A diverse collection of gardens and landscapes were celebrated at this year’s annual Society of Garden Designers (SGD) Awards, from rooftop gardens to a ‘lush oasis’.
Among the 22 winners were Andy Sturgeon FSGD, Stefano Marinaz MSGD and James Hichmough.
The SGD Garden of the Year Award- also referred to as the Grand Award, was awarded to Andy Sturgeon FSGD for the rooftop gardens designed for London’s Battersea Power Station.
This series of private communal gardens was recognised for its respect to the site’s existing heritage, with judges describing the project as “an extraordinary piece of work.”
The project was also named the winner in the Roof, Podim or Raised Courtyard category, while Hobhouse Court, also designed by Sturgeon, received the award for best Hardscape Design.
Another hat-trick winner on the night was Stefano Marinaz MSGD who took home the Judges’ Award, the Medium Residential Garden Award and the Design for the Environmental Award for Church Barn in Essex.
Judges called the project “a beautiful, understated nod to modernity,” with a ‘complex and interesting planting’ scheme.
The People’s Choice Award- determined by public vote- went to Adam Vetere MSGD, one of the Society’s newest Registered Members, for a treetop garden in Berkshire.
Judges recognised the garden, which also won the Small Residential Gardens Award for its “meticulously executed construction detailing and the superb level of finish.”
This year’s Large Residential Garden Award went to Robert Myers MSGD for a garden in Cambridgeshire, designed to increase the site’s wildlife value.
Remarked as a ‘strong and confident garden’ by judges, with particular recognition for its colours, textures and movement.
The Award for Garden Jewel was taken home by SGD Awards newcomer, George Cullis MSGD for a garden described by judges as ‘a lush oasis providing a truly immersive garden experience’.
Harry Holding (a Pro Landscaper 30 Under 30 alumni) returned to the Awards after his success in 2022 to take home the award for Big Ideas, Small Budget for a woodland garden.
Holding will also be featuring at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with his RHS No Adults Allowed Garden, designed for and in collaboration with school pupils.
This year’s Planting Award went to Nic Howard MSGD for a scheme the judges called “an excellent example of a traditional approach to planting.”
While the new Wellbeing Garden at RHS Wisley designed by Matt Keightley MSGD took the award home for the best UK Commercial or Community Landscapes. The judges noted the designed ‘strong aesthetic’ and “accomplished, well-considered planting.”
Adam Hunt’s Masseria Pistola in Italy took home the best International Commercial or Community Landscape & Garden Award.
Recognised for its “lovely balance between a human scale and a landscape scale” with judges calling it “an absolutely stunning project.”
The award for best Fresh Designer for 2024 went to Emily Crowley-Wroe for her modern cottage garden, described ‘a bold, seductive design.’
The Society also introduced two new awards this year- Designer & Landscape Contractor Award, presented to Matt Nichols MSGD for a project titled ‘Living the Good Life’ in collaboration with Creative Gardens & Driveways.
PlantGrow Mulch took home the second inaugural award for Sustainable Product- judged by Rachel Mailey MSGD who said the product was “a brilliant example of how quality products can be created through a closed loop circular economy, considering both the inputs and outputs in a way we should all be doing.”
Other awards on the night included the Paper Landscapes category, won by Holly Birtles. The judges described her entry as “an exemplary piece of design demonstrating an interesting and intelligent approach, strong themes and great environmental credentials.”
Three design student projects were presented with SGD Awards this year- these are Jake Sutcliffe for the Domestic Garden Design award, Julia Hill for the best Commercial Garden Design and Chloe Hamblen for the Sustainable Garden Design category.
The SGD Lifetime Achievement Award, gifted by the Council of the Society for Garden Designers was presented to horticulturist, author and lecturer James Hitchmough.
On presenting the award, SGD vice chair and treasurer, John Wyer FSGD says: “His work on pictorial meadows has provided great spectacle in many cities, but as he argued over and again, spectacle is not the answer to our problems.
“He reasons that the biodiversity and climate crisis not only needs a long view, but also continual re-engagement with sites. Hitchmough is also not afraid to pose difficult or unpopular views – he has always questioned the status quo – usually with great humour. Although he has stepped back from active academic life, do not think for a minute that he has retired.”