RHS Young Landscape Contractor & Young Planting Designer

Three pairs of finalists showed off their skills at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, reworking a winning design from last year's show

Three core elements make up any garden at an RHS Show; planting, design and construction, and we have now completed this year's quest to find the best emerging talent from the planting and construction worlds with the return of the RHS Young Landscape Contractor (supported by BALI) and the RHS Young Planting Designer competitions.

Three pairs of finalists built and planted a portion of Nature and Nurture, a garden designed by last year’s Young Designer Competition winner Caitlin McLaughlin. Each pair was briefed to interpret the design with a style of garden – urban, country or coastal.

Chaos to CoastlineChaos to Coastline Coastal Garden

Landscape Contractor Elliott Hood
Planting Designer Ben Poulter

Winner: RHS Gold medal, Best RHS Young Landscape Contractor & Young Planting Designer

Ben and Elliott created this coastal garden that has to deal with the following conditions: free-draining soil, sunny, south-west facing; windy. The objective of the ‘coastal retreat’ was to create a functional social space for the clients to enjoy and escape the restraints and strains of the hub-bub of city living. With the use of multiple areas and levels the design combined the crisp sharp lines of modern landscaping with free-flowing planting schemes in keeping with the coastal theme.

'I was encouraged to apply for the RHS Young Landscape Contractor competition by my boss', said Elliott, who has already worked on three award-winning show gardens at Chelsea. 'Being part of the competition has taken my confidence to the next level, and I've really enjoyed having input into the design, which is a new thing for me. It has been a fantastic experience from start to finish.'

Elliott HoodBen Poulter


Arrange: RearrangeArrange: Rearrange Countryside Garden

Landscape Contractor Josh McDonnell
Planting Designer Anna Rhodes

Josh and Anna produced a country garden with the following conditions: loamy; free-draining; south-facing; sunny; back garden. The garden celebrates the cyclical life of plants. Situated in the countryside, the garden showcased plants as a crop to be harvested and explored creative means to extend our appreciation of them. There were native and local plants and a blend of the unusual and ornamental. The garden showed the processes of growing, harvesting, cutting, drying, arranging, displaying, decomposing and reproducing.

Anna RhodesJosh Mcdonnell


Let 'em Grow Urban RetreatLet 'em Grow Urban Retreat

Landscape Contractor Karl Crowe
Planting Designer Giulio Passarelli

Karl and Giulio created an urban garden with the following conditions: shade from neighbouring properties; north/northeast-facing; rich/improved soil. The garden was inspired by neglected urban spaces where the vegetation takes control over an unmanaged site, making the most of any tiny bit of soil available between the pavers, the cracks in the walls and so on. The garden name refers to letting native or exotic plants grow and develop over time with minimal intervention. They also wanted the human/nature relationships to grow in this space that could act simultaneously as an urban retreat both for people and for wildlife.

Karl CroweGiulio Passarelli


Could you be our 2018 winner?

Register your interest for 2018 competitions – email: [email protected]


BALI logoThe RHS Young Landscape Contractor competition is supported by BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries). Guidance, advice and support is available throughout the process.

BALI is the UK’s largest trade body for professional landscapers, garden designers and affiliated suppliers, with more than 880 vetted ‘Registered’ members. Its mission is to be the trade association of choice for the nation’s landscape professionals and to promote, support and inspire them to be leaders of an environmentally, ethically, and commercially sustainable landscape industry.
BALI’s support for the RHS Young Landscape Contractor is part of its declared commitment to encourage more young people to consider landscaping as a career and to help them achieve the very highest standards in their chosen discipline.

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