Plan a Backyard Forest mini-course

How to map out your own wildlife-friendly food forest
Free tutorial
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (94 ratings)
2,160 students
1hr 2min of on-demand video
English [Auto]

Define what a forest garden is and why it’s so important to work with nature
Understand the importance of planning in the creation of a forest garden
Identify the key elements in surveying a plot for a forest garden
Complete a basic map of the plot, using either paper or free CAD software


  • Have an interest in gardening and wildlife


Using forest garden techniques, you transform your backyard into a lush food forest, working with nature to grow edible crops whilst creating a wildlife haven.

In this course, we cover:

  1. Food forest garden definition

  2. Reasons to plan

  3. Free PDF plan checklist

  4. How to create a map

  5. Bonus design tips

In this short course, we will look at what a forest garden is and why it’s so important to work with nature when growing edible crops, both for your garden and the wider landscape. The key characteristics of a forest garden are:

  1. Sustainable — self-contained yet connected to wider landscape

  2. Productive — edible, useful crops

  3. Wildlife friendly — working with nature, by design

  4. Layers — efficient use of available space

  5. Perennial — lower maintenance, higher nutrition

We cover the importance of planning, and the key things to consider when surveying your land. Inlcuded is a handy PDF checklist to download. The key areas are:

  1. Position — orientation, elevation & slope

  2. The elements — water, soil, wind, sun & climate

  3. Features — existing ecosystems, structures, utilities & access

  4. Situation — neighbours & privacy

Then we go through the process of creating a map, both a paper one and a CAD map based on a satellite photo, and different measuring techniques. We use QCAD software for the CAD map.

Finally, there are some bonus design tips.

Forest gardening is a sustainable, resilient and low-maintenance way of gardening. It emulates a woodland edge by using layers of perennial plants, with a permanent living ground cover.

Who this course is for:

  • Beginner/intermediate gardeners who are interested in creating their own wildlife friendly food forest


Wildlife food forest garden designer
Jake Rayson
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 148 Reviews
  • 2,432 Students
  • 2 Courses

Jake designs wildlife food forest gardens, remotely and local to Wales, UK.

He has a keen interest in the intersection of wildlife, edible and ornamental gardening and believes that forest gardens can be useful and beautiful for everyone. Fundamental to every garden is the creation of diverse habitat and plant species for wildlife, so his motto is “use natives where possible” in a forest garden. He livestreams regularly on YouTube.

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