A "breathtaking" waterfront scheme that involved the handling and laying of 40 barges of Chinese stone was judged Britain's best landscape last week at the BALI National Landscape Awards.
More than 700 top names from across the landscape sector saw the Landscape Group's Broadway scheme at Manchester's Salford Quays garlanded the Grand Award winner at the prestigious event, which was held at London's Grosvenor House.
For the second year running, the awards were held in association with Horticulture Week. The headline sponsor was Rigby Taylor.
The project was judged best of the best out of more than 25 categories including domestic gardens, soft and hard landscapes, maintenance, roof gardens and regeneration.
The 35th BALI National Landscape Awards drew more than 130 entries this year and was the ultimate accolade for those involved in the design, build and maintenance of landscapes, BALI chief operations officer Wayne Grills said in his welcome address.
Awards ranged from small domestic gardens to massive regeneration schemes and a prize for best international project that went to the Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute for Tangshan Nanhu Eco-city Central Park.
The judging panel, this year led by Writtle College's Greg Allen, was blown away by the winning Salford Quays team's logistical agility, handling barges of stone floated along the Manchester Canal. The immaculate soft landscaping helped to ensure that such workmanship set an "exemplar of British landscape contracting".
Grills told the audience: "Our members have clearly demonstrated that no matter how hard the trading conditions, they set themselves apart by continually striving for professional excellence."
Addressing the event, Kate Lowe, editor of the awards' partner Horticulture Week, said: "Great landscapes have the power to transform the way people feel about their place in the world. We have to shout that message from the rooftops."
Bartholomew Landscaping scooped two principal awards and earned the best newcomer prize for picking up four awards from six entries. Gavin Jones also scooped two principal awards for grounds maintenance.
James Bird Landscapes won a principal award for domestic garden construction costing up to £20,000 for a garden in Sheffield with purple and timber-decked walls.
Landscaping Solutions won the equivalent prize in the £20,000-£50,000 category for a scheme including slick white stone and a modern water feature.
Graduate Gardeners took the prize for a soft landscapie worth £300,000-£1.5m for the Charlton Kings corporate headquarters project in Cheltenham.
Land Engineering (Scotland) topped the category for hard landscape construction between £300,000 and £1.5m for a road in Glasgow with gabion walls, red surfacing and modern sculptures.
The Landscape Group came good again at Arundel Square Gardens, London, which won the principal award for best restoration and regeneration.
Raconteur and former Conservative MP Gyles Brandreth presented the awards at the ceremony, which also raised just under £5,000 for Greenfingers, the charity that builds gardens for children's hospices.
- For pictures of principal and special award winners, see page 9. For full details of all winners, see the awards supplement published with this week's HW.
Broadway, Salford Quays
"The workmanship on this breathtaking waterfront scheme is outstanding. The logistics were very complex and the technical excellence achieved provides a wonderful exemplar of British landscape contracting. Broadway is a worthy recipient of the BALI Grand Award."