APL Awards Winners 2010

Winning gardens

Gardens For Life scooped the top award at the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) Awards 2010 for the design and construction of a stunning natural garden with a bold and dramatic planting scheme.

The awards, sponsored by Bradstone, recognise and promote the very best in landscaping undertaken by APL members in categories that range from smaller projects to garden maintenance to contracts of over £100,000. The awards attracted a record number of entries this year and are a celebration of the high standards that have been achieved by members demonstrating the APL’s commitment to quality landscaping.

APL Vice chairman and chair of the judging panel, Mark Gregory, commented “Again we had a bumper crop of quality schemes to judge from. What continually amazes me is the diversity and range of schemes our members are working on along with a continued trend of some amazing high end large schemes there are some superb smaller gardens with some great detailing and passion evident. “

Judge Chris Young commented “Being a member of the judging panel opens your eyes to the breadth and quality of work taking place in the garden and landscape sector. As ever with the APL awards, we see construction of the highest level, as well as the continuing relationship between contractors and designers improving. Submissions were up this year, which is testament to the positive role industry awards can play.”

The judging panel consisted of Mark Gregory (Landform Consultants and APL vice-chair), Chris Young (RHS), Sally Holgate (Bradstone), Andy Sturgeon (Andy Sturgeon Landscape & Design), Jason Lock (DeakinLock Garden Design and APL CEO) and Alex Webster (The Essential Earthmen and APL Committee).

The Award categories for 2010 are: Front Garden, Landscape/Garden scheme (under £15,000, £15,000 – £30,000, £30,000 – £60,000, £60,000 – £100,000 and over £100,000), Soft Landscaping, Overall Design and Build, Maintenance, Special Feature, Young Achievers Award and the supreme winner.


Supreme Winner – Soft Landscaping

Gardens For Life is the Supreme winner of the 2010 APL awards for their project submission in this category. The client was keen to see an abundance of flowers, grasses, winter stems and trees to maintain a natural look to the garden and encourage wildlife. The focal point of the garden is the lake which is quite imposing as you enter the drive. All aspects of the lake were softened with planting to create a feeling of continuity, movement and flow. Repeat planting was used to lead the eye around the lake at different times of the year. The lake was emptied and its contours re-sculptured to a new design using on-site clay. An island and two waterfalls were created to flow into the lake, and an oak deck/jetty was constructed with covered pergola. The judges commented that there was a “good use of plants with a variety of seasonal planting” and that the design “suits the site very well.”

Winner – Project value under £15,000

Twigs is the winner in this category for designing and constructing ‘A Gentleman’s retreat’ – a garden for entertaining that made the best use of the steeply sloping north facing site. They created a solidly built outdoor space using local materials in keeping with the property’s surroundings; keeping it light and colourful despite the north facing shady aspect. The judges commented that the work was “very good value for money with very good construction detail and planting and nice work with client.”

Winner – Project £15,000 – £30,000

The Garden Builders / Deckall s brief was to construct a roof terrace on the top penthouse floor of an imposing central London mansion block as per design supplied by Andy Sturgeon Garden Design. The designer’s brief was to create a chic, roof terrace including weather resilient low level sedum planting to be used as an attractive entertaining space for a professional city family. Most items in the space were to be bespoke in order to fit into the rather unusual terrace. A hoist was employed in order to elevate all of the required materials and remove unwanted items from the site. A focal point in the terrace garden is a beautifully framed sculpture. The framework is cleverly incorporated into the seating and planting area with a high level of attention to detail. The judges commented that the work was “Technically good and well made using quality materials, and good value for money”

Winner – Project £30,000 – £60,000

Holland Landscapes were contracted to create a suitable terrace area from land purchased from the client’s neighbour. The site had very poor access so only small vehicles could be used. The main problem was the removal of spoil from the site but that was overcome by an obliging local farmer who needed 40 tonnes of sub-soil. Old Rectory Sandstone paving and Old Essex bricks were used to compliment the cottage. The judges commented that this was a “Quality construction, strong brickwork creating a brilliant wall with very good radial sweeps.”

Winner – Project £60,000 – £100,000

Original Landscapes is the winner in this category for construction and landscaping around a new swimming pool. The client had commissioned Chelsea gold medal winner George Carter to design the layout of the garden. The swimming pool site consisted of a large Thuja hedge at the end of a gently sloping area of grass which ran up to some existing apple trees on one side and a tennis court on the other. The site had to be leveled, the hedge removed and the various excavations undertaken including the swimming pool dig. The judges commented that this scheme was a “simple and well executed with very good construction with a strong water feature and good detailing.”

Winner – Project over £100,000

Walmsley Shaw constructed what they describe as “the most complex job our company has ever undertaken” and are deserving winners of this award. The client wanted to create a new garden with interest and vistas which could be enjoyed from their beautiful house. The key feature of the garden is the 30 metre long Ipe hardwood pergola walkway. The surveying, alignment and positioning of this structure was critical, and there was only a 20mm tolerance from end to end of the total structure. The multi-level nature of the garden was a perfect opportunity to incorporate water movement, so rills and shutes were incorporated into the three levels. The judges commented the garden included “very nice details which give it a quality feel.”

Winner – Overall design and build

Artscape Design and Buildis the winner in this category for the design and construction of this smart and simple garden surrounding a house made up of an eclectic mix of modern and traditional buildings. The materials used were sympathetic with the interiors of the properties. A courtyard was created in one small area, and clever use of grey paving, an abundance of white flowering plants and a faux lead water feature all added to the atmosphere in what used to be an unused part of the garden. A whole new back garden was constructed incorporating a large barn building. A pergola was stained black to match the barn and was built around the seating area, lush planting surrounded the area and a beautiful urn was centrally positioned as a focal point. Judges commented that the “planting and hard detailing works very well” and demonstrated a “good use of space.”

Winner – Maintenance

Gardens For Life win the maintenance category for a garden they designed and built from an awkward and exposed site in 2003. Having built up a good relationship with the client during the construction process, they were well positioned to commence the maintenance during the planting. This was to ensure that the garden would develop and prosper over the coming years. They have been maintaining it ever since using approximately 28 man-hours per week. The judges commented that this project demonstrated “immaculate maintenance, with clean lines of hedges and perennial planting and an amazing lawn stripes brings the whole garden together.”

Winner – Special Feature

RG Landscapes and Construction’s brief was to construct a gazebo in English oak giving the impression that it is floating on a lake. The clients wanted the “wow factor” with the woodland backdrop view from the house. The structure needed to reflect the shape of the stone window lintels of the main house and it was necessary to formulate the correct height, at water level, to tie up the ‘punt’. The judges commented that this was a “well made, good construction with good attention to detail.”

Winner – Young Achievers Award

RG Landscapes and Construction nominated 22 year old employee Rob Coxage for this award highlighting his work on a complete landscape design and build from a derelict site into a pleasant usable garden in Suffolk. Rob surpassed all expectations of him and it became clear to his employer that he was capable of carrying out all of the work involved in transforming the site. Judges commented that the entry was a “very well presented case that showed a wide variety of skills. The work is something he should be proud of. Very well done.”


Project value under £15,000

Highly Commended

Hambrook Landscapes


Goscote Design Practice

Project value £15,000 – £30,000

Highly Commended:

Hillier Landscapes

Project value £30,000 – £60,000

Highly Commended

The Garden Builders


Hillier Landscapes

Project value over £100,000

Highly Commended:

Arun Landscapes

Overall Design and Build


The Garden Builders

Commercial Garden


Hillier Landscapes

Special Feature

Highly Commended:

The Garden Builders


Gartenart Natural Swimming Ponds

Young Achievers Award

Highly Commended:

Bosworth’s Landscapes

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