Reading Time: 3 minutes

Richard Ambrose teaches the principles of web design to Garden Design students in 2018I was invited to teach web design at renowned horticultural college, Capel Manor.

I had no hesitation in accepting, when approached by client, RHS Gold Medal Winner and former Capel Manor graduate, Julian Tatlock, to deliver this.

For those who don’t know, within the horticultural arena, Capel Manor College has earned a reputation for it’s specialist ‘land based’ courses. Best known for landscape garden design, more recently they have diversified into providing courses in related areas such as arboriculture, floristry, animal management and even saddlery.

Course Aim

As part of the Garden Design and Plantmanship Degree, I was responsible for writing and delivering the web design module. The aim was to equip the undergraduates, with as much relevant information as possible, on what is required to build an effective website.

The degree itself prepares students to launch a new career, running their own landscape garden design businesses. As such, becoming skilled at selecting, and getting the most out of, a web design agency is useful knowledge to have.

Outsourcing specialist work, such as web design, was second nature to the mature students. Garden design projects usually require project managing others to deliver the vision. Also, most students had ran teams or a business previously, so recognised the value of outsourcing.

The course helped me to consider areas
I wouldn’t have before”
~ Fiona

Topics Included: Building Your Brand; Website Goals; Tech You Need to Know; Usability Principles; Fads & Innovations; Content Ideas; Getting Your Site Found; Legal Compliance.

Presenting Garden Design Online

Specific industries, share common characteristics and place different emphasis on key elements, when creating an online presence. Garden design is no exception.

Naming Your Business

Above all, avoid it being too similar to a competitor. Clients buy into the founder’s style and vision, so consider using your own name.

Creating a Logo

Clear and elegant, so people remember it. Sophisticated designers don’t have cutesy spades, plant pots etc in their logos.

Website Style

Backgrounds and layouts shouldn’t distract from the content. Keep it minimalist, so images have enough space to ‘breathe’.

Website Content

Primarily, visitors want to see your work. Avoid ‘image dumps’. Be selective. Critique inspiring work of others (but get permission).

Get Stunning Visuals

Must be sharp, fast loading and taken in good light. Get into photography or find someone who is, that you can work with. Consider 360° virtual tours and the use of 3D renderings.

What Makes a Good Garden Design Website Great

Portfolio design. Many are awkward to navigate & poorly categorised. How quickly can you find and show relevant work on your phone ? It’s a great tool, when meeting existing or prospective clients.

A well designed portfolio will help prospective clients easily find and see what’s possible for their garden.