Garland was educated at St Mary's College, Southampton and St Edmund Hall, Oxford where he studied English and was president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. b His poetry had appeared in John Lehmann's London magazine and the annual PEN anthology during his teens.
Garland started Poetry International in 1963 with Ted Hughes and Charles Osborne. He was a director and producer for the BBC's Music and Arts Department (1962–1974), and worked on its Monitor series. In 1964, he directed the Monitor film, "Down Cemetery Road", about Philip Larkin, in which John Betjeman also appeared. His work with the BBC arts department also included interviews with Noël Coward (1969), Stevie Smith, and Marcel Marceau. His television film of The Snow Goose (1971) won a Golden Globe for "Best Movie made for TV", and was nominated for both a BAFTA and an Emmy.
Meanwhile his career in the theatre had begun to develop. In 1967 he created a one man show based on John Aubrey's Brief Lives with Roy Dotrice (and Michael Williams in a later revival) and the following year directed the original production of Alan Bennett's Forty Years On with John Gielgud  as the headmaster of a decaying public school called Albion House. In the mid-1970s, the musical Billy, based on Billy Liar, with Michael Crawford in the lead was performed at Drury Lane, He served as the Artistic Director for the Chichester Festival Theatre twice, 1981–1985 and 1990–1994, where he directed over 20 productions. He was the only director to have had four plays running in the West End of London at the same time.
In 1978 Patrick directed Under the Greenwood Tree at Salisbury Playhouse. This production transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand London West End in the spring of 1979. In 1980, Garland was responsible for the York Mystery Plays. He directed the revival of My Fair Lady on Broadway in the early 1980s with Rex Harrison (about whom he wrote The Incomparable Rex) and Don Giovanni and in Japan, Handel's opera Ottone. He also directed Eileen Atkins in his own adaptation of Virginia Woolf's book A Room of One's Own.
In 2000, he directed Simon Callow in The Mystery of Charles Dickens by Peter Ackroyd, followed by a tour that culminated in Australia and Broadway (the 2012 revival did not directly involve Garland), and Joan Collins in Full Circle by Alan Melville. He also worked with Alan Bennett again, directing Patricia Routledge in the second Talking Heads and Bennett himself in Telling Tales.
He directed the film of Ibsen's A Doll's House (1973) with Claire Bloom, Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Richardson, and his 1971 television film of The Snow Goose won Golden Globe: "Best Movie made for TV" and was nominated for both a BAFTA award and an Emmy. He directed Fanfare for Elizabeth at Covent Garden on Queen Elizabeth II's 60th Birthday, and in 1986 at Westminster Abbey Celebration of a Broadcaster of the late Richard Dimbleby. 1989 he directed the Thanksgiving Service in Westminster Abbey for Lord Olivier. In 1998 Garland devised 'A Christmas Glory' for the 300th anniversary of St Paul's Cathedral. He has also devised and presented several performances for the Charleston Festival.
Garland had been working on his memoirs as well as a book about Corsica. Both remained unfinished at the time of his death.
- Brief Lives (1967)
- The Wings of The Morning (1989)
- Oswald The Owl (1990)
- Angels in The Sussex Air (1995), an anthology of Sussex poets
- The Incomparable Rex (1999), a memoir of Rex Harrison
- Abstract & Brief Chronicles (2007), a series of essays read by Patrick Garland himself
The London Magazine (1954), New Poems (1956), Sussex Seams (1996), Poetry West, Encounter.
Transatlantic Review (1976), England Erzaht, Gemini, Light Dark Blue.
- Selected plays
Introductions & articles
- 'These Things also are Spring's', poems by Edward Thomas, selected and with an introduction by Patrick Garland, Folio Society, 1988
- 'Sussex Seams:A Collection of Travel Writing' by Paul Foster, introduction by Patrick Garland, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 1996
- Charleston Magazine, published by the Charleston Trust
- 'The Habit of Art' by Alan Bennett, theatre programme contribution by Patrick Garland, Royal National Theatre, 2009
- articles for The Oldie.
- Chichester Festival Theatre Productions
- The Apple Cart ... directed by Patrick Garland
- As You Like It ... directed by Patrick Garland
- King Lear in New York ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Pickwick ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Pygmalion ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Chimes at Midnight ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Minerva Theatre Productions at Chichester Festival Theatre
- Vita & Virginia ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Elvira '40 ... directed by Patrick Garland
- Selected other productions
- The Rebel (1964), directed by Patrick Garland, Aldwych Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, with Peter Bowles, William Marlowe, Bryan Pringle, Clive Swift, David Warner.
- Cyrano by Edmond Rostand, adapted & directed by Patrick Garland, National Theatre Company, Cambridge Theatre (1970)
- Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy adapted by Patrick Garland (1970)
- Getting On, Brighton & London (1971)
- Hedda Gabler, Broadway (1971)
- A Doll's House, Broadway (1971)
- Hair, Israel (1972)
- Mad Dog, (1973)
- Billy, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London (1974)
- Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot, Chichester Cathedral
- Shut Your Eyes and Think of England, (1978)
- Kipling by Brian Clark with Alec McCowen, theatre & on Channel 4 television.
- Beecham by Caryl Brahms & Ned Sherrin (1980) with Timothy West
- Eagle in New Mexico by D. H. Lawrence (1980), with Ian McKellen, Paolo Soleri Theatre, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA
- My Fair Lady (1981), Broadway revival with Rex Harrison, directed by Patrick Garland. The production won a Tony Award 1980
- Canaries Sometimes Sing by Frederick Lonsdale, Albery Theatre (1986–87)
- The Secret of Sherlock Holmes by Jeremy Paul, Wyndham's Theatre (1988–1989)
- The Tempest with Denis Quilley as Prospero, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (1996)
- An Enormous Yes, with Alan Bates from the writing of Philip Larkin... adapted & directed by Patrick Garland.
- Wooing in Absence, performed by Benjamin Whitrow & Natalia Makarova, adapted by Patrick Garland from the letters of Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes, (2000), Charleston Farmhouse, later at Tate Britain
- The Woman in Black, Old Globe, San Diego & Minetta Lane Theatre, New York, (2001)
- Christopher Columbus, music by William Walton, words by Louis MacNeice, Brighton Dome, (2002)
- An Enormous Yes'', with Oliver Ford Davies, Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, (2006)
- 2007 and 2008
- 2008 & 2009-2010
- 2010 Recital with Patricia Routledge of a spiritual anthology (for charity), Sullington, Sussex
- 2011 Dr. Marigold and Mr. Chops by Charles Dickens performed by Simon Callow, tour
- Selected television & film
- 1964 - "Down Cemetery Road", film with Philip Larkin & John Betjeman, Monitor (TV)
- 1969 - The Zoo in Winter, with Jonathan Miller, BBC (TV)
- 1965 - Beginning to End by Samuel Beckett with Jack MacGowran, BBC
- 1971 - The Stronger (TV) by August Strindberg with Britt Ekland and Marianne Faithfull
- 1971 - The Snow Goose (TV)
- 1973 - A Doll's House (cinema film)
- 1974 - The Cay (film) (TV), with James Earl Jones
- 1980 - "Every Night Something Awful"
- 1980 - "Chaos Supersedes E.N.S.A."
- 1987 - "Laurence Olivier's 80th Birthday Celebrations: What Will Survive of Us is Love"-poetry read by Olivier, directed by Patrick Garland
- 1990 - A Room of One's Own (TV)
- 1998 - "Talking Heads 2"; episode "Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet"
- 2000 - "Telling Tales" by Alan Bennett
- 2000 - The Mystery of Charles Dickens (TV)
- Television (as writer)
- 1960 - "The Hard Case" with John Hurt
- 1961 - "The Younger Generation"
- 1961 - "Flow Gently Sweet Afton" with John Thaw
- 1972 - I Spy a Stranger
- 1980 -"Every Night Something Awful""
- 1980 - "Chaos Supersedes E.N.S.A."
- See "Patrick Garland, Alexandra Bastedo Champions Animal Sanctuary, but other sources date his death from the next day. For example: "Theatre director Patrick Garland dies", telegraph.co.uk, 20 April 2013
- "Patrick Garland, theatre producer and director, dies aged 78". BBC News. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
- St Edmund Hall notable alumni. Retrieved 20 April 2013
- The Times Obituary Patrick Garland. Retrieved 22 April 2013
- Anthony Thwaite "", guardian.co.uk, 23 April 2013
- Michael Coveney Obituary: Patrick Garland, The Guardian, 22 April 2013
- Garland, Patrick. "Filming with Philip Larkin", The Listener, December 12, 1985
- Obituary: Patrick Garland, telegraph.co.uk, 21 April 2013
- Darren Dalglish "The Mystery of Charles Dickens", London Theatre Archive, 6 September 2000
- Henry Hitchings "The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Playhouse Theatre", Evening Standard, 18 September 2012
- Chichester Festival Theatre at Fifty by Kate Mosse, 2012
- Walker, Tim (2008). Two old stagers find vigour in Brief Lives, The Spectator, February 2, 2008.
- Patrick Garland at the Internet Broadway Database
- Patrick Garland at the Internet Movie Database
- The Snow Goose at the Internet Movie Database
- Patrick Garland as actor, Theatre Archive, University of Bristol
- Patrick Garland as author, Theatre Collection, University of Bristol
- Patrick Garland as director, Theatre Archive, University of Bristol