Ecological Landscape Design

Schedules And Registration

Course Overview


Yes, a garden can be stunning and low maintenance, a haven for wildlife in urban environments, a self-sustaining ecosystem - all at the same time.

Landscape health starts with intelligent design. In this course you will explore the intricate relationships within ecosystems, and how you can work with them to create vibrantly beautiful and healthy gardens. Be prepared for an eye-opening experience that will challenge some commonly held beliefs, and will leave you empowered with a new understanding of how a garden works.

This course would be of interest to:

  • Those considering a career in landscape design
  • Landscapers wishing to offer more professional design services
  • Homeowners wishing to design their gardens in a professional manner.

Landscape professionals earn generous pre-approved Continuing Education Credits to maintain industry certifications (ISA, CNLA, BCSLA, SOUL).

Please note: these courses fill up very fast. If you would like to be put on the waiting list, please email us - and be sure to let us know your preferred location.

This program partially satisfies the requirements of:

Download a Brochure

Student Comment

Heide and Christina,

Yes it is working. Our challenge as students is to listen to what you are delivering through the absence of filters. Those filters that are woven from past accumulation of teachings into the fabric of our belief systems... then not thoroughly questioned until challenged. There is much resistance inherited in this process. What is it...mistrust? Or feeling the shakiness of the poor foundation we have constructed for ourselves...watching that fabric loosen in readiness, erode and crumble to fall away? Yikes!

Oh but to open ourselves like a vessel and let your words pour through like welcomed, fresh, pure water...It is so inspiring!

In my questioning to how am I to take notes to learn this the best, I saw that what you are telling us is so simple that a four year old could understand. Then it dawned on me that I could write my notes for that type of audience. Then the hilarious, inspirational thought came to me; that if I followed this idea/inspiration, even my agnostic, PHD candidate, biologist father would get it. And that is something I could aspire to.

I am the editor and co-founder of a parent/child newsletter at my son's elementary school and want to start a column on ecological landscaping and care. Our school prides itself on its active organic gardening and ecosystem "stewardship" so is willing and open to learning and observing. But mostly I am interested in creating a curriculum in this for the primary ages. What do you think? (about both ideas. in the newsletter, can I quote you or use you as a reference? Pass on course information?) I realize that I have no idea just what I am committing myself to, (considering your story about creating the curriculum we are following!) but it only feels perfectly right.

Nancy Brown, Victoria


Semester 1 - $695.00

Semester 2 - $695.00

Fees include:

      • Printed and online handouts
      • Unlimited access to our on-line plant database
      • Unlimited access to our on-line course resources, community center, including library, discussion forums and much more

Fees do not include

      • texts and supplies.

      Payment Options

      By Mail: Cheque drawn on a Canadian bank; Money order in Canadian funds

      On-line: Visa, Mastercard


      Please be sure you are familiar with our policies.


There are no prerequisites for the classroom version of the Ecological Landscape Design course.

However, it is highly recommended that students have previously completed the Organic Master Garderner and Plant Knowledge for Organic Gardeners courses.

We see repeatedly that students struggle in the design course because they do not have sufficient knowledge of ecosystem processes, and - very importantly - plants!

Student Comment

Thanks for putting together such a great program, and you have awesome teachers!
Liz Nienaber, Victoria


This is a very intensive course of study. Students are expected to:

  • Attend at least 90% of all classes
  • Satisfactorily complete all assignments
  • Study and practice 6-8 hours / week
  • Actively participate in class study groups and provide constructive feedback to fellow students
  • Read beyond the assigned readings to acquire a solid understanding of organic horticulture.

There are no formal exams in this course, as the emphasis is on developing practical skills and the ability to synthesize information. Student evaluations are based on attendance, participation, and quality of assignments. Upon successful completion students will receive a Certificate in Ecological Landscape Design.

Student Comment

I am very grateful for the Gaia College courses because I can actually answer the questions that my clients have and sell them on things they didn't even know existed!
Elly Cruickshank, Organic Landscaper


Required Text

Reid, Grant W., Landscape Graphics, 2002 Edition, Whitney Library of Design, New York.

Access to our extensive online resource library is included in the tuition.


Required Supplies

Please note: Drafting supplies will be demonstrated in class. You are then better able to decide which tools and supplies will be most useful to you. It's okay to hold off your purchase until then, as all these tools are readily available at any drafting equipment or larger stationary store. Most of the other supplies are items one would have in a normal household.

Drafting Supplies

  • Black fineline markers (Sharpie dual point, Micron 0.1
    or Staedtler pigment liner 0.1)
  • Pencils (hard, soft) preferably mechanical
  • Architect's scale
  • Circle template
  • 45/90 degree AND 30/60 degree BEVELLED triangles
  • White correction tape, not liquid
  • Painters' tape
  • Trace paper, 18" or 12" wide roll
  • 11 x 17 white paper
  • T-square, preferably with clear plastic edges
  • Extendable compass
  • Vinyl eraser
  • French curves


  • 100' vinyl measuring tape
  • Shorter metal measuring tape
  • Level
  • String
  • Tent pegs
  • Digital camera
  • Clip board
  • Notebook, sketch book
  • Magnetic compass


  • Crayons, OR Colour Felt Tip or
    Brush Tip Markers, OR Colour Pencils
  • Lettering Templates
  • Eraser Shield


Attendance at this program earns you the following Continuing Education Credits (CECs)

International Society of Arboriculture: Certified Arborist
Semester I - 22 Credits
Semester II -14 Credits

International Society of Arboriculture: Board Certified Management Arborist
Semester I - 22 Credits (Science 12.5, Practice 9.5)
Semester II - 14 Credits (Science 2.5, Practice 1, Management 10.5)

B.C. Society of Landscape Architects
As per Society guidelines - eligibility of this program has been confirmed

Canadian Horticultural Technician
Full required credits for yearly certification renewal

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