Playscapes, geometric pools and roof gardens: Award-winning gardens, in pictures

Madeleine Howell
As well as the Grand Award for The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, the Society of Garden Designers presented accolades for healing and learning gardens, international gardens and roof gardens

The Society of Garden Designers announced the winners of the SGD Awards 2017 at its sixth annual award ceremony in London yesterday evening.

Robert Myers MSGD was presented with the most prestigious award of the night, winning the Grand Award for The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace.

The garden, designed as an imaginative and playful new garden for families, is inspired by the rich history of the palace. It was described as ‘truly magical’ by the judging panel, who said it was ‘full of surprises and fun.’ The garden was also named best public or commercial outdoor space.

Matt Keightley MSGD won three awards including the distinguished Judges’ Award for his eastern-inspired Tyre Hill House Garden, and visionary Spanish designer Fernando Caruncho was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award. 

In total, 17 designers were presented with awards across 19 categories, including accolades for the best healing and learning garden, international garden and roof garden.

Society of Garden Designers (SGD) chair Sarah Morgan said: “The SGD Awards are all about celebrating the very best in landscape and garden design and recognising the incredible talent being brought to bear across the industry. It’s clear from tonight just how much fantastic work is being done within the sector."

The Grand Award, and Public or Commercial Outdoor Space Award

Robert Myers MSGD

Credit: Alex Ramsay

The Grand Award, the most celebrated award of the evening, went to Robert Myers for a contemporary playscape created for the Historic Royal Palace at Hampton Court (above). The garden, designed as an imaginative and playful new garden for families and inspired by the rich history of the palace, was described as ‘truly magical’ by the judging panel, who said it was ‘full of surprises and fun.’

The garden was also named best Public or Commercial Outdoor Space, with the judges describing it as an ‘exciting, generous and inspirational project’.

The Judges’ Award

Matt Keightley MSGD

Matt Keightley MSGD won The Judges' Award in the SGD Awards 2017 Credit: Features Scan

There was a unanimous decision to award Tyre Hill House Garden by Matt Keightley MSGD (above) the Judges Award. Inspired by the east and incorporating a series of stunning geometric pools surrounded by a mix of cloud pruned taxus, pinus hedging and bonsai-form pines, mixed with magnolias and irises to provide year-round interest, the panel said it had ‘a clarity, simplicity and purity that was simply beautiful’, calling it ‘contemporary, peaceful and very, very accomplished.’ 

The garden also won the Planting Award and was a joint winner in the Medium Residential category. 

Lifetime Achievement Award

Fernando Caruncho

Features Scans

The SGD Lifetime Achievement Award is granted to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape and garden design profession. The Award, which is gifted by the Council of the Society of Garden Designers, was given to international landscape designer and philosopher Fernando Caruncho.  

The SGD Council said: “Since the creation of his first garden in the early 1980s, Fernando Caruncho has designed timeless gardens in Spain and internationally with a simplicity and lightness of touch using geometry, light, water and connection to the wider environment at the heart of his projects. 

"Fernando is an inspirational philosopher, landscape architect and gardener who continues to inspire with his philosophical approach to garden creation."

People’s Choice Award

Fiona Stephenson MSGD

Credit: Features Scan

Fiona Stephenson MSGD won the People’s Choice Award – the only award in the competition determined by public vote.

International Award

 James Basson MSGD

Garden design

British-born designer and gardener James Basson has worked in the South of France for over 18 years, and has a reputation for creating low maintenance, sustainable gardens that mix contemporary design with traditional skills.

Big Ideas, Small Budget

Anne Windsor

Credit: Features Scan

Newcomer to the awards Anne Windsor triumphed in the Big Ideas, Small budget category for an inspiring courtyard at the centre of a four-story apartment building in Manchester, which the judges described as a modern take on the classic inner courtyard gardens found in Paris and Rome, and which transformed a previously dead space into a flourishing garden.

Garden Jewel (joint winners)

Jane Brockbank MSGD and Sue Townsend MSGD

Jane Brockbank MSGD and Sue Townsend MSGD were named joint winners of the Garden Jewel award. 

Credit: Marianne Majerus

Jane Brockbank has a Fine Art background, and her work is characterized by dynamic and imaginative planting with a strong emphasis on how plants coexist in nature. A contemporary approach to structure and form in the garden is combined with a painterly use of colour and texture. 

Credit: MMGI / Marianne Majerus

Sue Townsend is passionate about plants, texture and colour. She often uses them to soften hard landscaping, creating mood and drama. She's also known to use sculpture, lighting and water to bring  magic to a space.

Planting Design

Matt Keightley MSGD

Matt Keightley MSGD, winner of the Planting Design Award

Matt Keightley of Rosebank Landscaping is a two-times winner of an RHS silver-gilt medal and the prestigious BBC People's Award for best in show in 2014 and 2015 at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. His planting is a rich mix of different textures. 

Healing or Learning Garden

Ann-Marie Powell Landscapes

Ann-Marie Powell won the Healing or Learning Garden award Credit: Features Scan

Host for the evening Ann-Marie Powell MSGD had to step aside from her duties to receive the Healing & Learning award for her inspirational Chestnut Tree House Garden at a children’s hospice in Arundel. Incorporating a woodland walk, spaces for therapeutic play and a ‘hanging’ garden, the judges said it was ‘an absolutely fantastic garden’ describing it as‘gentle, soft and magical.’

Roof Garden

Emily Erlam

Credit: Richard Bloom

Returning to the winner’s podium after winning the SGD’s Future Designer Award in 2015, Emily Erlam won the Roof Garden award for a stunning scheme on one of London’s largest roof terraces (below). An outright winner in the category, the garden is designed around a series of multi-layered steel planting systems dividing the space up into ‘rooms’ and filled with Mediterranean planting which the judges said ‘creates a wonderful feeling of calm.’

Historical Garden Restoration

Christian Sweet MSGD

Credit: Features Scan

The Historical Garden Restoration award was won by Christian Sweet MSGD for Villa Balbiano, a 16 th century mansion on the shores of Lake Como. Building on the surviving framework from the last major redesign in the 1960s, Sweet created a series of ‘rooms’ including an ornamental vegetable garden, a rose garden, a garden of mixed-shrub borders and a shaded vine-walk to breathe new life into the gardens. The judges said it was ‘a beautiful restoration demonstrating excellent attention to detail and a beautiful finish.’

Hardscape

Ian Kitson FSGD

Credit: Features Scan

Ian Kitson has been designing gardens and landscapes for over 30 years. Ian originally qualified as a landscape architect and went on to complete a diploma in the conservation of historic parks and gardens, and a degree in architecture.

He practices as a chartered landscape architect and garden designer from studios in London and Yorkshire on projects throughout the UK and Channel Islands.

Paper Landscapes

Carolyn Willitts

Credit: Features Scan

Carolyn Willitts of CW Studio has a passion for designing bespoke and inventive spaces that connect people to places. She creates bold, beautiful and thoughtful landscapes to celebrate the outdoors. 

Large Residential Garden

Acres Wild (Registered Practice)

Large Garden award

Acres Wild is an experienced and professional garden and landscape design practice headed by partners Debbie Roberts BA (Hons) and Ian Smith BA (Hons) MSGD, based in Nuthurst, Sussex. 

Medium Residential Garden (joint winners)

Matt Keightley MSGD and Ian Kitson FSGD

Ian Kitson FSGD - joint winner of the Medium Residential Award

Ian Kitson MSGD picked up the joint award for Medium Residential Garden alongside Matt Keightley for his Estuary Garden designed to reflect the tidal movements and sand patterns of the River Conwy, over which the garden looks. The Estuary Garden also received the Hardscape Award for what the judges described as a ‘bold, ambitious and beautifully constructed’ scheme.

Credit: Features Scan

RHS Award-Winning designer Matt Keightley leads London-based garden design studio Rosebank Landscaping. 

Small Residential Garden

Helen Elks-Smith MSGD

Credit: Features Scan

Helen Elks-Smith MSGD won the Small Residential category for her Harbour Garden on the banks of Christchurch Harbour in Dorset.

Elks-Smith Garden Design serves Dorset, Hampshire, London, Southampton and Bournemouth.

Student Design Domestic

Sheila Jack (x 2 projects)

Sheila Jack - winner of the Student Design Domestic Award Credit: Features Scan

Sheila Jack, who came to garden design after a successful career as an editorial Art Director on US Vogue and UK Harper’s Bazaar, was the undisputed winner in the Student Design in the domestic category, winning the award for two of her submitted projects.

Student Design Commercial

Nicky Burridge

Nicky Burridge - winner of the Student Design Commercial Award

Nicky Burridge, from the London College of Garden Design, won the award for student design in the commercial category for a project the judges said ‘perfectly complimented the façade of the building.’

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