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Winners Quotes


Thinking of entering the SGD Awards 2025?  Wondering what the benefits might be? Read what our previous winners had to say:

‘I’m still on cloud nine after winning the award. It’s a wonderful trophy.  It was a complete surprise on the night and a delightful endorsement that has given me a boost, inner confidence and the biggest smile!Mandy Buckland MSGD, winner of the Big Ideas, Small Budget Award 2022

When I first graduated as a garden designer I was lucky enough to win both categories of the SGD Student Awards. That was a great early boost to my career and set me on a good footing to build and develop my practice. Winning one of the Main Awards feels like a natural progression. It is always rewarding to have your work recognised and celebrated by esteemed and respected peers. It is also good to put your work out there and have it compared and judged against that of others too. I believe that healthy competition, sharing, constructive critiquing and a coming together at the awards ceremony can all help lead to change for the good of the industry.’  Tom Massey MSGD, winner of the Small Residential Garden Award 2022

‘Receiving two SGD Awards is helping our visibility on social media and in magazines within the industry. It is also a way of having the work evaluated amongst our peers and understanding where value is placed.Stefano Marinaz MSGD, winner of the Garden Jewel Award and Planting Award 2022

To be recognised by your peers and a panel of greatly respected judges is a wonderful boost. For me and my small design studio, this award has allowed us to take our work to the next level - elevating self-confidence in our designs, attracting new clients and reinforcing relationships with existing clients and professionals are some of the benefits we have already seen after a short time. Beyond the impact on our studio, the annual awards celebrate the very best in what we do as an industry - a chance to revel in the quality of design work and enjoy networking opportunities. They are undoubtedly an important event in the calendar.’  Harry Holding, winner of the Fresh Designer Award 2022

“It was really great to receive the awards and have our work recognised and appreciated by our peers, industry and the public! We are both relatively new garden designers and as we embark on the early stages of our career it is great to receive a nod to our designs. We have very happy clients, and we enjoy our work, but it adds an extra something to have recognition from the industry. Entering the gardens into the awards gave us an opportunity to look back on the gardens we had created and gave us the opportunity to pause and reflect on our work. We hope that the awards are a building block in bringing us recognition within the industry and beyond.”  Alice Ferguson MSGD & Jamie Innes, Artisan Landscapes - winners of the Garden Jewel; Big Ideas, Small Budget and People’s Choice Awards 2021

“I was so delighted that my garden was shortlisted in the SGD Awards and really chuffed to actually win. As a relative newcomer to the industry, success at the SGD Awards has already had such a positive impact on my studio. Recognition from the SGD and the judging panel of garden design professionals I greatly admire is a huge confidence boost and most definitely helps to build a fledgling business profile. Potential clients, contractors, craftsmen and suppliers feel confident in your abilities and existing clients feel like they made the right decision choosing you in the first place!“  Sheila Jack - winner of the Fresh Designer Award 2021.

Success at the SGD awards has undoubtedly had a positive impact on our practice. It’s given us the confidence to be more ambitious in our designs and braver when presenting these ideas to clients and architects.  The judging panel is made up of designers and standard bearers I greatly admire, so personally I believe to receive their recognition is the highest honour a garden designer can achieve. Adolfo Harrison MSGD, winner of the Garden Jewel and Judge’s Award 2020

The SGD Awards are the only awards that recognise and celebrate the work of garden designers specifically (rather than landscape contractors), and as such it’s the one you want to win and promote.  It’s judged by a well-respected panel of fellow design professionals and it’s about real gardens, not show gardens, and that means an awful lot - gardens that win are enduring, sustainable and have year-round appeal.  Winning an SGD Award also makes your working life a little easier - potential clients already feel confident in your abilities and existing clients feel justified in choosing you in the first place!  If you are proud of a garden that you’ve designed and would like it to reach a wider audience I would urge you to enter the SGD Awards.  Debbie Roberts MSGD, winner of the Medium Residential and people’s Choice Awards 2020

We were so delighted to win this award. The SGD awards are some of the most coveted in the industry. This project goes to the heart of what we are and do as a practice. The client was so pleased – it will definitely go up on the wall there! John Wyer FSGD, winner of the Healing or Learning Garden Award 2020

I didn’t imagine for one second that we would win either award.  It takes a fair amount of time, energy, and focus to get the forms and photographs together and submitted on time for the awards.  It takes real courage to enter a scheme into any award competition even if you think it might be a worthy contender, as the fear of failure cannot be ignored.  I also think and have come to realise, self-doubt and fear must sometimes be tamed and overcome.  It is important to put oneself forward.  Having won both categories, I can’t remember ever feeling a greater sense of relief, joy, and gratitude to the judges and my hugely hard-working team, The Outdoor Room, and of course my client who had such unswerving confidence in us all.  In short, my tips to those thinking of entering are the following:  pick the right project, take lots of photos and don’t be afraid to have a go!  Butter Wakefield MSGD, winner of the Small Residential Garden and Hardscape Awards 2020. 

The response from winning the SGD has been incredible and has added a lot of Kudos to the reputation of our registered practice. We have seen some superb enquiries and projects come from other industry peers in architecture and interior design wanting to collaborate and refer our garden design services. The SGD awards are very highly regarded externally and internally in the garden design and landscape industry. Tony Woods MSGD, winner of the Public & Commercial and Roof Garden Award 2019

Winning an SGD award is a huge endorsement as the Society has high standards and is recognised as a seminal body within the industry. Winning an award rewards with recognition for the passion, body and soul poured into the amazing journey of designing a garden. Personal and professional confidence are enhanced through the ensuing PR attached to winning and award, with happy clients an ever-growing number of talented people to work and collaborate with. Martha Krempel, winner of the Big Ideas, Small Budget Award 2019

Winning the SGD Grand Award last year was a great accolade for my studio and wider team. It has brought increased recognition for my design approach and a lot of interest in the way we do things. The SGD Awards are a great way of having a project assessed for technical quality. I would recommend them for the rigorous process required as well as the potential luck of being short listed or even winning.  Marian Boswall MSGD, Grand Award winner 2019

As the joint winner of the Fresh Designer Award 2019, it has been a very worthwhile experience. It’s fantastic to have your work recognised, it’s already brought in new work and plenty of quality advertising.  It shows credibility to your clients. I would urge anyone with a suitable project to have a go. Sam Westcott, joint winner of the Fresh Design Award 2019.

We were very proud and pleased to receive an SGD Award and I would definitely encourage other designers to take part in the process.  It does of course take a little time to put together an entry pack, - however the feedback from the judges,  the professional recognition from the Society and a great Awards celebration night made this completely worthwhile!  We feel that winning the Award has reinforced to our clients and potential new clients that our commitment to top-quality design, build-ability and genuine collaboration with clients and suppliers is a winning formula. James Scott MSGD, winner of the Small Residential Award 2019

In 2018 The Annual SGD Awards were moved to match the year of the Ceremony in, therefore there were no 2018 Awards

"It was a fantastic feeling to win an award last year. Not only did it give me recognition for the project I’m most proud of, but also lots of press coverage, which has led to great project inquiries. I do encourage people to enter their work as it's a really important industry event which recognises professionalism in garden and landscape design, which in turn promotes the industry as a whole. It is also a great networking event in the calendar." Emily Erlam, winner of the Roof Garden Award 2017

"There are always reasons why you might talk yourself out of entering award schemes. It takes time to compile all the paperwork - time that is often in short supply. But it is great to offer your work up to be judged alongside your peers as it's all too easy to be your own harshest critic. I would urge everyone to enter the SGD Awards. Whether you win or not, entering for an award is a really constructive process." Helen Elks-Smith MSGD, winner of the Small Garden Award 2017

"It has been a great honour and yet rather humbling to win an SGD award as the standard is always so high. It is a real boost to your confidence to have your work recognised to be worthy of an SGD award and really helps your present and future clients feel confident in the quality of your work and achievements. New clients have all said - `we take it our garden will be an SGD award winning garden too! ‘ The SGD Awards judging panel is looking for excellent quality work and that is a great message to put across to the industry. I would definitely encourage members to enter - so much to gain." Sue Townsend MSGD, joint winner of the Garden Jewel Award 2017

"Entering the SGD Awards was a first for me and I was really pleased I did. To have your design skills recognised by such an august body is an honour. I would urge all designers to enter.  It widens your audience and is a boost to your business. I've already begun work on a new commission as a direct result of the client reading about the award, and have another lined up." Joanne Willcocks. Winner of the Big Ideas, Small Budget Award 2016

"I would really recommend entering the SGD Awards.  I remember feeling similarly that it was a busy time of year and it took additional time to compile the work for entry. It was certainly worth making the effort. It's a great accolade and has offered additional endorsement of my design approach when speaking with prospective clients.”  Dan Lobb MSGD.  Winner of the Designing for Community Space Award and the Judges' Award 2016

"It's definitely well worth entering the SGD Awards. As a winner of the Future Designer Award in 2015, I can say it really benefits your business and your confidence!" David Loy. Winner of the Future Designer Award 2015

“Entering the SGD Awards 2014 was an exciting challenge for me. I was absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted in August. Having my design for The Old Bakery win the Small Budget Garden Award has been a fabulous start to the New Year and a huge confidence booster. The publicity surrounding the Awards is phenomenal and, especially for less well-known garden designers or Pre-Registered Members of the SGD, it is a priceless way of getting your name and business out there in front of a much bigger audience. I am already looking at my portfolio to see what would be suitable for entering next year! I would thoroughly recommend entering to anyone thinking about it”. Rebecca Smith – Winner of the Small Budget Garden Award 2014

 “Winning three SGD Awards for Horatio’s Garden was a thrill not just for me but for everyone who had put so much work into making it a reality. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in your career, winning a SGD Award is welcome recognition for all the hard work that goes into creating a garden. To anyone thinking of entering the Awards next year, I would say if you have a garden you are pleased with then sharing it at the SGD Awards will not only help your business but also show that gardens are important and that our industry is one that is going from strength-to-strength.” Cleve West MSGD – Winner of the People’s Choice Award, the Public and Commercial Space Award and the Judges’ Awards 2014.

“I'm so proud to have received such high recognition for my work at the SGD Awards - it has been a very humbling and exciting experience all around and I would really encourage other designers to step forward and ‘go for it!'  You have nothing to loose and so much to gain!

My clients whose gardens won the awards are thrilled to bits whilst my other clients - passed, current and potential are all delighted with my SGD Awards  - it has given them even more confidence in my work.  The awards have generated new enquiries for work and great media coverage. They have also given a really positive boost to the contractors and suppliers I use - without whom none of it would have happened! 

Many of us work on our own, often with only our clients giving us feedback, so I was thrilled when the SGD Award judges with their in-depth knowledge of garden design, visited the gardens last summer and made some wonderful comments about my work. I would have been content with that alone!.  When I heard that I was a finalist - I leapt with joy - well OK I had a few ecstatic tears!   When I heard I had won not one but two awards, I was stunned and thrilled to bits - there was such a high calibre of work amongst all the finalists! The SGD award ceremony in London was the icing on the cake - it really was like the Oscars of garden design - meeting and  mingling with the great of good of garden design, landscaping and suppliers.  Fantastic!' Sue Townsend MSGD - Winner of the Planting Design Award and Small Residential Garden Award 2014

“For us the SGD Awards set the standard - these are for real gardens that have stood the test of time and you are judged by your peers.  It's always an honour to be shortlisted, and winning is very special indeed.  It doesn't get any better. Anyone thinking of entering should definitely go for it.  If you are fortunate enough to win then it is an endorsement of your work for all to see.” Debbie Roberts MSGD and Ian Smith MSGD of Acres Wild – Winners of the International Award, the Large Residential Garden Award and the Grand Award 2014

 “Just being nominated as a finalist for the award was a wonderful feeling.  Having the finalist logo for my website and business cards, really gave my emerging business a head start.  I think it allows prospective customers to have confidence in me whilst my portfolio develops.  The awards dinner in London was a very special evening that I will always remember.  It was brilliant to be at the same occasion alongside people I have admired for many years and a real confidence boost to have my work recognised by the Society.  Well worth the effort.” Joanna Midwinter – Joint winner of the Student Award 2014

I was honoured and thrilled to win this exciting award. It felt brilliant to have your work recognised by ones peers and the award has helped stimulate new interest in my business. To anyone thinking of entering the SGD Awards next year, I would say Go for it! You have nothing to lose! Rosemary Coldstream MSGD – Winner of the Pocket Garden Award 2014



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Media PartnerThe English Garden

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Grand Award PartnerRHS

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For press information and images or to arrange press interviews, please contact SGD PR Consultant Hind + Osen 

Winners Quotes