners, you won’t fail to be moved to do something special with your garden after you’ve spent time with Rachel on a course or webclass.

First, watch the video to find out the differences between the courses offered. Then click on the images or titles below to find out more...

All the garden design courses are ONLINE and can be downloaded to a computer, iPad or Android tablet – that way you can learn at home or on the move.

Follow our tried and tested garden design formula

How to Design Your Garden – The Great Garden Formula Online Course (steps 1-8 pro level)


The Great Garden Formula is the mother of all garden design courses. It’s designed for serious home gardeners who really want to learn all there is to know about garden design. The course is totally suitable for complete beginners, but it is a BIG course, so if you’re looking for something quick, that can be done in a weekend, then the mini-courses might be better options (such as the Small, Long or Wide & Square Garden Formulas).


The Great Garden Formula course is totally online, so you don’t need to leave your home to do it. It consists of written materials in downloadable PDFs as well as video tutorials to guide you through everything you need to know to create a beautifully designed garden. Don’t worry if you aren’t a naturally gifted artist or you find it hard to visualise, this course will enable you to design easily. Packed full of Rachel’s cunning design tricks and trade secrets, you won’t find another garden design course anywhere that will help you as much – that’s guaranteed!

The Great Garden Formula course includes the survey course plus the 5 Minute Plant Expert. The courses take you from steps 1-8 (pro level) on the Successful Garden Design pathway graphic (see further down this page). Step 9 is achieved by following the Plant Design Formula.

Click here for more details about the Great Garden Formula

Combining plants to create stunning borders

Learn about the aesthetics of plant design and how to choose which plants to put together to create stunning planting combinations. This simple to follow, yet in-depth course guides you step-by-step to complementing different garden styles, from contemporary through to more traditional styles and everything in between.

The Plant Design Formula teaches you how to place plants for stunning combinations that look good all year, not just for a few weeks in the summer! Rachel shares all her top trade secrets, that she’s developed over 25 years plus of planting for clients. She shows you a very simple, but somewhat counterintuitive technique for combining plants – surprisingly it has absolutely nothing to do with flowers OR foliage - and you don’t need to know the name of a single plant to use her simple Plant Design Formula making it perfect for everyone, from complete beginners to experienced gardeners.

Click here to learn more about the Plant Design Formula

Small gardens can look amazing. But first it’s best to know about the simple tricks that professional designers use to make small gardens look and feel larger, as well as more functional and interesting.

In this easy step-by-step course, Rachel explains how to design different shaped small gardens though an an illustrated downloadable PDF guide accompanied by her video tutorials. You also get to see a comprehensive garden ideas gallery, featuring small garden plans and photos which are sure to give you additional inspiration.

Included is the Survey Formula course

Click here to learn more about the Small Garden Design Formula.

Design ideas for long, narrow or rectangular shaped gardens

So, you have no interest in doing a huge great course in garden design; you just want ideas, plan examples and a general know-how on how to get you the results you want. The Long Garden Formula helps you understand what might have gone wrong and explains how to fix any areas that aren’t working for you. You can also learn how to completely re-do your garden if you want to go beyond a simple makeover.

The Long Garden Formula is packed with photos and plan examples which are easy to adapt to your garden. It also explains how to DIY design your garden if you would like to be more adventurous.

Wide, square and awkwardly shaped gardens are not as rare as you may think. They can look great too; that is, if you know what tools and design principles to use. The Wide and Square Garden Formulas guide takes you through the entire planning process. Learn how to tackle any type of wide and square shape garden, from really wide and square through to irregular and awkward shapes.

This Design Formula also includes the Survey Course.

This course is provided with the Garden Survey Course (mentioned below).

Click here to find out more about the Long Garden Formula

You really don’t need to know a lot about plants or their names in order to get the right plants for your garden. Some simple short-cuts will enable to decide what conditions certain plants like, just by looking at their leaves. This is the cheat’s guide to becoming a ‘Plant Whisperer’!

You'll learn how to know which plants suit your soil, aspect, climate, rainfall levels and lots more.

The Plant Design Formula (above) concentrates on how to get plants to look good together, while the 5 Minute Plant Expert focuses on how to know which plants suit your soil and growing conditions.

Rachel shares you all the cunning tricks that enable her to successfully design gardens all over the world, often using plants she’s never seen before. This online mini-course enables you to know which plants suit your garden and comes with 5 video tutorials as well as the downloadable mini-course, plus a series of ‘cheat sheets’ to help you learn faster.

Click here to learn more about the 5 Minute Plant Expert

(PLEASE NOTE: This course is offered FREE with the Great Garden Formula Course)

Without the correct measurements, you risk the whole of your garden’s planning phase going completely to pot! Video tutorials show you how to measure and scale draw a garden plan – a vital part of successfully planning your garden.

Click here to learn more about the garden survey course

*This course is INCLUDED free with ALL our design courses

Course Comparison Chart

*The estimated times to complete the courses are approximate and vary from person to person, depending on learning style and time available.

Not computer savvy? No problem! You don’t have to learn any difficult software. All you need is some paper, a pencil, an eraser, a ruler and a tape measure and you will be ready to design a garden properly.

Not artistic either? You will be glad to know that the methods taught in all the Successful Garden Design courses are simple and straightforward enough for anyone to follow.