Frosts Landscape Construction has won the £3.2m contract to build Jubilee Gardens, on London's South Bank, in its highest-profile landscape project after the Olympic Park.
Work starts this week to transform the bland stretch of grass next to the London Eye into a new landscape with flower beds and 70 trees. New paths will snake around seating and lighting in a design by the Dutch landscape architect West 8.
Frosts director Aidan Lane said: "It's wonderful to be part of the team to deliver this world-class garden.
"Opportunities to be involved in such prestigious projects as this are rare and we look forward to starting work imminently."
He said the scheme was complex but high profile and would receive as much coverage as the Olympic Park. The most challenging aspect was the granite paving - around 40 crates of stone were being cut and shipped from China.
"Another challenge is the grass. The site currently receives six-million people a year, so high-performing root zones for grass and soils are a must. We have to make sure whatever goes in can withstand the foot traffic."
Semi-mature trees include Quercus palustris, Taxodium distichum and Fagus sylvatica. Pop-up irrigation will water the grass with leaky-pipes on areas of planting. A team will visit China to ensure cutting schedules for curved granite seating are perfect.
Completion of the new Jubilee Gardens is scheduled for mid May 2012, in time for the Queen's diamond jubilee and the Olympic Games.
Jubilee Gardens Historic London site
The site was at the centre of the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was laid out as a garden in 1977 for the Queen's silver jubilee.
The new gardens will probably be the most-visited green space in central London. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "This project celebrates the Festival of Britain legacy and is a wonderful asset for the city."
Jubilee Gardens Project Board including Lambeth Council, Southbank Centre and Jubilee Gardens Trust will manage the site. Transport for London, Shell, EDF Energy and charities are providing funding.