The Award in the Time of COVID-19 EXPANDED ENTRY CRITERIA2020-09-17T06:49:30+00:00

The award is, like everything else, affected by COVID-19. The award has changed to accommodate the changes.

The Royal Horticultural Society has announced all shows for 2020 are cancelled and some shows in 2021 will not proceed.

However, the award is now open to entries for 2021. To help designers, Xardin have extended the entry criteria to include community gardens as well as how gardens, so if you have plans for a garden in your local hospice, hospital, school or other community project, we want you you to enter now.

The organisers believe this Pandemic, “The Lockdown” alongwith the associated societal shift are all fertile grounds for new ideas and encourages you to use your time well, to believe that your message should be heard.


What do I Do Now? How do I Get Involved?2020-09-17T06:24:12+00:00

Firstly, register your interest in the award HERE.

You can reserve your space on the virtual workshop via Zoom in Nov 2020 HERE.

For general information, you can contact us HERE. Even if you can’t apply this year, you can come and help build a show garden in summer 2020 to learn how its done.

You can also join the Facebook group to share successes and challenges with your peer group HERE.

Who Are The Judges?2019-10-16T16:19:20+00:00

Your entry will be assessed by industry representatives who care about helping new designers achieve more and bring more to the industry.

Confirmed Judges will be:

Steven Walley, Managing Director London Stone,

Edward Mairis Director of Xardin/show garden designer.

Each member of the assessment panel brings great experience from their Landscape career with the aim to help draw out hidden talents that might otherwise be lost.

To read the Judging panel Biographies, click here.

Who is This For?2020-09-17T06:25:32+00:00

This is for you if you:

  • Have never entered a show garden before
  • Want to develop your career as a garden designer
  • Like the idea of presenting your unique garden design philosophy on the public stage
  • Want to take on the challenge of building a show garden as a professional development opportunity
  • Have a community garden project you need help to build
  • Plan to enter a show garden one day, even if it’s not in 2021 (The FREE workshop will be invaluable as a business development opportunity on building your brand and building your style as well as learning how to make a success of a show garden)
What is The Purpose of the Award?2020-09-17T06:47:47+00:00

The award aims to promote good horticulture, good design and innovative thinking when looking to solve environmental and landscape challenges. Maintenance and sustainability of the garden is included the judging criteria.

Every year, fulfilling environmental, social, health and aesthetic issues in innovative ways becomes more important. This award specifically aims to realise and promote the artistic visions of the designer rather than the design being a small part of a bigger marketing campaign.

We want to encourage fresh thinking to enter the high profile arena that is flower show gardens, to influence the sector and create the foundations for solutions to these issues in everyday use.

The award will look at frugality, durability, carbon emissions, lifetime costs, all cost/benefits (social, environmental, financial, psychological etc.). For a full list of judging criteria, please contact the organiser.

What is the Award?2020-10-14T18:13:12+00:00

The award is a great way to launch your career, start a new chapter in your business and get industry recognition for your unique ideas. It’s the perfect way to make a show garden/community garden, you get mentoring help, free labour and a contribution towards materials from a team who have built show gardens before.

The winner will receive up to £10,000 worth of highly prized construction labour to build a show garden in 2021. This will be on a 50:50 matching basis for funds raised by the designer I.E. if the designer gets £9,000 of sponsorship or crowd funding, then Xardin will provide £9,000 of labour at the prevailing rates. There is also up to £2,000 worth of materials available from the prestigious London Stone Company.  The cash you put in yourself will be spent on any and all further materials needed to build the garden, including plants, and the labour will be used for planning and building the garden.  NOTE: Promotion, publicity, marketing, advertising and other associated costs are not covered and must be funded separately by the designer.

The aim of the assessment team is to ensure the garden is able to reach the standards required to get recognition and potentially a coveted RHS award.

Entries will be judged on two documents, a masterplan and the application form.

The application form contains details of the brief (why the design is unique) and it has room for information about other funds and collaborations, which will support the submission.   (Please refer to entry form which will be sent to you after you apply)

Who is Eligible?2020-09-17T06:32:55+00:00

You are eligible as a new garden designer if:

  • You are aged over 18, UK national
  • You are, or intend to operate as, a Garden designer, Landscape designer or Landscape architect before Dec 31st 2020
  • You have a new style, philosophy or a new design process to present to the world
  • You want to build your garden at an RHS show or in a community space

Your application will not be impeded if:

  • You have applied to build a show garden but have not been able to carry through to construction and/or judging.
  • You have never applied to enter a show garden before
Do You Need to Have Attended a Design School/Course?2019-08-06T22:09:30+00:00

No, your application will have to show a good standard of presentation and include good design practices, but if you have not attended a design school, you will either supply a selection of design drawings in addition to your one page design or attend an interview with members of the assessment team.

All entries will be assessed based on the merit of the application, which is namely to promote new thinking and new styles. Good design and good horticulture is a requirement, but unconventional ideas and processes are welcome. This is your chance to show everyone what you really want to express as an artist!

I Have Been Doing Garden Design for Years, Can I Still Enter?2019-08-06T22:10:15+00:00

Yes, this award is to promote new ideas, new styles and fresh thinking in garden/landscape design. Maybe you’ve had a design idea that you want to express for along time.

It doesn’t matter if you have just graduated from a design school, have been drawing gardens for years or never went on a design course. There is space in the application form to include details of your horticultural qualifications and relevant employment experience. (Referees may be requested to substantiate any experience.)

What is the Application Process?2020-09-17T06:34:49+00:00
  • Submit an entry form (provided when you click on the “Register Now” button – or  CLICK HERE) with a one page outline design to the competition before Friday 24th January 2021.

  • Attend the complimentary Xardin New Garden Designer 2020  Virtual Workshop on Nov 24th 2020, where you will get your submission ready to send to RHS selection panel. To book, CLICK HERE. (Optional, not obligatory)

  • Search for your funding / sponsorship  (best plan is to start now!)

  • Get the results of your application, February 14th 2021. 

  • Build the winning garden with the support of the award team in Summer 2021

  • Formal presentation of the award late 2021 (details to be confirmed)

  • The award winner will also receive an invitation to be on the assessment team for the 2021 award
What Happens After the Flower Show?2019-10-16T17:46:53+00:00

The ideal result is that you get publicity from three main origins. 1) Being in the RHS show.   2) The presentation of your award.  3) Utilising the accolades in your own marketing after the show.

The winner will have the opportunity to use the profile of having a garden at the show and any award won to gain a lot of promotion and benefits from the flower show for their career. How much you make of this is up to you via your own promotional, PR and social media activity. If you win an RHS medal, you will be able to display this on all your promotional materials to raise your profile and credibility as a designer. You may also be able to benefit from promotional activity that the RHS show organisers undertake themselves, such as getting your garden onto the BBC programmes that cover the flower shows.

Xardin will undertake to look for opportunities to re-build the show garden at a permanent site, which will bring further PR opportunity. This will require the collaboration of the designer and would be under the direction of Xardin. (upon completion of the break down, the garden remains the property of Xardin). There is no guarantee to secure a permanent home, only that any and all opportunities will be evaluated for feasibility. PR, marketing etc. would remain a cost attributed to the designer.

Xardin are looking to build good long term working relationships with the designers they work with and as such, as winner, you will be asked to participate in this relationship by offering first refusal for any and all construction or maintenance work to Xardin for a period of 18 months after the final show day. Xardin will negotiate on each contract in collaboration with the designer to ensure the quotes are fair, competitive and viable to ensure all parties are happy with the arrangement. We are proud to work with designers who expect to provide their customers an exceptional service and are confident your reputation will be improved by associating with us.

Designers will be free to contract with their clients for design fees, site management fees and plant supply during this partnership period.

This condition applies only to the award winners who receive the funding and does not apply to any other applicants. All applicants who do not benefit from winning the award are free from any obligation with Xardin and will not be tied to any contract. Xardin welcomes any invitation from a designer to quote for their construction or maintenance work. CLICK HERE to send us an email with a tender document or message about working with us.

What Costs are Involved?2020-10-14T18:33:39+00:00

The award is dependent on building a show garden/community garden in 2021, so you will need to allocate some finances to build the show garden although the cost to enter the award is limited to the entry fee. The costs of building the garden are any material costs (including plants) and your own PR/marketing costs.

  • Entry Fee: Entering the first stage is £60 for early bird (before Nov 24th 2020) or £127 standard fee (before January 29th 2021). This is the administration cost of your entry and includes attendance of the mentoring workshop which will help you get your submission accepted into an RHS flower show. (NB: If for any reason you are unable to attend the workshop, but want to submit your design, this fee will remain the same. )


  • Show costs: Once your submission is accepted by the award committee (and the RHS  – if applying for a show garden) , you will be responsible for producing drawings and a full submission required for the show. You will be expected to find funding from sponsors, loans, crowd funding and donations of materials to help build your show garden. This will be matched up to the value of £10,000 by Xardin in construction costs using the Xardin landscape team and London Stone will supply up to £2,000 of their materials (Please refer to FAQ #4 “What is the Award?” regarding the award details). A £200 deposit will be required, which is refunded after the show to guarantee your place if you are selected as the New Garden Designer 2020. The award organisers will provide details of RHS funding for which you could apply (some categories offer £10-15,000 in funding). You can also click here to get information about funding in the FB group “Making Show Gardens


  • Additional costs: The designer is responsible for any costs relating to Social media, PR, photography/videography, marketing, website, plants, plant sourcing, site visits, meeting venue hire, conference call expenses, entertainment/hospitality expenses, printing leaflets, staffing the show garden during the public open days, marketing materials costs, administration with show organisers. Cost of landscape materials, timber, fencing, aggregates, fixings, irrigation, waterpumps, pond liners and any other materials required to build the garden are at the cost of the designer. The workshop will cover more detail of these costs but you should allow about £1500 for leaflets, staffing and photography. It costs about £500-£1000 per square metre to buy plants and other landscape materials. Administration of the show garden will require about 200 hours of your time from January up to start of construction. You will be expected to be on site every day of the build and during the show.
Do I Need a Sponsor?2020-09-17T06:41:45+00:00

Having a sponsor is imperative to the success of a show garden. Making a show garden on a limited budget is stressful and its harder to achieve the best results.

The good news is that there are lots of companies who will donate in kind, and Xardin will help you find them. The workshop on November 26th will include an action plan for you to get sponsor money, crowd funding and RHS funding. You will meet a network of industry insiders who you can network with to make your project real.

In the 2021 applications, The RHS have suspended  “Mindfulness Gardens” at Chatsworth which normally offer funding of £10,000

but they still offer £11,000 for “Lifestyle Gardens” at Hampton Court (8x8m).

Click HERE to visit the “Making Show Gardens” Facebook group, which has information about these funds posted in the uploaded files.

What Happens if I Can’t Build the Show Garden in 2021?2020-09-17T06:45:24+00:00

There are always circumstances that mean a major project like this might not come to fruition at the intended time 🙁

Xardin will work the designer at all stages to find a solution to make the garden on another occasion.

In the event that the main contestant is unable to continue to the build stage of the show garden in 2021, the award and prize will be offered to the runners up in consecutive order until one of the entrants’ projects is deemed viable.

The award is dependent upon completing the build and being judged by the RHS judges, so in the event that this process is not completed, the award cannot be made. Xardin reserve the right to claim expenses incurred to date in the event that the show garden is not completed due to reasons beyond their control.

The award is dependant on the designer demonstrating new ideas, process or design, therefore, in the case that there are no entries that fulfill the criteria, Xardin does not guaruntee that an award will be made every year.

What Help Will I Get?2020-05-05T17:45:58+00:00

As soon as you contact us, you will get help with your application, your show garden and your career. Xardin want to support every designer to have the best career opportunities.

As a starting point you can come to the workshop on November 26th to find out more about making a show garden, or join our Facebook group for ongoing help in your design career.

The workshop is an intense injection of friendly and fun support that will clear up many obstacles. Once you have been selected for the award, Xardin will help you with reminders of what to do, when to order things, submit Health and Safety forms, advice on writing your press release and marketing campaign. Its a complete package of help and support that starts with the award and helps you get recognised for your work.