Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 3
Hours: 2 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: HORT 21, 22, 26, 40 and 60B recommended.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate, through assigned projects, knowledge of planting design as it relates to the aesthetic, cultural, ecological, and functional use of plants in the landscape.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in creating planting plans for residential landscape projects.


The use of ornamental and native plant materials to express basic design principles in the landscape. Planting design theory as it applies to the aesthetic, cultural, ecological, and functional use of plant materials in the landscape. Graphics used for presenting planting designs. Special focus on the use of plants in garden designs.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Exhibit an understanding of the principles and theories of planting design.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of plant cultural requirements.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of use of plants with design elements.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in creating planting plans for residential landscape projects.
  5. Illustrate how planting design fits into the total design process.

Course Content

  1. The principles and theories of planting design as they relate to the aesthetic, cultural, ecological, and functional use of plants in the landscape
    1. Plant features (texture, form, size, symmetry, drought tolerance, etc.)
    2. Functional use of plants (visual control, screening, erosion control, etc.)
    3. Plant selection for different design schemes
  2. Plant cultural requirements
    1. Soils and fertilizers
    2. Climate
    3. Sun/shade applications
    4. Planting techniques
    5. Urban environments
      1. Planting for culturally dynamic urban zones
      2. Street tree planting
      3. Urban forestry
  3. Planting design elements
    1. Form
    2. Texture
    3. Line
    4. Color
  4. Creating planting design for residential landscape projects
    1. Analysis
    2. Conceptual design
    3. Schematic design
    4. Final design
    5. Planting plans
  5. Planting design and its place in the landscape design process
    1. Planting design graphics
    2. Contract documents
    3. Garden design vs. landscape design vs. landscape architecture

Lab Content

  1. Evaluate and select plant material
    1. Choose plants based on cultural requirements
    2. Select plants based on aesthetic requirements
    3. Select plant based on architectural uses
  2. Conceptual layout of plant material
    1. Prepare site analysis
    2. Prepare "bubble diagrams"
    3. Evaluate and select concepts
    4. Integrate components from varying concepts
    5. Prepare overall conceptual diagram
    6. Identify plant categories
  3. Selection of plant material for designs
    1. Choose plants based on cultural, aesthetic and architectural characteristics
    2. Specific arrangement of plants to perform functions
  4. Preparation of planting plan
    1. Draw plant symbols on plan
    2. Add plant tags
    3. Prepare plant schedule
    4. Complete plan with notes and title block information

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. Design laboratory with multi-media projection system.
2. Students provide drafting supplies and equipment as necessary to complete projects. Needs vary by student. Typical materials include vellum, tracing paper, drafting pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, erasing shield, drafting tape, T-square, parallel glider, architect's and engineer's scales, triangles (30/60 and 45), circle template, drafting brush, and drafting surface.
3. When taught online, on-going access to computer with email and internet access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Participation through attendance
Weekly exercises and projects
Final project

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Lab activities
Assigned reading activities
Self-guided research
Guest speakers

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Kingsbury, Noel, and Piet Oudolf. Planting: A New Perspective. 2013.

Although this book is over five years old, it is considered a seminal text in planting design.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading assignments will include reading approximately 10-20 pages per week from assigned and supplemental text
  2. Writing assignments include:
    1. Performing class drawing assignments
    2. Prepare maintenance schedule for recommended plantings
  3. Other:
    1. Lectures will address reading topics and experiences of instructor. Classroom discussion and demonstrations in support of lecture topics will be provided
    2. Guest speakers will provide additional perspectives on planting design


Ornamental Horticulture