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Creating an Award Winning Garden

Have you ever wondered what it takes to create an award winning garden?


Is it the name of the designer and the prestige of having a garden created by that person?

Is it the way texture and contrast work with plants and building material to achieve a sympathetic garden that meets the needs of the client? Ideally this is the answer.


To set out creating a garden that will win awards will only lead to heartbreak.

To create a garden from love or necessity that is then nominated for an award and wins… that is pure delight.



Winning – Part A

  • Identify your personal wants, likes, desires and needs that need to be accommodated within the landscape
  • Consult with other members of the family who may interact with the garden
  • Research the landscape or garden competition to find out what the judging criteria are
  • Research who the past winner were so that you can assess the standard which judges would expect


Winning – Part B

  • Decide if you will do all the design and landscape work; or
  • Employ a designer or landscaper to do all the work for you - source or find these from... http://plant.id.au/home/find.aspx

It is possible that though the process you will need to make decisions such as:

  • Destruction of existing vegetation
  • Replacement of existing building structures (eg paving, decking, etc)
  • Introduction of new landscape elements such as water, lighting, etc
  • Adherence to local regulations concerning building codes and approvals
  • Linkages – aim to tie the garden in with the house especially during a renovation. A garden should not be a disjointed element. Outside colours should blend in well with inside colours
  • Utilise existing structures (such as retainer walls) as a foundation for the new elements (such as structure feature wall)


Here are a few quotes that you should be saying once the job is finished: 

  • "great to see a design that was exactly what was wanted"
  • “the key to success was open discussions with the designer”


Back up maintenance is crucial to maintain the quality and feel of the garden. It is also important to keep the garden free of pests, diseases, debris. Protection of plants may be needed to avoid damage by frost, heat, hail or wind.



Note about courtyards:

Smaller spaces can sometimes be more difficult to design, to look in scale with the limited space and to make aesthetically pleasing. Small spaces need to be kept simple without too much detail.


Final Note: Garden competitions may either be run by professional landscape associations that look at contractors work skills and overall results; or may be limited to home owner creations without any input from professionals.


written by Paul Plant, Editor of subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au

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