On the night of the 23 September 2022, at The Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, London, the top names from the garden design industry gathered to witness the announcements of the winning gardens for this year's Society of Garden Designers Awards 2022.
The panel of 13 judges, comprised garden designers, landscape architects, horticultural experts and garden editors, selected their shortlist from almost 60 entries across 13 categories. From there they decided on the designs that they felt exhibited award-winning qualities.
Chair of the Judging Panel, Richard Sneesby commented: 'As always, the gardens showcase lots of new ideas, innovative materials and current planting trends, but this year especially the designers, clients and contractors have a strong focus on environmental issues.'
'Plants which are resilient to climate change and global pathogens, sustainable water management, minimizing carbon footprint of materials supplied, wildlife friendly gardens and health and well-being are all evident within many of the garden design ideas.'
Winners of the Society of Garden Designers Awards 2022
'The judges were delighted with the range of entries which covered the stimulating work of the Society of Garden Designers (opens in new tab) members both here in the UK and internationally,' says Richard.
'In particular we were pleased to see the wide range of entries in the smaller garden categories which often celebrate the work of new members and those who have recently joined the profession.'
Get inspired by the winning designs for each of the 13 categories.
International Commercial or Community Landscapes & Gardens and Grand Award
This design by Tommaso Del Buono MSGD (opens in new tab) is the garden of a corporate headquarters with a difference. It took home the award in two categories: International Commercial or Community Landscapes & Gardens and the coveted Grand Award.
'I was asked to create, from scratch, a sequence of new gardens and spaces, not only aimed to add beauty and harmony to the daily work life of many, but also convey the company’s unwavering commitment to environmental improvement and preservation.'
The judges felt that this design, applying a number of landscape design principles, more than delivered on its aims. 'A serious piece of high quality landscape design, that cleverly combines commercial landscaping, with garden design, to create a generosity of space, while maintaining a sense of intimacy, you might expect of a private small garden.'
UK Commercial or Community Landscapes Gardens and People's Choice Award
The principle designer on this double-award winning project, Ann Marie Powell MSGD of Ann Marie Powell Gardens (opens in new tab) commented: 'The garden was [intended] to inspire gardeners at all interest and experience levels, both new food growers and the experienced, and was a priority for us as a practice, and indeed the RHS (opens in new tab), that the food garden reach out to diverse communities of edible growers.'
The judges saw it as 'a wonderfully immersive public space displaying a lovely mix of edible, annual and perennial planting designed to inspire and educate visitors.'
What really stands out about the kitchen garden ideas in this space, is how well they demonstrate just how beautiful a productive food garden can be.
Ann Marie and her team achieved this by ensuring, 'a range of interest throughout the year, looking at the ornamental properties of height, form, structure, color and wildlife benefits.'
International Residential Gardens & Landscapes
Gavin McWilliam MSGD & Andrew Wilson FSGD (opens in new tab) topped the competition in the International, International Residential Gardens & Landscapes category with their imaginative design set in an arid region of Portugal.
What stood out about this design is how effortlessly it sits in its surroundings, and is an ideal example of how a garden should not 'fight' against its natural environment, but rather embrace it, in order to create a truly sustainable garden as well as a beautiful one.
The judges felt that this dry garden design offered a new aesthetic of naturalistic and native planting inspired by the surrounding landscape.
They said: 'Demonstrating a wonderful contrast between the simplicity of the design and the architecture of the house, the designers have created a place of sanctuary and retreat, that looks and feels completely at home in its surroundings.'
Large Residential Landscapes & Gardens
For the judges, this winning garden, designed by Matthew Wilson MSGD (opens in new tab) was: 'A carefully considered design, which blends beautifully into the surrounding hills while enhancing the architecture of the house and buildings.'
They particularly loved how the existing materials, original features and established plants were thoughtfully integrated alongside a planting palette, that demonstrates gently blended color combinations and textures.
Similarly for Matthew, the most interesting aspect of this large garden design was how he reused and upcycled materials such as walling stone, barrel top coping and paving.
'Finding ways to incorporate these elements in the design that felt purposeful and not "tacked on" made for a fascinating challenge,' says Matthew.
Medium Residential Landscapes & Gardens and The Judges Award
'This is a truly impressive garden demonstrating a strong sense of cohesion, great use of focal points and beautiful planting,' according to the judging panel.
'Built on a challenging site, the designer has managed to incorporate difficult topography to great effect, creating a wonderful sense of privacy and seclusion in this wildlife garden, while successfully blending the surrounding woodland into the space.'
It was a worthy winner for both the Medium Residential Landscapes & Gardens category and The Judges Award. Designer, Matthew Childs (opens in new tab), loves the fact that there is no conflict between the needs of the client and the wildlife in the garden, rather the space is mutually beneficial to both.
'Although the garden is designed with the needs of people at its heart, our planting design and the inclusion of a large pond and waterfalls have also made the garden a habitat for wildlife,' Matthew says.
Small Residential Landscapes & Gardens
Yet another stand-out entry in this year's awards, in the way that it challenges the expected. Designer Tom Massey (opens in new tab) has pulled off an 'outstanding piece of design that challenges the more typical approach to suburban sloping gardens with something that is bold, playful and very attractive,' say the judges.
'This was an incredibly technical build with multiple specialist sub-contractors working under Landscape Associates (the landscape contractor),' explains Tom.
'There was a point where the scheme felt very hard – and I was slightly concerned it would feel too industrial. But as soon as the plants went in it all made sense, and the softness provided a perfect counterpoint to the hard landscape.'
Garden Jewel and Planting Design
Stefano Marinaz MSGD (opens in new tab) has offered a truly inspiring design of a residential garden which was awarded first prize in two categories: the Garden Jewel and Planting Design.
A far cry from the standard garden layout ideas of a rectangular lawn and border of beds, the judges felt that this space was 'a beautiful composition with simple, effective detailing and a choice of materials that provide unity and harmony. A great example of what a domestic residential garden should be like.'
For Stefano, he particular loved that the garden is not pretentious nor expensive but still it creates a powerful link between the house and the outdoor areas. 'It can inspire other home owners to achieve something similar by creating something that almost could have been designed by nature itself,' he says.
Big Ideas, Small Budget
Four-times SGD shortlisted designer, Mandy Buckland MSGD (opens in new tab) took home the award this year for her whimsical bijou city garden.
For the judges it was, 'an intelligent piece of design displaying imagination and clever use of levels to create a chic, sharp outdoor room which works really well from both inside and outside the house.'
Mandy chose to use a simple use of materials, and a nice balance of hard landscaping and textural landscaping with evergreens. The overall effect, is an entertaining, usable and balanced space.
Design for the Environment
Kristina Clode (opens in new tab) is developing a solid reputation of being the most environmentally friendly designer on the block, having won the Design For The Environment award for the second year in a row.
For Kristina: 'It was the perfect project to put forward for this award as every aspect of the design had environmental aims in mind: using local and natural eco landscaping ideas; growing your own food; composting and rain water harvesting; planting with a high proportion of native, pollinator and wildlife-friendly plants; creating diverse habitat with a drought tolerant gravel garden; perennial wildflower meadow and a pond and bog area.'
The judges saw this as a simple design that 'stands out for its environmental credentials. The sympathetic use of low impact materials, which enhance the setting and design concept, has been combined with sumptuous wildlife friendly planting associations to create an eco friendly garden, with a series of garden spaces for both the environment and the lifestyle of the homeowners.'
An important category in the SGD Awards as it demonstrates what we can expect from the next generation of garden design talent. Winner, Harry Holding (opens in new tab), showed the judges:
'An accomplished garden for a designer at the beginning of their professional journey, who has turned a difficult space into a unique and richly diverse garden, demonstrating an excellent sensitivity to the surrounding landscape, and successfully enhancing the architecture of the building.'
Before the announcement Harry had this to say: 'Being my flagship project, words can't describe what it would mean to have it recognized. It would be a huge boost to my career and really amplify the already vibrant energy of our design studio.'
Gavin McWilliam MSGD and Andrew Wilson FSGD's joint project was, unlike its dimensions, anything but modest.
The judges saw this space as a thoughtful and beautifully detailed composition which 'demonstrates exceptional quality of design and execution'.
'The small scale minimalist design required exquisite detailing, which has been achieved throughout, creating a garden that works as a visual tableau from the house and is a pleasure to use,' they said.
Paper Landscape Design
An interesting category, the Paper Landscape award is given for a garden which exists as a concept only. This design, by Tabi Jackson Gee (opens in new tab), was shortlisted by Macmillan Cancer Support for their 2022 Hampton Court Legacy Garden.
The judges deemed this a lovely scheme that is 'creative in its approach and presented using beautifully evocative graphics to communicate the story. The lasting legacy story is beautifully expressed through the use of materials and evocations of time and natural processes.'
Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.
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