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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Design Landscapes to be more people friendly

  • Discover and learn about the relationship between outdoor environments and human well-being.
  • Learn about considerations of design concepts and the components of the landscape.
  • Understand how to integrate biophilic practices into existing landscapes.

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Learn to Design More People Friendly Landscapes

  • Learn to Design More People Friendly Landscapes.
  • Learn how to apply biophilic design concepts to -
    • Gardens.
    • Parks.
    • Industrial Landscapes.
    • Commercial Landscapes.
    • City and Urban Streets.
    • Any other outdoor environments.
  • Understand and evaluate how landscapes impact on the mental and physical well-being of people.
  • This is an important course for -
    • People working in the landscape industry.
    • Professionals engaged in developing the environment, such as architects, planners, health service provides, builders and more.

Biophilic design incorporates our need to be with nature by using natural elements and systems in the design of the built environment. The underlying principle is that the inclusion of nature in both man made landscapes and buildings has a significant impact on our health and well being. Biophilic design is more than simply using plants everywhere because it engages natural systems and processes.

People's health can be affected by many different factors and providing natural and environmentally sympathetic surroundings is one route to promoting the well-being of individuals.

Course Structure and Lesson Content

Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises 10 lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1. Relationship between Outdoor Environments and Human Well-being

  • What is Biophilia?
  • Understanding Biophobia.
  • Health Problems of Biophilic Design - Urban Heat Island Effect, Psychological and Physiological Street, Breakdown of Ecosystems, Environmental.
  • Degradation.
  • Health Benefits of Biophilic Design - Theories of Stress Recovery, The Value of Green Space.
  • Terminology Explained.

Lesson 2. Design Considerations

  • Introduction - Evolution of Design Considerations.
  • Learning from Past Mistakes - Not Designing for Use, Failure to Involve the Local Community, Isolation from Nature, Poor Accessibility.
  • Good Biophilic Design - Connection with Nature, Sense of Place, Long-Term Sustainability, Sensory Stimulation, Beneficial User Experience.
  • Practical Considerations - Multidisciplinary Approach, Town Planning, Consideration of Outcomes.
  • Looking at the Future - Further Research, Amendments to National Standards.

Lesson 3. Patterns and Principles in Urban Design

  • Introduction.
  • Design Principles.
  • Design Patterns.
  • Case Study - A Blueprint for Biophilic Design.

Lesson 4. Components of the Landscape

  • Introduction - Biophilic Components.
  • Hard Landscape Components - Surfaces, Stone and Brick, Timber, Metal.
  • Soft Landscape Components - Turf, Plants.
  • The Relationship Between Health and Design Components - Direct Experience of Nature, Indirect Experience of Nature, Experience of Space and Place.
  • Some Natural Components in More Detail - Trees, Vegetation, Animals, Water.

Lesson 5. Providing Services to People

  • Introduction.
  • Five Principles of Healthy Places.
  • Water Harvesting, Retention, and Re-use - Stormwater, Rainwater, Urban Runoff, Integrated Urban Water Management.

Lesson 6. Affecting the Individual

  • Introduction.
  • Biophilia in Different Environments - Environmental Stress, General Adaptation Syndrome, Physiological Effects of Stress, Biophilia in the Workplace.
  • Conclusions for Biophilic Design.

Lesson 7. Affecting Environmental and Climate Conditions

  • Introduction.
  • Water Contaminants - Public Health (Water Chemical Problems, Microbiological Problems), Water Quality for Aquaria and Ponds, Legionnaires Disease in Soil and Potting Media.
  • Using Plants to Extract Contamination - Growing Plants in Contaminated Soil.
  • Biological Filters for Water Pollution and Waste Water.
  • Air Quality.
  • Roof and Wall Gardens to Improve Air Quality and Aesthetics.
  • Plant Selection - Climatic, Structural, Aesthetic.
  • Construction of Vertical and Roof Gardens.
  • Plants Suited to Roof and Vertical Gardens.

Lesson 8. Assessing and Analysing Existing Landscapes

  • Introduction.
  • Assessing the Landscape.
  • Measuring Pollutants.
  • Creating Buffer Zones for Pollution.
  • Designing a New Home Garden using Biophilic Design Principles.

Lesson 9. Integrating Biophilic Design into Existing Landscape

  • Introduction.
  • Retrofitting Greenwalls and Roofs.
  • Redevelopment of Public Institutions.
  • Water Chemistry of Runoff.
  • Reducing the Use of Pest Control Chemicals in the Garden.

Lesson 10. Working in/ Improving Urban Development

  • Introduction.
  • Challenges for Design - inc. Permaculture, Hydroponics, etc.
  • Working in Urban Development.
  • Case Studies.

Course Aims

  • Discuss the relationship between physiological and psychological health and outdoor environments.   
  • Determine the important biophilic factors which should be considered when designing or renovating an outdoor space.
  • Explain different principles and patterns which have been identified as underpinning biophilic landscape design.
  • Describe how different elements of an urban landscape can contribute in a positive way to human well-being.
  • Describe how a range of landscaping techniques and methodologies can be utilised to benefit human wellbeing by encouraging use of public spaces.
  • Evaluate the relationship between the health of individuals and different environments, and how biophilic design can be of benefit to well-being.
  • Evaluate landscapes and determine actions that can be taken to improve the environmental conditions of people in those places.
  • Understand how to assess and analyse existing landscapes.
  • Redesign a landscape to meet biophilic requirements for a renovation of an existing landscape.
  • Create a design to show how an urban (town or city) location may be improved to meet biophilic criteria.

Where Can Biophilic Landscaping Be Used?

What you learn in this course has very real applications in both rural and urban environments; in commercial and residential situations; and in fact any situation. It does however have a particularly important relevance to places where the environment is under greater stress, and often that will be in cities and their surrounds.

Urban development offers opportunities to make environments more biophilic. In recent years, whole cities have been called biophilic and there is now a website established by the University of Virginia's School of Architecture (UVA) which is dedicated to listing cities which meet biophilic criteria. The university collaborates with planners and designers of cities around the world in assessment of those cities. They help find solutions to obstacles which impede the incorporation of nature, and monitor progress, as well as offering advice, research and teaching in the area.

A biophilic city is one which has plenty of nature in it and which seeks to encourage and develop interactions with nature.  Professor Tim Beatley from the UVA describes biophilic cities as having the following qualities:

  • Abundance of nature - there is plenty of nature close to many of the city dwellers. The biodiversity is rich, and it is cared for and nurtured. Such cities are organic and 'natureful'.
  • Relationship with nature - residents of biophilic cities have a caring relationship with the local flora and fauna, as well as other aspects of the natural environment such as the climate. Their relationship with flora and fauna extends to recognisingdifferent species and wanting to look after them. They also relate to the topography of the land and other elements of the place which define the local environment.
  • Outdoor activities - there are many opportunities for residents of biophilic cities to get outdoors and mingle with nature whether through walking in parks or cycling along tree lined roads. The city encourages people to be outdoors and enjoy the connection with nature.
  • Sensory stimulation - the environments in biophilic cities offer a great deal of sensory stimulation including sights, sounds, odours or touch. Such varied stimulation encourages and enhances our relationships with nature.
  • Education opportunities - there is a focus on teaching and learning to recognise the importance of nature within biophilic cities. Residents have many opportunities to interact with nature as part of their learning experience. There are social clubs and group activities which encourage participation in talks, activities or events in which knowledge of nature and natural systems can be passed on. Examples include volunteer work in revegetation projects or garden restoration.
  • Suitable infrastructure - within biophilic cities there is suitable infrastructure which helps city dwellers to get close to nature and feel connected with it. It may be through museums and art galleries or more directly through wildlife parks outdoor activities.
  • Global outlook - biophilic cities do not see themselves as detached from the rest of the world. Instead, they recognise that they are part of a global effort to protect nature and biodiversity. They are involved in conservation initiatives on the world stage. 

Why Study With ACS?

At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.

Flexible Studies

  • You study at your own pace.
  • You study where you want to - online from home or where you choose.
  • You study when you want to - fit your studies around your own busy lifestyle - continue working whilst you study.

Making The Right Choice

Choosing the right course and the right options is important.  If you have any questions, please get in touch with our Horticulture tutors - - they will be happy to answer your questions and discuss your goals.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Dr Lynette Morgan (Horticulture)Lyn worked with Rivendell Mushroom Farm between 1986 and 88; and then as a research assistant and technician for a few years while undertaking university studies. In 1991 she graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons) which covered broad horticultural sciences, as well as nursery vegetable and fruit production. Throughout the 90's she worked in both the nursery industry and horticultural crop production, before establishing her own business "Suntec" which has built an exceptional international reputation providing consulting services; particularly in hydroponic crop production. Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing GrassesThe Growing & Knowing Grasses ebook will provide you with everything that you need to know about grass. Get to all about the botany of grasses, how to identify them, how to cultivate grasses, the different uses for grasses and also includes a detailed illustrated encyclopedia of grasses and grass-like plants.
Growing and Using Perennial PlantsWhen designed and grown well, a perennial garden produces a blaze of colour for many months – starting in spring, flourishing through summer, and beyond into autumn.
Climbing PlantsClimbing Plants is an excellent reference for professionals in the landscaping/ gardening industry, for students or for the hobby gardener. Explaining which climbers can be used for specific situations, this ebook is a great starting point using climbing plants in the garden. Topics within this book include Introduction and growing climbers, directory of climbers, how to use climbers, bougainvillea and clematis.
Garden Design Part 2Part 2 of the Garden Design Series is an inspiring accompaniment to the first book, but works equally well in its own right. The Garden Design Part 2 ebook is ideal for students and landscaping professionals. Brimming with ideas and practical advice for designing a wide variety of different gardens. You will learn about different styles of gardens and how to create a style to suit a site or client. Topics covered in this ebook include 18/ (Continuing on from Garden Design 1) Surfacing ideas, 19/ Garden arches, pergolas & pavilions, 20/ Dealing with confined spaces, 21/ Water gardens, 22/ Using plants in the garden, 23/ Formal gardens, 24/ Natural gardens, 25/ Rainforest gardens, 26/ Coastal gardens, 27/ Cottage gardens, 28/ Late Victorian/Edwardian gardens, 29/ Oriental gardens, 30/ Mediterranean gardens, 31/ Mexican style, 32/ Minimalist landscape design and 33/ Eclectic gardens.