Designing a new garden

Competition for horticulture students

For the first time, the RHS is giving horticulture students, who study at design schools and colleges, the chance to develop their skills by competing in a design competition to create key spaces at three of its gardens - RHS Gardens Wisley, Harlow Carr and Bridgewater.


Students are being offered the opportunity to develop a learning garden at RHS Garden Wisley, which will be an area to showcase plants and inspire their fellow students. A second learning garden is to be created at RHS Garden Bridgewater, forming part of the magnificent eleven-acre walled garden. A third garden, overlooking the lake at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, will give students a unique opportunity to design a space with lakeside views in a stunning location. 
RHS BridgewaterRHS Harlow Carr

Submissions by RHS Gold medal-winning designers 

A second part of the process has involved RHS Gold medal-winning designers submitting plans for other elements in three RHS Gardens - RHS Gardens Wisley, Harlow Carr and Bridgewater.


Wildlife and world kitchen gardens will be developed at RHS Garden Wisley, which will wrap around a major new Centre of Horticultural Science and Learning.  

Elements of the walled garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater will be designed, including an ornamental kitchen garden, and a therapeutic garden to complement a central garden created by designer Tom Stuart-Smith.  

The lake view garden at RHS Garden Harlow Carr will replace part of the former ‘Gardens through Time’ display. Intended to be a contemporary garden space, it will take advantage of new views to the lake and Winter Walk. Designers are also invited to submit concepts for garden landscapes, which will integrate the historic bath house and Harrogate Arms Hotel with the surrounding garden.


Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: “We are committed to encouraging and supporting young horticulturists."


She added: 'The student design competition is an incredible opportunity for someone to make their mark in horticulture alongside some of the biggest names in garden design. It will provide fantastic practical design experience for the winners and will not only boost their career but leave a tangible legacy to inspire others.'

'We are delighted that our development projects are moving apace and that we are now able to invite professional designers to submit preliminary designs for some of the fantastic new gardens we are planning. There is a huge potential for creative vision in these projects and we very much look forward to seeing everyone's ideas.' 

Competition process and information

The RHS is working closely with design colleges and schools on the student competition. The winning designs will be selected by a judging panel of RHS Garden curators and advisors in summer 2018.

All entries for the student competition and for the major garden designs will follow a simple process using a full design brief. Student competition entries are due by the end of the summer semester and major garden design submissions by 27 Septermber. For a design brief and further information about submission dates, please contact Ben Brace, RHS Horticultural Projects Manager at benbrace@rhs.org.uk  

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