The best gardens around the globe revealed for 2022

The Society Of Garden Designers' awards shortlist has been announced, and the show stopping global gardens have plenty to inspire

A pool in the shade of trees with prairie style planting and a pool house
(Image credit: Alister Thorpe)

We are proud to announce the Society Of Garden Designers' awards shortlist as this is the first year that Gardeningetc has partnered up with the SGD in its prestigious design awards. 

We are delighted to be able to share some of these beautifully designed gardens from around the world which were judged to be the best out of all the entries submitted.

This year there are 25 shortlisted entries, including awards for residential gardens large and small, community gardens, international categories and, our personal favorite, the People's Choice award.

Voting for the People's Choice award will be opening at the end of the month, and you'll be able to vote for your favorite design. 

The entrants include award-winning Chelsea garden designers as well as some never-before-shortlisted fresh talent. With each entry as inspiring as the last, scroll through and let your eyes feast on a veritable banquet of garden design ideas.

Be inspired by the Society of Garden Designers' awards shortlist

From small urban terraced gardens, to sweeping countryside estates, the standard of the Society Of Garden Designers' awards shortlisted entries are extremely high and they might even provide some insight on how to plan your garden design.

Golfe Leste, designed by Gavin McWilliam MSGD and Andrew Wilson FSGD

A dry gravel garden created in portugal in the Algarve region

The design makes use of this location together with the shade from the stone pines (Pinus pinea) which were retained as a focal point.

(Image credit: Marcelo Lopes)

Here, a landscape has been created around a dramatic, modernist home in the Algarve region of Portugal. By landscaping with gravel and using drought tolerant plants in a naturalistic style, the designer drew upon inspiration from the arid surroundings of the house.

Though it looks effortless, the design was not without its challenges. 'Level changes down through the site are dramatic and tight around the new house creating a challenge for landscape construction. Stonework techniques were used to reflect the local vernacular,' says Gavin McWilliam of Gavin McWilliam Studio (opens in new tab).

It was important to the team to create a garden which wouldn't constantly thirst for large amounts of water. 'The design turns its back on the high-input, water-thirsty gardens typical of the surrounding area,' says Gavin, 'offering a new aesthetic of naturalistic and native planting that would not require irrigation beyond the establishment period.'

'Le mie Colline', designed by Tommaso Del Buono MSGD

The view of an infinity pool in a garden in Tuscany

The brief was to include a new ‘infinity’ swimming pool, productive gardens and orchards within a framework of different character spaces  tailored to the clients’ lifestyle 

(Image credit: Tommaso Del Buono MSGD)

The spectacular, long ranging views over the surrounding countryside, so typical of this part of southern Tuscany in Italy were the starting point for the design. Similarly the stony, heavy soil type and relative lack of water informed and guided the selection of the plants used.

'Agaves and Prickly Pears provide the setting for the new pool parallel to and overlooking the valley and dry river bed beyond; elsewhere a new gravelled garden was entirely planted with drought tolerant plants,' says Tommaso Del Buono (opens in new tab)

'With the intention of only relying on an irrigation system during its establishment, many of the selected species were sourced from specialist growers and nurseries across Italy as they are not widely available commercially.'

The pool and gardens are formed as a series of interconnecting terraces open to the wider landscape beyond. 'The new swimming pool design was carefully placed so that it is close and easily reachable from the house whilst not directly visible from it,' says Tommaso, 'with its "infinity" edge carefully positioned to make the most of the stunning views over the surrounding countryside.' 

Bishops House, designed by Chloe Humphreys MSGD

A curve pool surrounded by banana plants in a hotel in rwanda

The design in an inward looking concept with all views looking through the repetition of trees to the open ‘glade’ of the pool area; a safe haven of relaxation,' says Chloe Humphreys MSGD

(Image credit: Chloe Humphreys MSGD)

Shortlisted in the International Commercial or Community Landscapes & Gardens category, this garden can be found at a suburban hotel in the heart of Ruhengeri, in Rwanda. The idea was to create a calming and private garden which serves as a location for the guests to rest before they start their Gorilla hike. 

If you're ever lucky enough to stop by you'll find a sustainable garden with hardscaping using volcanic rock sourced locally, as well as indigenous plant varieties, which will have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of the garden.

Clapham Family Garden, designed by Garden Club London

A small residential contemporary family garden with different seating levels

'The minimalist planting scheme has been expanded, including a wide range of species to increase seasonal interest and biodiversity,' says Tony Woods

(Image credit: Joanna Kossack)

It's not often that you see a garden which oozes contemporary style whilst also being full of fun garden play area ideas for children to enjoy. Tony Woods and his team at Garden Club London (opens in new tab) have managed to find a perfect balance here.

Additions like the slide which goes down a set of stone steps to a sleek alfresco cooking area and a wooden playhouse which sits adjacent to an outdoor studio, all combine to make the perfect family garden.

'The bespoke playhouse, raised over shade-loving ground-covers, has been designed and installed in a way that will make it easy to remove or transform in the future, once children outgrow its attraction,' says Tony.

Poole Garden, designed by Helen Elks-Smith FSGD

A view of a garden with outdoor living zones defined by planting beds of clipped evergreen mounds and alliums

The house design included a number of large doors that opened out onto the garden. As a consequence the garden design had to include a number of hard surfaces immediately outside the house

(Image credit: Richard Bloom)

'The client wanted a number of different outdoor living space ideas, split into zones in the garden; to eat, to cook, to sunbathe,' explains Helen Elks-Smith (opens in new tab). 'And in the relatively small space of the rear garden this needed to be balanced out by planting volume. These spaces were in the most part defined by planting,' she says.

The structured planting you can see in the image are a number of ground cover shrubs with a mounding form. 'Some plants such as the taxus mounds are fairly tightly clipped. Others such as the prunus lusitanica myrtifolia, viburnum davidii, pittosporum, rhododendron have a looser type of growth and are clipped by hand to form textured mounds of topiary,' says Helen.

Chelsea Townhouse, designed by Adolfo Harrison MSGD

A contemporary urban garden screened with black open panels around a decked seating area

The brief was a garden to entertain and lounge around in both the shade and sun, that reflected both of the owners' personalities

(Image credit: Mischa Haller)

This family was keen that their home would be a seamless flow of spaces which started from the moment you walk through the front door of the house, and ended at the garden studio at the end of the garden.

Adolfo Harrison (opens in new tab) achieved this via three outdoor rooms, and by removing any hierarchy between the indoors and out. 'In order to ensure that there was a continuous narrative we used the Crittall windows from inside the house for the design of the dividing screens and pergola,' explains Adolfo.

'These garden screening ideas never allow you to see the complete garden at any one point but neither do they deny the sense of depth. To accentuate this further we introduced a mirrored checkerboard pattern in the screens to further juxtapose the sense of enclosure and porosity.'

In the shade of the Catalpa tree, designed by Stefano Marinaz MSGD

A small shaded courtyard garden with a bespoke iroko wood fence and hanging lampshades

Even though the garden is south-west facing the large Catalpa tree provides a lot of shade to the garden and influenced the type of plants chosen

(Image credit: Alister Thorpe)

This 200 square foot town garden is the perfect example of how a shade garden can be a lush plant paradise which feels like you've been transported to a rainforest glade.

The Catalpa tree creates a canopy over the entire paved courtyard which is surrounded by some special and unusual plant varieties. 'Our plant selection included: Cardiocrinum giganteum, Arisaema tortuosum, Disporum longistylum ‘Night Heron’, Beesia calthifolia as well as the climber Schisandra rubriflora whose flower resembles the pendant lights over the dining table,' says Stefano Marinaz (opens in new tab).

We love the simplicity of the pendant outdoor lights above the dining table which have been hung from simple stainless steel wires that also allow climbers to grow on.

Twickenham Garden, Tom Massey MSGD

A sloping garden with stone levels leading upwards interspersed with evergreen planting

The garden is filled with plant life and includes a biologically filtered water feature which brings a whole host of wildlife to the garden

(Image credit: Alister Thorpe)

For this design the client wanted interesting and dynamic sloping garden ideas as a way to move from basement to ground level, which designer Tom Massey (opens in new tab) set to work interpreting.

He achieved this with bespoke concrete cuboid garden steps ('nicknamed the cubist cliff path,' says Tom) which advance through a sloped bank of lush green planting and cascading concrete and Corten steel water features, 'providing a playful way to move from basement to ground floor level'.

'The upper garden offers bespoke bench seating and steel planters, maintaining a continuation of the cuboid them,' explains Tom. 'The rear of the garden houses a studio with reflective glazing, surrounded by multi-stem hawthorn trees.'

Heathside pool garden, designed by Matthew Childs

Naturalistic planting beds flanking a path leading up to a pool house and pool

(Image credit: Richard Bloom)

At first glance you might not believe that this beautiful Heathside Pool Garden was situated in Surrey, England as it looks far too tropical. And Matthew Childs (opens in new tab)' design incorporates exciting elements like waterfalls and a large wildlife pond which abuts a stepped limestone terrace surrounding the house. 

'A prairie style planting walkway and east facing breakfast area connects to the swimming pool with its honed concrete disc terrace and pool house,' says Matthew. 'Above the pool house woodland/wetland edge planting surrounds the wildlife pond. Stone and gravel paths lead from the swimming pool to the stepped terrace and a fire pit area with bespoke curved seating.'

Kensington Courtyard, designed by Gavin McWilliam MSGD and Andrew Wilson FSGD

A small coutryard garden with deep loping steps and high fence

The client saw the space as an extension of the adjacent kitchen used by the whole family on a regular basis

(Image credit: Alister Thorpe)

In such a small, enclosed space it was important for the clients that their garden feel as light and airy as possible. 'The garden is shaded by surrounding buildings and boundaries. Retaining walls help to create this lower space which then relates to the internal floor levels. The garden effectively acts as something of a light well,' says Gavin McWilliam.

Using the vertical spaces for planting means that the greenery packs a punch in a small space. The space is an area that the family can use as an extension of their home.

The full Society Of Garden Designers' awards shortlist 2022

There are 25 shortlisted entries for the 2022 Society of Garden Designers' awards in total. The winners will be announced later this year.

  • Golfe Leste, designed by McWilliam Studio
  • 'Le mie Colline', designed by Tommaso Del Buono MSGD
  • Bishops House, designed by Chloe Humphreys MSGD
  • Davines Village, designed by Tommaso Del Buono MSGD
  • RHS Wisley, World Food Garden, designed by Ann Marie Powell MSGD
  • Acomb High House, designed by Matthew Wilson MSGD
  • West London Family Garden, designed by McWilliam Studio
  • Heathside pool garden, designed by Matthew Childs
  • Clapham Family Garden, designed by Garden Club London
  • Twickenham Garden, designed by Tom Massey MSGD
  • Richmond Garden, designed by Tom Massey MSGD
  • Chelsea Townhouse, designed by Adolfo Harrison MSGD
  • Kensington Courtyard, designed by McWilliam Studio
  • Alexander Square (In the shade of the Catalpa tree), designed by Stefano Marinaz MSGD
  • A sense of discovery, designed by Stefano Marinaz MSGD
  • Triple Texture Courtyard, designed by Mandy Buckley MSGD
  • The Lodge, designed by Harry Holding
  • Fifield Farm, designed by Andrea Newill MSGD
  • Poole Garden, designed by Helen Elks-Smith FSGD
  • Richmond Garden, designed by Mike Harvey
  • A Hilltop Garden in Berkshire, designed by Adam Vetere
  • Woodland Ensemble, designed by Tabi Jackson-Gee
  • A Place to unwind, designed by Sue Townsend MSGD
  • Rewilding North Barn, designed by Anna Murphy & Sarah Jarman
  • Wildlife Friendly Eco House Garden, designed by Kristina Clode
Teresa Conway
Deputy Editor

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.