I was very kindly given the opportunity to try the new Naturalistic Garden Design course by Dan Pearson which is part of the portfolio of online courses run by the Create Academy.
|Screenshot from course property of the Create Academy
I have not paid for this course but as ever, my words and opinions are my own.
I am not sure that a course written and presented by Dan Pearson needs a hard sell in all honesty, you had me at Dan Pearson as the saying goes.... Dan Pearson is an award winning garden designer known for his expertise and skills with naturalistic planting. Dan has been designing gardens since 1987 and is also known for his regular column writing in The Observer and several best selling books.
This course is a cut above the norm. You can tell from the very start that this is a high quality production. This is a thought out and well constructed course. What I liked very much was that Dan's approach is practical but it is also about how to help us think about what we want to do; it is not a recipe it is more of a framework.
You start with Dan's introduction and then move on into his design principles. The next section is on understanding the aspect, location and soil. Next you learn about Dan's process in the studio. There are two case studies and then a summary. You have several lessons in each section and most are around 15 to 20 minutes in length and in total there are five hours of learning. Meaning you can either binge, or pick up when you can and you can rewatch whenever you like. I think rewatching is really important and I found that when I viewed the sessions I really needed to think about some the points he raises. For instance in the session: Sense of Space, which is part of the section on Dan's Garden Design Principles, Dan asks lots of questions about what you might want from your space. It is about thinking through what you want to use the garden for, how you might use it, how the paths work, where you might want to sit and so on. I found that despite my garden being quite established this made me think again about how some of it works. This course is perfect for if you are designing your whole garden, but I think it can relate to different areas too, you could interpret it into a smaller spaces.
Each lesson has a workbook and the learning is reinforced through assignments which you do not submit. You have everything you could possibly need with this course, apart from Dan actually turning up at your front door.
The Create Academy have been offering courses since 2019 and they have a good and developing offering including James Wong 'Indoor Gardening Masterclass' and Willow Crossley 'Fundamentals of Floristy'. They also have courses on indoor design, vegetarian cooking and making block prints to name but a few. You can buy gift vouchers for the courses if you want to treat someone.
The course costs £127 and is available to join whenever you wish, there is no fixed start date. At the time of writing the Create Academy are offering 25% off all their courses as a Black Friday Sale.
Stay safe and be kind