Ecological Landscape Design Certificate




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.

Fees include handouts, unlimited access to our on-line plant database, unlimited access to our on-line course resources, community center (including library), discussion forums and more. Fees do not include textbook or supplies (to be discussed in the first class).

This program is co-sponsored with Gaia College ( and endorsed by the Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL).


Students should meet all the following prerequisites before registering:

  • Have internet access
  • Have an email account
  • Students must arrange their own transportation to off-site events
  • The Organic Master Gardener Certificate and Ecological Plant Knowledge courses are recommended as prerequisites; we see students struggle in this design course if they do not have sufficient knowledge of ecosystems and — very importantly — plants
  • Semester 1 is a prerequisite to Semester 2


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

  • Attend at least 90% of classes
  • Satisfactorily complete all assignments
  • Study and practice 6-8 hours a week
  • Actively participate in class study groups

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 the quality of assignments.


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 can earn generous pre-approved Continuing Education credits to maintain industry certificates (ISA/CNLA/BCSLA/SOUL).


Rob Miksza

Rob has always had his hands in the soil. His grandparents were avid gardeners who started a victory garden in the shadow of World War 2. They owned a very small urban lot yet managed to produce amazing abundance to feed their family. It was they who instilled in him the sense of joy one can get from gardening and encouraged him to keep the family tradition of growing food. Now Rob shares that joy of gardening and knowledge with others.

Since his youth he passionately studied gardening and design. As an adult he continued his education, graduating from Fanshawe College as a Landscape Designer and later obtaining his Bachelor in Landscape Architecture from the University of Guelph. He currently works in this field with a focus on international park/resort design but maintains a personal love for home gardening. For the last 8 years he’s worked with local organizations developing community gardens all over the Lower Mainland, while hosting workshops geared towards educating gardeners about producing food within the very specialized growing conditions of the West Coast.


I was very happy with the course content and learned a lot over the two semesters of the course. Rob did a great job as an instructor. He was very helpful and supportive, making himself readily available to address questions and concerns. His depth of knowledge as well as passion for the course material helped make the course a joy to take. The workload was a bit heavy at times but I feel this necessary considering the nature of the coursework. Overall, I have no regrets taking this course and am fully satisfied with the course content and degree of instruction provided.Ryan
I loved Rob…he is great. The course was everything and more for me. Sad there isn’t another level. Top notch indeed.Jennifer, Urban Dames Landscaping
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
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