Great Garden Formula online course student Zakes, an airline attendant from South Africa, shares his garden journey.

His story, as you’ll see in the videos, is a remarkable one…

Zakes lives in Johannesburg. Working as a flight attendant enabled him to visit gardens all over the world. Inspired by all the amazing gardens he saw on his travels, Zakes went about designing his own garden…

DIY Garden design wasn’t easy…

In a 7 year period, Zakes landscaped his garden 5 times without success.

Try as he might, Zakes could not figure out why his garden wasn’t looking as good as all those he visited. No matter how hard he worked on the garden, it never looked right.

Frustrated, he started to research online…

Successful Garden Design videos to the rescue!

Zakes discovered UK garden designer Rachel Mathews on YouTube and avidly watched twenty of her videos back-to-back. He liked the way she explained design and he started to understand the importance of it.

Rachel teaches garden design in a very counterintuitive way (hint: it’s not all about the plants and features!). The principles of garden design work anywhere in the world, so Zakes purchased her flagship course, the Great Garden Formula.

Following the garden design course, Zakes came up with several designs (which you’ll see presented in the first video). In this next video, Zakes gives us a guided tour of his garden…

Designing the dream garden…

Garden design needn’t be difficult if you follow the formula!

If you’d like to do the same course Zakes did, check out our best online garden design course the Great Garden Formula.

This is our most in-depth course and includes masterclasses to get you to a professional level. It’s suitable for both complete beginners and landscape professionals wishing to advance their skills.

The course is 100% online and you can ask Rachel questions in the members’ area.



Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 30 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

    4 replies to "Online garden design course student – Zakes’ garden"


      WELL DONE ZAKE and Rachel…. Zake I hope the drought is SA is not affecting you as much in Jo’Burg as it is in the Cape… It’s a terrific design – well done again ! (Y)

      • Zakes

        Hi Janine

        Thanks for the wonderful comment, it’s been worth it! About the rain, we have been fortunate in Gauteng, Johannesburg area, especially from mid summer, the rains have been pouring, thank God! However I still had to change some of my more exoctic water thirsty plants for some indeginous water wise plants, but overall, the results are amazing, I can’t thank Rachel enough for sharing her knowlegde and advice.

        I hope you’re having success with your garden too, all the best.. 🤗

    • Zakes

      Wow! Stunning results! Okay, that’s a little biased I know, seeing that I designed it 🙈 however I must convey my appreciation to all of you for your wonderful comments and encouragement. Special thanks to Rachel and her awesome team for guiding me through this process .

      If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be featured in the Successful Garden Design Hall of Fame, I would have laughed at them for days and probably fell off my garden bench at such a ludicrous suggestion/prediction.

      It’s been almost a year since I began with the SGDF course, even though I’m not completely finished implementing my design, the result are amazing, friends and relatives and neighbours are convinced I hired a professional garden designer. They don’t want to believe I acquired the knowledge from an online garden design course, however the results speak for themselves, some have even challenged me to design their gardens just to prove it.. 😃 So I think I’m going to start charging for my designs from now on, especially now that I’m on the Hall of Fame! 😉

      Sincere thanks to everyone, I hope -and somehow I know this- that your gardens are bringing you joy and contentment, especially if you designed and built them yourselves.

      Happy gardening… 🌱

      • Rachel Mathews

        Thanks so much Zakes and great that you’ll be designing for others now you’ve completed the course. You’re a brilliant example of just how much can be learned from doing an online course!

        Good luck and keep us posted on your progress and any other gardens you design 🙂

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