RHS Young garden designer of the year 2013 FINALIST


Garden Club London founder and principal designer Tony Woods has been announced as one of three finalists of the RHS National Young Designer of the Year competition.  The annual competition is open to designers and students under 28 from across the UK. The three talented finalists were chosen by the RHS Garden Selection Panel comprising Mark Gregory, Rosemary Alexander and Rosemary Campbell-Preston. Each finalist will receive a grant of £12,000 towards the cost of building a show garden at the RHS flower show at Tatton Park in Cheshire in July. The theme for this years gardens is ‘Eco-Innovations’

” The panel were impressed by the strong design features and accomplished planting in ‘Escape to the City’ ”  Kris Hulewicz, RHS Show Manager

The garden is titled ‘Escape to the City’ and was born from the concept of fusing the design requirements of an urban garden with the planting elements of a larger rural garden. Growing up in the country is a strong influence in the design and many of Tony’s garden design clients have roots in the country and like himself, have moved to the city to progress their career but want to have a rural feel to their urban garden rather than the stark contemporary landscaping that is often associated with urban garden design.


When I leave the city and I tell people that I am a gardener and designer in London the opinion of many is that it must be a challenge as there are so few gardens in the city and and gardens that exist are ultra contemporary yards that lack plants and wildlife. This is far from reality and the truth is that whilst London gardens are generally small spaces, the owners often desire a space filled with plants and soft landscaping, a little patch of the country outside the back door.

My RHS show garden at Tatton is about showing that you can have the contemporary design elements that look great and make effective use of the space but urban gardens can have soft landscaping and an abundance of plants at the heart of the design. It is choosing the plants carefully for a functional and sustainable planting scheme that I have really concentrated on in recent years and hope that this shows through in the final garden. It would have been easy to create a show garden with masses of colour and stunning flowers but this simply does not fulfil the needs of the urban garden where space is at a premium and planting conditions are often extreme –  dry shade and full sun are two extremes that I often come across.  The message that ‘Escape to the City’ aims to deliver to the public is that you do not have to compromise on design to have an Eco-sensitive and sustainable garden. The garden will be built using reclaimed and recycled materials where possible including recycled stone, timber and metal.


Tony who lives in Clapham, SW London has worked in horticulture since leaving school at the age of 16 and moved to London 5 years ago to further his career in landscaping and garden design. Tony studied at Newton Rigg College in his native Cumbria gaining a National Diploma in horticulture and also at Myerscough College in Lancashire gaining a FdSc in professional gardening and plant knowledge. After working working for one of London’s largest landscape companies for over 4 years at Foreman and management level, Tony established his own garden and design company called ‘Garden Club London’ which specialises in plant focused garden design and soft landscaping. The company has already built an impressive portfolio of stunning garden design and build projects across London as well as a loyal regular client list who use the companies planting and gardening services.


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