Contractors P1 Solutions will improve the bandstand, botanic garden and winter garden and restore the park’s stables as a community venue and base for project partners the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
This will include replanting many of the existing floral beds including the Rose Garden, creating new herbaceous borders along the Royal Promenade, creating a Physic Community garden and improving the Sunken Garden. Ironside Farrar is the landscape architect on the project.
The project will also spruce up car parks, park furniture, lighting, paths and signage and develop circuit routes for walking, running and health activities. A new children’s playground, micro-hydro scheme and ground source heating system and café are also planned.
Edinburgh City Council is also due to put a new management and maintenance regime in place to ensure the park achieves Green Flag status.
The Heritage Lottery Fund donated £3.8m to the restoration parts of the project. Lucy Casot, head of HLF Scotland, said: "Saughton Park, tucked away in the South West of Edinburgh, is one of the latest parks to benefit from over £64m of National Lottery funding, which over the last 20 years has played a crucial role in revitalising over 65 parks across Scotland."
First established in the 17th century on the grounds of Saughtonhall House, which later became an asylum, the gardens were purchased by the council in the early 1900s for recreational use by the people of Gorgie and Saughton.
In 1908, Saughton Park was redesigned to accommodate the Scottish National Exhibition, when more than 3.5m visitors flocked to enjoy the attractions. It is hoped that the park’s restoration will recapture the spirit of the time, refreshing some of the key features installed for the exhibition, including the bandstand, botanic garden and winter garden.
Transport and environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: "This historic park will benefit immensely from the major restoration about to commence, as will the public who use it, and I look forward to seeing the park reclaim its original splendour as a result."
Consultation was recently carried out on new cycle routes linking the park with the city centre, which will be complemented by £500,000 recently awarded to the project by Sustrans Community Links programme. Funding will enable upgrades to the park’s path network and off-road links around the neighbourhood.
Work is expected to complete by August 2018.