How To Design A Garden – Video Tutorials

Designing your own garden can be a very rewarding process. This series of garden design video tutorials will show you how to design a garden from start to finish. The garden featured in the video is a small garden design for a Spanish courtyard garden. The process shown does apply to any size of garden, not just small gardens. The design process works regardless of where in the world you are and what type of garden you have.

If you specifically want to know more about small garden design, take a look at the Small Garden Design Course.

Video 5 shows how the garden looked a year after it had been built. Hope you enjoy watching these, please leave me a comment below.

How to survey your garden

The garden survey is the vital first step in designing a great garden. If you don’t measure your garden, you won’t be able to design it properly.

How to draw your garden survey to scale

Drawing your garden plan to scale is very important. If the plan isn’t to scale, your design won’t fit properly when you come to build it. Good designs interlink, so if you have to change one part of the design, it will effect everything else in the garden.

How to design a courtyard garden

How you shape the space in your garden is key to the look. flow and function of your garden and ultimately how good it will look when it’s built.

Garden construction process

Finally, getting the garden constructed properly is the last stage in creating a great looking garden. This video will show you behind the scenes of the construction process out here in Spain. Lots more re-enforcement is needed because there’s lots of ground movement here.

The Garden 18 Months Later…

I hope you’ve found these videos useful. Designing your own garden is a very rewarding process, so I encourage you to give it a go!

BUT do be warned – you have to get the design layout right! If you don’t know how to do that then…

Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page:


  1. I stumbled upon your site as I was looking up Garden Design on google. I really enjoyed your videos. I think you have done an excellent job. Thank you for sharing.

    Susan =)

  2. Thanks Susan, glad you’ve enjoyed the videos. And great that Google has finally found the website!! ;o)

  3. I’m a garden designer, too, and this was a great reminder to take those cross measurements! I haven’t always done that, and it can really cause some problems. Thanks, Rachel!

  4. I know how you feel Jenny, I have to remind myself to take the cross measurements as well – very easy to forget!

    ps I like your website by the way – nice work!

  5. Great videos, Rachel. I really enjoyed watching them – you speak so clearly, and really provide hands-on advice to those wanting to design their own gardens. I love the design you created, also – you’re obviously quite talented!

  6. Thanks Rebecca, glad you like them…. the outtakes were another matter! ;o)

  7. Sarah Hazelton says:

    Hi there Rachel, these tutorials are so simple and effective. I completed a basic garden design course last year and just needed a quick overview of how to use skills taught on that course… your tutorials are so easy to absorb and are really inspiring – I don’t feel overwhelmed by more info than I can handle. Fantastic job, thank you very much! It’d be lovely to see the planting when completed. All the best, Sarah.

  8. Thanks Sarah, glad you have found them helpful! I think one of the toughest times is straight after you’ve done a design course. You know what you should be doing but it takes a while for it to become automatic.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the planting turns out as well… don’t have quite so much control over that part – as you may have read in the blog post

    I’m back there in a few months, so will update the photos then.

  9. Irene Miller says:

    HI Rachel, Great website. I have looked in book after book of garden design without much success. Your tutorials are brilliant and inspirational. I am hoping to do one of your courses as I feel I can really learn from you. Can’t wait to get started but in the meantime I will keep logging on to your site. Keep up your good work.

  10. Hi Irene, thank you, that’s really good to know!

    Seeing that people are getting benefit from the site, really makes it worthwhile. It can be difficult learning design from books, video definitely makes it easier to explain.

  11. Patricia McCaig says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Great website and your tutorials make design so easy to follow. I’m another one who bought garden design books and left them to gather dust after being completely overwhelmed. I also love the work you did on your Origin Garden Design, the contemporary ones particularly – what a transformation! If only I could afford to have something wonderful like that done to my garden too… 🙁

  12. I missed this when I went to your website the other day. Excellent. If only I’d had some direction like this when I was designing my garden. I had some very difficult angles to work with and measuring and drawing never entered my head. I did it all by laying out lengths of wood. It worked out OK but this would have been easier. Next time. Thanks for visiting my blog and posting a link.

  13. Hi Rachel,
    Really loving the designs, especially the advanced contemporary ones..amazing transformations from average gardens to spaces worthy of magazine covers. I am currently trying to design my own garden and I’m taking inspiration from your design styles. I’ve never really seen my gardens potential as an outdoor room until I came across your website. I’m not a designer, so the instructional videos are a real help too.

  14. Thanks for your comment Richard. Glad you are finding the website useful. Have you checked out my other site – yet? You can download a free guide on the 7 Steps to a Great Garden. It will help you further and you can also ask for advice on the forum.

  15. Hello Rachel

    I am 50 this year and looking to reinvent myself. The one thing I do that does give me pleasure and positive comments from other people is gardening. I have always been good at DIY and enjoy the hardscaping side too. Is it too late to become a garden designer and if not how do I go about it? I would like to end up with a formal qualification perhaps even a degree. Can you give me any pointers? I stumbled across your site via you tube after searching courtyard garden design on yahoo. I appreciate the hard work you have put into your web site, thank you

  16. Hi Roy

    Sorry for delay in replying, I’ve been away for the last 3 weeks and somehow missed your comment when I checked my emails, think the spam filter ate you!

    Anyway, definitely not too late to retrain to become a garden designer. You may find that there are adult eduction colleges and resources locally to you. Would be worth doing a Google search to see who is nearest, then go in and meet the tutors and interview students about how good the course is.

    One of the main drawbacks with a lot of college courses is they have a set timetable they need to fill and can often pad the course material out. So it’s important to choose a course that will engage and not bore you.

    If you are happy to attend virtual classrooms, the best course I know of is run by The Oxford College of Garden Design . It’s run by Duncan Heather who did the same teacher training I did in a very extensive training programme on how to run a virtual school and present information in ways that suit adult learners. He really knows his stuff but the course is expensive.

    Alternatively if you want to dip your toe in and see if garden design is for you, try one of my online courses! Although my courses are aimed at homeowners, what I teach is to a level that is ideal for anyone wanting to do this professionally. I have a course opening back up in November for beginners or very soon they’ll be a homestudy course coming out.

    Hope that helps you, let us know if you take the plunge!
    Best wishes


  17. Tammy Liu says:

    Hi Everyone.
    I came across this site and found it very inspiring. I actually have just completed one of Rachel’s Great Garden formula course as we are in the process of building our house and has a very rough building lot to content with. I found the course very very helpful because I have learnt so much in this short course, much more than I have read from books because Rachel sends out videos to explain how each step works and gives you plenty of encouragement. I have already sent Rachel a more in-depth feed back of the course and I hope she can copy/cut and paste my respond to help her spread the her good work to assist other complete beginners like me.
    We hope to complete our house by early 2011. I am planning the garden in the mean time. I am hoping to starting making a start soon on part of the garden that is further away from the house as we have a 2 acre lot on a steep hill in Sunny Panama, Central America.

    Happy learning everyone.

  18. Hi Tammy,

    Many thanks for your feedback – you’ve inspired me to create a page for people that have completed the Great Garden Formula Course to leave feedback directly on this site.

    Looking forward to seeing how your garden turns out, sounds like you’ve got your work cut out!


  19. Hi,

    Came across your site when searching for information on how to survey a garden, great site especially the videos on measuring and planning. I have a very large garden on different levels and i want to transfer these levels on to a drawing (with sections through) so i can plan steps, pond etc and level the lawns. Do you have any tutorials on how to take levels on your site or can you recommend a book or wesite where i can learn how to do this?

    • Hi Stuart

      I don’t have any tutorials that will show that but I am just putting the finishing touches on a downloadable garden survey mini-course that will contain the information you need. Should be out in a couple of weeks or so and it includes video tutorials on how to survey levels. If you drop me an email, I will let you know as soon as it’s ready.

  20. hello,
    my name is Shital, I m doing Landscape Designing Course in India.
    your videos are really very helpful.
    thanx a lot for sharing them.
    take care

  21. hi Rachel
    I am so happy finely I find what I want . Great website I have looked to your vedio of garden design without much success your tutorials are brilliant and inspiralint I am hopping to do one of your courses. I am from Yemen

    • Rachel Mathews says:

      Thank you Zakaria, really pleased you’ve found the videos helpful. And I look forward to seeing you on one of the courses soon!

      Best wishes


  22. Hi Rachel
    Came across your site when searching for information on how to design a garden on you tube. Really loving the designs, especially the advanced contemporary ones..amazing transformations from average gardens. I am currently trying to design my own garden and I’m taking inspiration from your design styles. Your design ideas are very unique and very helpful but i am still confused to design my own garden. i am hoping to do one of your course. i am from Australia.

    • Rachel Mathews says:

      Hi there, thank you, that’s lovely to hear! The Great Garden Formula Course will help clarify what you need to do in your garden. I’ll guide you through the entire process and show you a simple technique that makes the whole process much, much easier. If you just have a small garden, then the Small Garden Formula will be a better option for you. Let me know if you have any questions about the courses. I’ve had quite a few Australians do the course, so you’ll be in good company! 😉

      Best wishes


  23. the most interesting part is when the builders reteing the wall and build the bed flowers. jammer has been cut off.
    a DIY guide on how to build will be a massive sucess in these crisis times.

  24. the most interesting part is when the builders reteing the wall and build the bed flowers. jammer has been cut off.
    a DIY guide on how to build will be a massive sucess in these crisis times.

  25. Hi;cn ihve it in french?thnk you

  26. Ben Cooke says:

    Hi Rachel,
    thanks for the great little videos, just what I needed as I’ve been trying to start my Garden Design Course with the KLC in London for the last 7 years! Yup thats 7!!! years. I have worked as a gardener and arborist most my life and would love to develop a career in the design aspect but have been too busy to study up until now with work and kids etc. I have been reluctant to start producing work for college having an innate fear of not being up to standard and though I have studied at all the processes that go into the design of a successful garden I have never seen the process developed as in your tutorial videos. You have brought the whole thing to life and I am very grateful, so thanks again. I also love your flowing organic designs incorporating sunken decking and the clean rendering of walls and beds.Thanks again, Ben x

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for much for your comment, it’s really great to hear that you’re planning on doing your course now! I’m really pleased you’ve found the video tutorials useful. Did you see the garden design workshop I ran last year? If not, that’s well worth taking a look at because I go into a lot more detail and show the entire process of designing a garden from beginning to end. You can see more about it here, if you’ve not already watched it:

      Let me know how you get on with the KLC course, I’d be interested to know, as I’m nosy like that! 😉

      Best wishes


  27. Your book is really great.

    • Thank you – that’s just made my day! 😀

      Was it one of the Amazon books you read? If so, would you be able to leave a review on Amazon for me? It really helps with getting the books known.



      • I have been looking at your videos for a while , and just bought the online course, as I found your videos so clear and useful. I also have been looking for your books on amazon, but cannot find them. Could you please give their titles?
        Thank you very much

  28. hi rachel,
    i am planning for gardening with aqua ponic on my roof which is very large.but dont have any idea.. will u plz help me…

  29. I’m considering putting aquaponics algae in my green property… I received the general principle nonetheless what goes in 1st? Would you set the fish in and let them settle in and cycle and after that plant…. or set the crops in and place the fish in afterwards? Also with aquaponics does one do h2o alterations ? . Many thanks :).

    • Hi Rickie,

      I’m afraid you’ve got me there – I have no idea on aquaponics, it’s not something I’ve tried yet. I think you’re going to need a specialist website to help you with that. Sorry not to be able to help you on this occasion.

  30. Dina Taher says:

    Hello, this is DinaTaher from Alexandria, Egypt. I have a garden that is surrounding my home from 4 sides, the measurements are so different. Plants and flowers have always been my weakest point. Forever I have lived in a small apartment with no balconies but I have filled half of it with plants. Now and finally I have a small house but unfortunately I cannot afford the prices I’ve seen. I’m going all around to get help on how to design the areas I’m planting. The place is close to the sea but still the weather is beautiful almost all year except for 3 months of winter. The soil is all ready for planting but I would so much appreciate just guidelines of how to put the setting of my plants regarding colors, sizes..

  31. Thivakaran Thivakaran says:

    how mach pirss ths cd

  32. Hi, re-designed my garden last year but am completely stuck when it comes to planting schemes could you please give me an idea of the cost for a planting scheme on it's own please (it is a small garden). Many thanks

  33. Hi Karen, sorry for the delay in responding, I've only just seen your message. Can you email me a copy of your plan so I can see the size of the planting areas? Then I'll be able to give you a quote for the planting scheme. You can get in touch via the contact form on the website:

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