About us – Irene School of Garden Design

About us - Irene School of Garden Design - The superior choice in landscape and garden design education. The Irene School of Garden Design has been actively presenting landscape and garden design courses, upholding industry standards since 2001. Our courses are tailored for individuals or groups, catering for the needs of our prospective students and the green industry. Courses range from introductory short courses for the enthusiast, or the new home owner, courses for installation and maintenance, to our renowned full-time and part-time courses that cover every aspect of the residential garden and landscape design industry.

Lecturers. Teaching is our purpose…
Lee Burger BSc Larch (UP), BL Hons (UP), ML Prof (UP)
“Strength through diversity and by the Hand that guides us”

Lecturers - Lee Burger

Lee Burger is the principal of Irene School of Garden Design, as well as the principal lecturer for the professional courses since 2006. Lee is a conferring lecturer and assessor for leading educational institutions and universities in South Africa, and is a prominent consultant on a variety of projects especially in Design and Architecture. Lee Burger is also the author of numerous books and articles comprising of his stake in the book Architective: a construction primer for South Africa, which is a collaborative publication between the countries’ leading Architects and Engineers. A contribution to Making Sense of Garden Design in Afrikaans and English, academic articles such as his contribution to outdoor lighting in the Lighting in Design register, as well as writer for magazine articles and newspapers. His contribution to the written and academic realm of Landscape Design and Landscape Architecture is of the utmost value, as well as being actively involved in the industry. Lee Burger is the owner of his own firm, ISGD, a division of the Irene School of Garden Design and is responsible for an array of projects in the industry including urban planning for parks and larger landscapes, eco developments and some of the country’s most desirable home gardens. Rooted and armed with his knowledgeable background, Lee Burger is a founding member of the Independent Gardener’s Forum for South Africa, an initiative to improve the quality of the industry and revive the gardening zeitgeist amongst the public. His passion is infectious and his ability to communicate ideas, educate and share knowledge touches the lives of almost everyone he meets.

Helen Lachenicht Author, Designer and Indigenous Plant Specialist
“To me gardening is not just about beautifying but gardens must also create healthy natural environments for us and all things wild to enjoy and live in.”

Lecturers - Helen Lachenicht

Helen Lachenicht is the founding member of the Irene School of Garden Design and co- author of the bestselling gardening book, Making Sense of Garden Design and Sinvolle Tuinontwerp published by Briza publications. She founded the school in 2001, and has a passion for indigenous plants. Helen Lachenincht is also an advisor for numerous magazine articles and newspapers. Helens’ passion for indigenous plants, understanding of design principles and sincerity to nature is what called her to share principles of garden design with the public. She is also an expert on designing gardens for pets, as well as planting schemes for flower beds, using colour, texture and form to your advantage. Helen actively and enthusiastically presents most of the introductory courses at Irene School of Garden Design. Had it not been for her dedication to the industry and yearning to share lessons learnt in the garden from years of personal experience, Irene School of Garden Design would not have become such a household name in the gardening industry.

Winifred Harms Photographer, freelance writer and designer
“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world”

Lecturers - Winifred Harms

Winifred Harms is a passionate gardener and designer as well as the photographer for Virére digital garden and lifestyle magazine. She writes frequent articles, and is also the style consultant for gardening events and on the forefront of garden, home and lifestyle trends. She is often asked to compile outdoor vignettes for events and photo shoots and is particularly talented in interior décor and design. Previously from a legal background, Winifred started to formally pursue a career in gardening in 2012, and completed her studies at the Irene School of Garden design, after which she designed both residential and light commercial projects. Her keen eye for detail, thoroughness and contagiously creative character is what spurred her on to become one of the pioneers for the Irene School of Garden Design distance learning initiative. Winifred partly presents the introduction courses, hosts workshops, and is the mentor and a lecturer for the distance learning programs offered by Irene School of Garden Design.

Support. We could not be the best without the help of others…

Kyle Blake Assistant digital media lecturer,  Neil Puntis Natural pools and landscapes, Jenny Slabber Talborne Organics David Davidson Award winning designer for Chelsea Flower Show,  Walter Language Insite Landscape Architects, Warno Rude Boogertman Architects, Plantland & Malanseuns  Nurseries, G.F.S.A members of the Gardener’s Forum for South Africa and Africa who accredits our courses and services for the accepted voluntary industry standard.

Our courses. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits…

Irene School of Garden Design offers a wide range of courses in Gauteng, South Africa. Our courses on offer are the 4 tier introduction courses starting with Garden Design principles followed by an add-on drawing and measuring course, a garden installation for beginners course, and completed with a garden maintenance course. Students can do either one of the tiers as a standalone component to gain the knowledge they seek, or combine components to form a complete introductory package. All tiers are presented in chronological order, 3 times per annum, allowing students to combine components as their schedules allow.

The advanced programs comprise of three course options containing almost all there is to know about residential garden design, installation and maintenance to become an extremely well rounded small landscape and garden designer. The advanced programs consist of

Option 1 - A 1 year, Full time course, presented during 3 mornings per week, this is specifically formulated for people who can study during the day.

Option 2 - A 16 month, Part time PLUS course, presented one evening per week, this course contains all the information of the Full-time course and is structured for people who are unable to study during the day and have to pursue their prospective career by studying after hours and occasional Saturday mornings.

Option 3 - A 1 year, Part time course, presented in one longer session covering 3 lessons per day, one Saturday per month, for students who are already proficient in computer aided design, as well as students who study in other fields of design such as Architecture, Graphic design, Interior Design and Botany that adds this course to their repertoire of expertise.

Irene School of Garden Design can also provide tailor made short courses and garden talks for pre-arranged groups such as garden clubs, firms and estates, to be presented at your venue, in Gauteng and other provinces.