Society of Garden Designers awards - the full results

Dan Pearson and Ian Kitson between them scooped five out of fifteen Society of Garden Designers (SGD) awards at the inaugural event on Friday evening.

Ian Kitson's award winning design for Follers Manor, East Sussex
Ian Kitson's award winning design for Follers Manor, East Sussex

Kitson’s design for Follers Manor in East Sussex won best Medium Residential Garden, Hard Landscape and the Judges’ Award.

The judges praised the garden’s strong lines and great texture describing it as "a frenzy of colour and pattern" and adding that the garden "looks good from every direction and works with the topography, but feels sheltered and intimate.".

The Grand Award went to Dan Pearson for the 160ha Tokachi Millennium Forest in Northern Japan.  This recently opened ecological park was so named as the owner’s aim is to produce a sustainable vision for the land there for a thousand years.

The judging panel called it "an internationally significant project" adding that it "appeared completely effortless and natural". The project jointly received the International Award with John Wyer for his ambitious project in the US Rocky Mountains.

The SGD Awards received more than 80 entries. They were presented at The Millennium Gloucester Hotel on 9 November.

SGD chair Juliet Sargeant said: "The SGD Awards are a natural development from thirty years of work on the part of the SGD to promote excellence in garden design. The Society exists to nurture talent and support garden designers in their quest to deliver outstanding service to garden owners.

Other awards went to Amanda Patton for Planting Design, Charlotte Rowe for Garden Lighting and Juliet Sargeant for Landscape Sustainability.

The three main residential garden awards went to Ian Smith (Large), Ian Kitson (Medium), and Pat Fox (Small).

Society Fellow Andrew Wilson received the Public or Communal Outdoor Space Award for The Rose Garden at The Savill Garden as well as People’s Choice Award.

The Society’s Student Award was granted to Jon Sims from London College of Garden Design and the Future Designer Award went to Lynne Marcus, both pre-registered members of the Society.

The John Brookes Award - a lifetime achievement award, was given to the landscape architect, garden designer and author Charles Jencks. 

The SGD Awards 2012 winners:

1. International Award
Winner:  Dan Pearson MSGD
Project: Tokachi Millennium Forest, Japan

What the judges said: "This is a garden of International significance.  It is an extraordinary example of a design that truly captures the driving force of garden design, namely sense of place. It is a supremely self-confident and simple idea characterised by virtuoso planting.  A prime example of garden design in the 21st century"
Winner: John Wyer FSGD
Project: Andrus House, Spokane, USA

What the judges said: "We were impressed by John’s ability to adapt his work in a new geographical location and the way he developed the garden to place the house comfortably into its surroundings through clever use of built elements and natural and semi-natural plant combinations."

2. Public or Communal Outdoor Space Award
Winner: Andrew Wilson FSGD
Project: The Rose Garden at The Savill Garden, Surrey

What the judges said:  "This is a contemporary re-imagination of one of the most iconic and traditional English art forms – the Rose Garden."  The design provides a variety of experiences that is unusual in a rose garden: it not only takes you through the roses, the structure enables you to rise above them, to look down on them. This is a rose garden for the 21st century."

3. Large Residential Garden Award
Winner: Ian Smith MSGD
Project: Brightling Down Farm, Sussex  

What the judges said: "The transformation of this wide-ranging, impressive garden is astonishing. The design showed great spacial sequences throughout and Ian was very sensitive to the surrounding.  His design really embraced the extended landscape and rooted the house in the garden. The garden is alive with textures, colour and form, on all surfaces that defined space. Levels are cleverly used, both formally and informally, to maximise the sequence of unfolding views and to blend the varying scales together."

4. Medium Residential Garden Award
Winner: Ian Kitson FSGD
Project: Follers Manor, East Sussex

What the judges said: "This garden looks good from every direction.  It works with the topography but it feels sheltered and intimate. It has strong lines and great texture and is a frenzy of colour and pattern. Every bit of space is used, but it is the seamless transition from one area of the garden to another that makes it successful."

5. Small Residential Garden Award
Winner: Pat Fox MSGD
Project: Maltese Road, Chelmsford, Essex

What the judges said: A clever design that has transformed the very drab stone flag-covered areas that existed before and made the space feel enclosed and private.  It is an exciting, but easy to maintain, garden design that makes great use of plants and other devices to take the visitor on a visual and physical journey."
6. Future Designers Award
Winner: Lynne Marcus (Pre-registered member)
Project: Linnell Drive, London

What the judges said:  "For a medium-sized town garden, this feels spacious, exciting, practical, fun and elegant. This is a show-off garden but one for everyday use.  It has a wonderful tranquil feeling to it.  It is very calm and cool but uses a variety of shapes and textures that manage to keep your attention"

7. Student Designer Award
Winner: Jon Sims (student member)
Project: Student project at The London College of Garden Design

What the judges said:  "This design immediately leapt out as very accomplished and sophisticated. It shows an elegant relationship with the wider landscape."

8. Landscape Sustainability Award
Winner: Juliet Sargent 
Project: The Boat House, Abingdon,Oxon

What the judges said: "Juliet’s entry was a sensitive response to a problematic and ecologically fragile site.  Extreme intervention was avoided and would have been a mistake. The result is a semi-natural waterside which achieves the brief and protects the integrity of the existing landscape."

9. Planting Design Award
Winner: Amanda Patton 
Project: Amberd Lodge, Somerset

What the judges said: "Amanda made a lot of what she was given and managed to soften the existing framework with a strong, structural design and wholesome planting. There was good layering of planting and excellent seasonality.  Overall a really good garden, not just great planting."

10. Hard Landscape Award
Winner: Ian Kitson FSGD
Project: Follers Manor, Sussex

What the judges said: "The design demonstrated how integral the hardscape was to the overall landscape. It had a wonderful Arts & Crafts quality to it. Ian was not afraid to take risks. It was great to see crazy paving used so successfully."

11. Garden Lighting Award
Winner: Charlotte Rowe MSGD
Project: Beaufort Road, London

What the judges said: "Charlotte has treated the garden as a set of rooms and linked them with light emphasising the perimeter dramatically by a narrow uplight at the base of each tree. Candles soften the effect by the pool and increase the intensity of light by the seating area. The lighting effects are layered combining effects of downlighting and uplighting to create a magical evening mood."

12. The Judges Award
Winner: Ian Kitson FSGD
Project: Follers Manor, Sussex

What the judges said: "It’s incredibly rare that gardens like this get built in this country.  The clients should be patted on the back for taking the risk and giving the designer free reign to create a spectacular garden. From plan to conception there is strong spatial understanding of scale and proportion and a sculptural use of level changes that brings the user to a more intimate connection with detail. It is not possible to simply walk through this garden one feels completely immersed in it."

13. The Grand Award
Winner:  Dan Pearson MSGD
Project: Tokachi Millennium Forest, Japan

What the Judges said: "This garden was more beautiful than any other entry submitted. It is extraordinarily skillful and appears completely effortless and natural."

14. The People’s Choice Award
Winner: Andrew Wilson FSGD
Project: The Lake House

15. The John Brookes Award
Awarded to Charles Jencks

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