Developed in cooperation with prominent Vancouver landscape architect and garden designer Ron Rule, this unique part-time program runs annually from March to August and appeals to keen amateur gardeners and professionals alike. The program explores — in depth and in logical sequence — all of the stylistic forms and techniques of good garden design.
Laurie Anderson, UBC Certificate in Garden Design Graduate
Participants receive practical and theoretical training in the history and theory of garden design, drafting, and hard and soft landscape design, along with the opportunity to apply this knowledge to the design of an actual case study garden.
The certificate program is unique in that it is geared specifically to urban gardens; it is innovative because it focuses on exploring the design possibilities inherent in the Pacific Northwest region; it is unusual in its diverse and dedicated faculty of university instructors and distinguished regional experts practising in the field.
Open sections below to view program information or contact program staff at 604.822.1433 or email.
Klavdi Kukovic, UBC Certificate in Garden Design Graduate
Who Should Participate
The curriculum for the UBC Certificate in Garden Design encompasses a variety of courses related to garden design. These courses are referred to as certificate-credit courses to differentiate them from regular University credit and non-credit courses. Certificate-credit courses are measured in hours of instruction.
The courses that make up the certificate program may change over time to reflect the changing needs of participants and the evolution of the program
Program Fee: $4550
Materials and Text Books: approx $575
Payment may be made in two equal installments. The first, which includes a $750 non-refundable deposit, is payable upon acceptance into the program. The final payment is due mid-May.
2013 Application and Fee Payment Schedule
|Mon, Feb 18||Application deadline|
|Fri, Feb 22||First payment due $2,275
No refunds after Apr 13, 2013
|Fri, May 17||Final payment due $2,275|
Withdrawal and Cancellation Policy
Participants may withdraw from the certificate program and receive a refund (less the $750 non-refundable deposit) up until April 13, 2013. Refunds will not be considered after this date. Notification must be provided in writing and explaining the reasons for withdrawal from the program.
2013 Program Schedule
|Mon, Mar 11
|6 Wed, Mar 20-Apr 24
|History and Theory of Garden Design (12 hours)|
|2 Sat-Sun, May 11-12
and May 25-26, 9:30am-4:30pm
|Drafting and Design Communication (26 hours)|
|Mon-Fri, Jun 3-7, 9:30am-5pm
and Sat, Jun 8, 9:30am-1:30pm
|Conceptual Garden Design (39 hours)
|3 Sat-Sun, Jun 22-23, Jul 13-14
and Jul 27-28, 9:30-5pm
|The Hard Landscape: Design, Construction and Maintenance (42 hours)|
|Mon-Fri, Aug 12-16
|The Soft Landscape: Design, Planting and Maintenance (35 hours)|
|Sun, Sep 8
Schedule subject to change
Classes are held on the UBC Point Grey campus, utilizing the space and facilities of the Landscape Architecture program and the UBC Botanical Garden. The Landscape Architecture building provides the main space for lectures and studio work. The UBC Botanical Garden — renowned for its 110 acres planted with over 10,000 different trees, shrubs and flowers in a combination of natural and cultivated styles — is used as a laboratory to study plants, the aesthetics of native planting and maintenance topics. Off-campus activities include visits to well-designed local residential gardens and the site of our designated case study garden.
The UBC Certificate in Garden Design is a "competency-based" program in which participants are expected to demonstrate the acquisition of the information and key skills taught in each module. Assessment methods include the instructors' observation and assessment of each participant's grasp of the information and techniques presented. This may include the grading of exercises, assignments, projects, participation and aural presentations. A critical review of the student’s work is a large component of the program. Participants must be prepared to have their individual and group presentations critiqued.
To be granted the UBC Certificate in Garden Design, participants must successfully complete all five modules for a total of up to 154 hours, and must receive a "pass" or "completion" in all modules or a grade no lower than 60% for projects and assignments that are numerically graded. Throughout the modules, each student is expected to complete graphic assignments which may be compiled into a final portfolio.
Ron Rule, Program Director, UBC Certificate in Garden Design
Designed to accommodate the busy and demanding lives of participants, the certificate program is divided into five modules presented in a logical sequence and taken over a six-month period. The program consists of evening and weekend classes as well as two, week-long intensives. Each module builds upon the previous one so that the knowledge and experience gained in each module informs subsequent learning.
The certificate program is a "hands-and-eyes-on" experience and instructors employ a variety of techniques and devices to convey their material. They will lecture, demonstrate, lead group activities in both the classroom and the field and oversee individual design projects; homework will be necessary.
Students are encouraged to participate in discussions and in the exchange of ideas and to complete both individual and group projects. Students will draft their own designs and experiment in the selection of construction materials and plants; feedback and evaluations are provided by peer and expert review. Manual drafting and sketching are the techniques students will use to convey a design; computer-aided design (CAD) is not taught or used.
Each student will finish the program with a portfolio of examples of designs from projects completed during the program.
Certain physical features have come to characterize particular garden styles. In this slide-illustrated course, we isolate the major elements (both natural and human-made) of a variety of historically significant garden styles, from European to Asian. The theory behind these design styles, and behind garden design in general, is outlined and analyzed.
The history of garden design in the Pacific Northwest is relatively recent. We look at some of the more significant private gardens of the last 75 years in order to understand our emerging Northwest style. (12 hours)
The ability to envision, document and communicate information in graphic form is crucial to the design process. This introductory course provides instruction in the plan-reading and drafting skills required to produce plans, elevations, sections, perspectives and a variety of other visualization tools used by the garden designer. Participants acquire the knowledge needed to translate existing field conditions onto paper in order to assess, analyze and develop a garden site. (26 hours)
Whatever a garden's overall look, its creator has fashioned it — for better or worse — using certain design elements that can be identified. These elements are the designer's aesthetic tools which he or she manipulates to the success or failure of the project. This week-long intensive design course focuses on the imaginative use of these discernible elements, among them colour, perspective and focal point, light and shadow. Participants study the role played by enclosure, circulation, elevational change and water in the development of an inviting scheme. During the week, students learn first-hand the challenges of the design process in developing their own design for the case study garden. (39 hours)
In a well-designed and constructed garden, hard surfaces are introduced to the site so that each material application is compatible with all others and in keeping with the overall scheme. These hard surfaces may include water features, stairs, patios, decks, fencing and retaining walls. They may be comprised of a variety of local materials including wood, metal, stone and concrete. In this module, students are introduced to local materials and construction issues. Students focus on the hard landscape elements of their case study design, develop design details and learn about other theoretical aspects of construction through lectures, tours and class assignments. (42 hours)
A well-designed garden is more than a collection of plants, no matter how rare or unusual. In this module, participants explore the aesthetic properties of plants: how their scale, shape, texture, colour and mass can be used to great effect. Native planting and environmental concerns are addressed and students produce a planting plan for their case study garden. Plant maintenance is a vital component of this section with special emphasis on the aesthetics of maintenance — how specific techniques contribute to the character of particular styles of gardens and how maintenance concerns and plant ecology are important aspects of planting design. At the end of the week, students will re-evaluate and fine-tune their designs, and complete their course portfolio, which can consist of plans, sections, elevations, perspectives and sketches. (35 hours)
The courses that make up the certificate program may change over time to reflect the changing needs of participants and the evolution of the program.
Manual drafting and sketching are the techniques students must use to convey a design; computer-aided design (CAD) is not taught or used.
Do you have the basic drafting skills recommended for this program? Here's a guideline to help you decide: If you can measure your house (or apartment) and draw to scale a floor plan based on those measurements using basic drafting instruments (triangle, ruler, T-square, etc.) you will be prepared for the program, however, our basic drafting course would still be a good primer. If you are lacking in skills or confidence, we strongly recommend you take our Basic Drafting for Design course led by Terry Harrison. This course will next be offered over seven Saturday mornings from Feb 2-Mar 23, 2013. For more information, please call 604.822.1433.
Improve your basic sketching skills and develop sketching as a communication design tool for designing gardens and urban landscapes. Explore different types of design-related drawing (e.g., orthographic, 3D paraline and perspective), construction of basic solid forms, employing light and shadow, and dealing with more challenging subjects such as curves, stairs and sloping planes with this recommended Basic Design Sketching course, taught by Tony O'Regan, MEDes (Arch). Drawings done in this course will be accepted as part of their sketchbook assignment for students in the UBC Certificate in Garden Design. This course will next be offered on Sat-Sun, Apr 6-7, 2013. For more information, please call 604.822.1433.
The UBC Certificate in Garden Design has a formal admission procedure designed to:
The UBC Certificate in Garden Design admission requirements are fairly broad in order to accommodate learners from diverse backgrounds. However, all applicants must meet the following requirements:
Applicants will ideally have some knowledge of drafting. UBC Continuing Studies offers an introductory course in Basic Drafting and Design. This course will be very helpful to anyone without previous drafting instruction.
All applicants to the program must complete the application form and submit it with the required supporting documents to the address indicated on the form. A committee reviews the applications and applicants are advised as to whether they have been accepted into the program.
Before applying to this Program you must read and understand the terms and conditions in the Program Handbook (see section entitled "Handbook")
Applications must include the following:
Letter of Intent
In a word-processed document (300-500 words), please define your interests, program expectations and the goals you expect to achieve by completing the UBC Certificate in Garden Design. Also include in your letter of intent, a list of five garden books, magazines, journals or web sites you have found influential.
Before applying to this Program you must read and understand the terms and conditions in the Program Handbook .
You will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to view the pdf document. Download the free reader.
If you would prefer to receive the handbook in the mail, contact us by email with your complete name and full mailing address.
Program Advisory Committee
The UBC Certificate in Garden Design was developed in 1995/96 by UBC Continuing Studies and Ron Rule, with guidance from the original Garden Design Advisory Committee. The current Advisory Committee continues to provide direction for the Certificate in Garden Design and is composed of UBC educators, private sector representatives and program graduates.
Director, Community Programs, UBC Continuing Studies
Professor and Chair
School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, UBC
Associate Director and Curator of Collections
UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research
Garden Designer and Program Graduate
Garden Designer and Program Graduate
Next Certificate program starts Mar 2014.
Accepting applications Fall 2013.
"The UBC Certificate in Garden Design is an excellent introduction to the principles of design and a great way to get to know your future colleagues." Read more.
Kimberley Loewen, Program Graduate and Advisory Committee Member,
UBC Certificate in Garden Design