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Main Awards Judges 2025

A panel of independent and respected experts, including designers, academics, journalists and horticultural professionals, will be selecting the shortlisted and winning designs.


Richard Sneesby FLI - Head Judge

Richard is a landscape architect, garden designer, author and until recently was course leader of the award winning degree course in Garden Design at University College Falmouth. He has presented a number of TV series, was co-author of The Garden; Maker’s Manual & wrote the ‘how to design’ sections of the RHS Encyclopaedia of Garden Design.

Richard runs a landscape & garden design practice, has won a number of design awards, delivers specialist workshops for the SGD and has been an external examiner and assessor for many landscape and garden design courses at home and  abroad. Richard has been a Judge for the SGD Awards since 2012 when the Awards were launched.



Julie Toll FSGD

Julie Toll has been designing gardens in the UK and abroad since 1982, gaining international recognition by winning seven gold and two silver medals including Best in Show at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show. She has always had a deep passion for gardens and horticulture. She trained at Pershore College of Horticulture specialising in tree and shrubs before studying to become a garden designer at the English Gardening School. Her lifelong interest in the natural world lies at the core of her design philosophy. Julie's inspiration has been garnered from a deep knowledge of plants and natural materials always working with the environment in a sustainable way. Julie's work has been featured extensively in the media.



Helen Elks-Smith FSGD

Helen is known for her thoughtful approach to design and expertise in subtle, textural planting. Her work is informed by an intuitive understanding of the way gardens make us feel, creating timeless gardens that are sensitive to their location. With a background in mathematics, she went on to study garden design at Writtle College where her two interests were combined giving her the rare ability to think both creatively and technically, so that the gardens she creates are not only beautiful but practical too.

Helen joined Angela Scanlon for series one and two of BBC TV Series 'Your Garden Made Perfect' and has won numerous awards including two RHS gold medals, People’s Choice, three design awards from the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) and two Design Excellence Awards from the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI).



Dr Phil Askew CMLI

Dr Phil Askew is Director of Landscape & Placemaking at Peabody leading on Thamesmead, London’s New Town and one of London’s largest regeneration and development projects.  He has a background in Horticulture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and leading on major regeneration and green infrastructure projects.  Prior to his current role he led the design and delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Park at the Olympic Delivery Authority and its transformation into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the UKs largest new urban park in over a century. With Peabody he is leading a process to ensure the unique landscape assets of Thamesmead are integrated into the regeneration process and create the greatest opportunities for the current and future population through landscape led green infrastructure.



Chris Young

Chris Young is a gardens consultant, landscape designer and Consultant Gardening Publisher for DK Books (Dorling Kindersley). Formerly Head of Editorial for the Royal Horticultural Society and Editor of RHS The Garden magazine, he left the RHS in 2021 and set up CY Gardens. This multi-disciplinary consultancy works with a range of clients for garden design, content creation, business mentoring and project development. He is Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopaedia of Garden Design, and author of Take Chelsea Home. Chris has also started publishing a weekly Substack newsletter (Why It Works), deconstructing and understanding garden design. He is based in Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire, but has projects across the country.



Ann-Marie Powell FSGD

Since 1998, award-winning practice Ann-Marie Powell Gardens Limited have designed gardens and outside spaces that work for their clients, family, and their clients' lifestyle. Their portfolio includes RHS Chelsea show gardens, private and commercial properties (including grade 1 and 2 listed), roof terraces, public spaces, hotels, school gardens and grounds, hospices, community gardens and development projects, all designed to combine the best of contemporary design with innovative use of materials in a naturalist style. Ann-Marie is an expert TV presenter, Royal Horticultural Society, Landscape Institute and Society of Garden Designers Judge, a best-selling book author and an acclaimed speaker.




Dan Riddleston 

Dan joined Bowles & Wyer landscape construction arm in 2006. With a background in hard and soft landscape construction, Dan has been involved in a long line of medal-winning Chelsea gardens and award-winning commercial landscapes. Dan’s client portfolio includes private clients, government bodies and commercial organisations, and his broad expertise includes landscape restoration, town & country gardens and commercial projects.





James Scott FSGD

A Fellow of the SGD, James founded The Garden Company in Hertfordshire in 1991. Since then, he and his team of designers and landscapers have been bringing clients’ dreams to life with bespoke, handcrafted places that people love. As MD and Principal Designer, James oversees all work produced by his SGD-Registered design practice. With over 30 years of experience, James and his team have an impressive track record of winning multiple national awards, including an SGD Design Award, a Homes & Gardens Design Award and most recently a BALI Special Award for Best Design-and-Build Project. Recognised by Pro Landscaper in 2022 as one of the Most Influential People in landscaping today, James is on the SGD Accreditation Panel, BALI adjudication panel for new Designer Members and regularly judges Pro Landscaper’s Project Awards. James is highly committed to sustainable gardens and grounds that celebrate nature and have a positive impact on the environment. He first developed his love of plants and their place in the greater landscape growing up in the Cotswolds. He studied at Merrist Wood College in Surrey and began work in London at a design-and-build business before setting up The Garden Company.


James Alexander-Sinclair FSGD

James is a writer of consumer magazines, national newspapers; occasional television broadcaster; lecturer and blogger. He is a RHS Ambassador and Vice-President, judge and a garden designer, including planting. 






Dan Lobb MSGD

Dan is an award-winning landscape designer and sculptor. He is also a member of the RHS Show Judging Team, and a long-standing member of the SGD Accreditation Panel. His design work has received numerous awards, including RHS Gold Medal and ‘Best Conceptual Garden’. Dan runs a successful design studio, creating innovative, imaginative environmentally-responsible domestic and public spaces. He also regularly lectures in art and garden design at numerous institutions including KLC School of Design, The Arts University Bournemouth and West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Dan is a trustee of a local tree planting charity, supporting the development of and care for new woodlands planted by children.



Tommaso del Buono FSGD

Tommaso del Buono, CMLI MSGD, left his native Florence in the 80s to study Landscape Architecture at the University of Greenwich. Having set up his own practice, Del Buono Gazerwitz, in 2000, he has since masterminded the creation of many beautiful gardens and Landscapes, in the UK and internationally. Currently working on projects in Italy, Ireland, France and Spain as well as the UK, he was awarded a Gold Medal at Chelsea for the garden created for the Daily Telegraph in 2014 as well as a Silver Gilt for Daylesford Organic in 2008. In 2016 Tommaso was the recipient of both the SGD International and Grand Awards for a large private garden and country estate in the south of France.




Claire Foggett

Clare is currently editor of The English Garden magazine, the UK’s best-selling luxury gardening magazine. A qualified horticulturist, she trained at Pershore College of Horticulture, and has worked in gardening publishing for the past 20 years, spending time at the RHS on members’ magazine The Garden, and 12 years at Bauer’s weekly title, Garden News. She’s a voluntary postholder for the Hardy Plant Society for whom she edits the HPS’s biannual magazine Cornucopia and is a member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee. She is also a former chair of the Garden Media Guild, the association that brings together gardening media professionals.




Student Awards Judges 2025

Sarah Morgan FSGD

Sarah Morgan is an award-winning Landscape Designer working on projects home and abroad. Sarah has spent over 35 years working with clients, architects, developers and contractors to develop a design ethic that produces landscapes that are visionary, stimulating, purposeful, and considerate of long-term management and maintenance requirements.  Sarah has recognised the importance of training Landscape Consultants and Designers to have a firm knowledge and understanding of designing with plants within a sympathetic structural framework. Sarah was Programme Leader at University Kent at Canterbury for the PG Diploma in ‘Garden History, Management and Design’ (1994-1999); Head of faculty, Landscape Horticulture and Design, and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Garden Design at Hadlow College (2009-2014), and lecturer in Planting Design at the University of Greenwich.





David Stevens FSGD

David Stevens FSGD has been designing gardens worldwide for over fifty years. He has 26 RHS Chelsea medals, 14 of which have been Gold, and he has won three 'Best in Show' awards. He has written 21 books on garden design and is one of the leading Educators.  David has had an immense influence on the growth and development of garden design both through his own work and as a teacher. He was there at the inception of the Society of Garden Designers and is now one of the many SGD Fellows.




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Winners Quotes