Landscapes of Distinction
The Registered Master Landscapers have recently announced the winners of the 2021 Landscapes of Distinction Awards, which showcase the outstanding achievements and work of professional landscaping practices of all sizes and specialties around the country.
The Landscapes of Distinction Awards are the highest accolade of professional recognition in the industry and a key vehicle for the promotion of landscaping practice across both residential and commercial projects, covering landscape construction, design, horticulture, maintenance and revegetation.
The coveted Supreme Winner Award was given to Auckland-based Humphreys Landscaping for their “Herne Bay House”, which also took away first place Gold medals in the Premier Awards section in the Construction, Design and Horticulture categories. The inspiration for this design was that of an inner city oasis achieved with a combination of screening hedges, large trees and bamboo hemming the edges of the property to cosset a sub-tropical inner sanctum showcasing large palms and low lush planting. Coastal planting on the lower sections of the gardens incorporating steps to the beach were curated sympathetically to retain existing coastal trees including a mature Puriri tree and Pohutukawas.
The panel of judges, comprising leading New Zealand landscape industry practitioners each with their own specialty, summarised the Supreme Winner as “a triumph of engineering, construction, landscape technology, design, and plant management. The double sloping coastal cliff section has been structurally stabilised in order to support a large house and garden complex. The lush resort-style landscape provides a truly luxurious outdoor living environment, with highest quality materials, planting, and maintenance.
“This garden truly demonstrates a high level of landscape design, engineering and technology, along with masterful gardening, to deliver the Master Landscapers Landscape of the Year for 2021.”
A record number of entries were received for this year’s Awards – in fact, 50 percent up on the previous year – according to Registered Master Landscapers Chief Executive Office, Janine Scott. Tāmaki Makaurau, in particular, was well-represented with Auckland-based companies picking up a further 20 Gold medals in the Awards for their entries. “We are thrilled by the level of interest this year, and pleased to see so many new entrants,” says Scott. “In total, we received nearly 90 entries, which is 50 percent up on last year.
“We are also seeing an increase in the quality, scope, and uniqueness of the entries being submitted. Our industry is in good heart despite the challenges of the times and that is a tribute to the dedication and high standards of our members.”
In the Awards’ Premier section, which recognises the best overall projects from the winning entries across residential and commercial project categories, Diva Landscapes’ entry for The Lodge at the Hills in Arrowtown scooped up the Best Garden Maintenance/Management category award. The Premier section, this year, also offered Special Feature awards to two unique projects whose scope moved outside the usual parameters of the Premier categories’ judging criteria, namely HEB Construction’s “Maungawhau / Mt Eden Tihi Boardwalk” and “Westfield Newmarket Greenwalls” by Natural Habitat.
Natural Habitat’s “Westfield Newmarket Greenwalls” design showcases seven striking exterior green walls covering a total area of 750 square metres, making it the largest green wall development in the Southern Hemisphere. Ranging from 50 square metres to 112 square metres in size and spread over five levels, the green walls house in excess of 18,000 plants, most of which are New Zealand native species, irrigated with harvested rainwater.
Of the “Mt Eden Boardwalk”, the judges, who credited the project with being an art form in its own right in the Auckland landscape – “a delicate thread of access for the people to access the Tihi crater” – praised the design for its innovation and sensitivity to the long-term preservation of the site, “The boardwalk structure enables the protection of the archaeological and cultural fabric of the landscape, reducing the impact of visitors to the maunga. It provides a safe and durable walking surface around the crater rim that provides a quality visitor experience and prevents further damage to the underlying cultural and archaeological values of the maunga.
“The innovative construction techniques were a result of international research into overseas low impact cultural site protection. This involved the installation of bespoke screw piles using a hand-operated power tool, eliminating the need for an excavator to track to the pile locations. This method greatly reduced disturbance to the scoria substrate and landform. The key benefits of this technique is that it is reversible – the foundations can be removed in the future, leaving no trace that the structure was ever there.”
The 2021 People’s Choice Award was awarded to Christchurch-based Onlandscapes Ltd for its entry “40 Thorrington Road.” These prestigious awards are not only an opportunity for peer recognition of landscape professionals’ work to gain recognition and national exposure but they also exemplify the invaluable impact that a cohesive approach to the planning and design of our built and natural environments can have to the community at large.