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Professional Pathway to Becoming Registered


The SGD is committed to high standards of professional practice. To encourage Members to raise and maintain standards in garden design, and help them achieve accreditation, we have designed our Professional Pathway to Registered Membership.

The Pathway is a three-step program that should be undertaken while you are a Pre-Registered Member and working as a garden designer, typically over three to five years. Through the Pathway, we can guide your development and support you in achieving Registered Membership.

Step 1

Registration Starts Here

This introductory presentation provides useful information on the standards required and preparations you will need to make for accreditation. Pre-Registered Members and Students can download it here.

Step 2

Accreditation Advice Sessions

Accreditation advice sessions are design workshops where you can get a brief overview of the quality of your work and tips on how to develop it to accreditation standard. Sessions are purely advisory and comprise a general discussion on accreditation and what the SGD looks for in submitted work, followed by a review of the work you have brought in an open forum. Attending an Accreditation advice session is not compulsory but is very strongly recommended.

The advice sessions are offered free on an annual basis around the regions to Pre-Registered Members. Students have the opportunity to attend a presentation as part of an SGD Educator Status course or at an annual graduate presentation.

Step 3


Accreditation is a qualifying assessment - the Society’s way of evaluating your work and professional competence. It involves submitting your work to a panel of three highly qualified SGD Members, who assess and decide whether it is up to the required standard.

You will be asked to submit drawings and documents for three separate projects that should vary in character, size and scope, and have been completed within the previous five years. You may submit projects one at a time in a staged submission over a period of time, or all three projects at once for a full submission.

You must have a complete understanding of the drawings you submit, and be able to demonstrate that all the design decisions are your own, as well as a thorough knowledge of the project from survey through to construction.

The panel will assess your work in absentia, but you should be available on the day of your accreditation to receive a phone call from the accreditors. Written feedback is given on all work submitted. After the assessment, you will find out if you have passed, been referred for further work or does not meet the required SGD standard - there is no grading system. If all three pieces of your work pass, you become a Registered Member; but should parts of your application need to be referred, you will need to submit further material within six months.

An applicant has the right to appeal against the decision. Details on the appeals process can be found here. To find out more about this or to answer any other accreditation queries, please contact the SGD office.

Members can download our Accreditation Pack for more in-depth information on what is required. Those going through accreditation can download the accreditation checklist here.

You can find dates of upcoming accreditation advice sessions and other Professional Pathway sessions in our Events section.

The accreditation panel consists of 3 members of the accreditation committee who have been fully trained in the assessment process. 

Please note that should you need to pause your membership due to extenuating circumstances, your progress on the Pathway through accreditation will be kept as long as you inform the SGD office on - extension dates may be lengthened at the Chair's discretion.

The Experienced Pathway

A route to MSGD status for established designers and Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute (CMLI).

The Experienced Pathway route operates alongside the existing accreditation processes for Pre-Registered members and Students.

Aimed at established garden designers with a minimum of 5 years practicing garden design, either as a business owner or as part of a practice, this option will require applicants to submit a portfolio of 10 built projects they have designed, for review by the Co-chairs of accreditation. This route is also open to Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute (CMLI).

The portfolio will need to show a range of different designs, and the review will apply the same standards as those that have to be met by applicants on the standard Pre-Registered accreditation process. If the portfolio submitted does not reach the required standards, the candidate would be requested to join the Pre-registered category as usual and start on the normal pathway to accreditation as outlined above.

The Process

This route is a direct submission step on the Pathway, costing the same annually as a Pre-Registered member. Application can be done via the online application form, by choosing Pre-Registered Member (Experienced Pathway).

All applicants wishing to move into Registered Membership must submit one project that follows the guidelines for the existing accreditation process. This project will be presented to the accreditation panel for review at a regular accreditation session. Should the submission be unsuitable or have multiple elements missing, applicants would be expected to follow the usual process – referral element resubmission or submitting further projects depending on actual outcome.

If the submission reveals that the candidate requires further development to reach the required standard, you would move to the Pre-Registered category and start on the normal pathway to accreditation.