About us

The Garden Design Academy began in the UK in the year 2000, offering a small number of refresher classes and short courses to garden designers, and "Design your own Garden" lessons to amateur gardeners. The idea for a European centre for garden and horticulture education grew with demand from an industry crying out for information that was relevant and up to date. The Garden Design Academy in France opened its doors in 2008, with Colin Elliott as Principal.

Colin and Chantal Elliott moved to the Loire Valley of central France after a successful 40-year career in the gardening and horticultural industry. Having created and run the Design and Landscape Centre for more than 15 years they now pass on their knowledge and experience through the Garden Design Academy.

The Design and Landscape Centre was well-known for its innovative use of new technologies and Colin was an early advocate for the use of the internet and CAD by garden designers. It has won numerous awards for show gardens at Chelsea, Hampton Court and Gardeners' World Live.

Colin has worked in all areas of modern horticulture including hardy plant production, protected crops, parks, garden centres and wholesale nurseries, in addition to his garden design and landscape experience. This extensive knowledge is combined with that of colleagues in the industry to provide our students with the best training available by distance learning.


Chabris was chosen as the site of the Academy for a number of reasons. It is very accessible thanks to first-class high-speed rail links, its position within France’s excellent motorway system and the proximity of airports. It is easy to reach within a day from the UK and most of Europe.

Located in the Loire Valley of central France, the Garden Design Academy provides English language residential tuition in all aspects of horticulture, including garden design. The ever increasing range of subjects includes study tours of the gardens of the Loire Valley.

Chabris is a market town on the rive Cher, an attractive place to visit both for study and leisure.


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