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RHS Schools Garden Design Contest



September 15, 2017

The Royal Horticultural Society has launched its 2017 Schools Design Contest, a ten-week project aimed at inspiring interest in horticultural careers.

Secondary school students across the UK are challenged to design a garden for their school or local community as part of the RHS ‘Green Plan It Challenge’.  Backed by industry role models, including the Eden Project and London’s first underground farm, the competition tasks teams of green-fingered 12 to 14 year olds to develop imaginative designs for a specific place, using a range of materials and media to bring their ideas to life.

Each team of 6 will be paired with an industry mentor, such as a landscape architect, head gardener or plant scientist, who will work with them through the project and provide an insider’s glimpse into the powerful benefits of plants to people and places.

The groups will choose a space to tackle and carry out research before developing their ideas into 3-D models. The finished designs will be judged at regional events in December where one winner will be chosen from each of the 8 regions.

Last year’s winners included a team from Swanlea School in Whitechapel, East London who designed an inventive balcony garden for people living in inner-city blocks of flats with little outdoor space. Their design was brought to life over summer at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

(l to r) Nushrat Begum, Rahma Sharif and Raihan Miah of Swanlea School, Tower Hamlets, with their design at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Photo: RHS / Luke MacGregor

Team Swanleaf

Team Swanleaf 3-D model.


The RHS ‘Green Plan It Challenge’ is designed to be student led, allowing young people to explore community needs and environmental issues, which means that it has broad curriculum relevance in subjects such as Science, D&T, PSHE and Citizenship. The programme also aims to inspire young people to think about horticulture in different ways, to build their skills and to gain insight into a wide range of exciting careers – from plant science and design to gardening and journalism – in an industry that currently faces a skills shortage.

Click here for further information about the RHS ‘Green Plan It Challenge’, including details about becoming a mentor.


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