Embrace the City – planting design for small space gardens

Sponsored by the London College of Garden Design Melbourne


The London College of Garden Design Melbourne is delighted to support this exciting garden show with a competition to help budding new garden designers and experts to show what they can achieve with plants in a small space.

The competition is open to anyone involved in garden design, horticulture and landscaping.

The lucky winners will receive:

  • Recognition and coverage for all the exhibitors involved.
  • The opportunity to meet potential new customers.
  • The opportunity to be creative, do something a little different and start your show garden career.
  • A 30 minute mentoring session with leading UK designer Andrew Fisher Tomlin, course leader of LCGD’s Planting Design Diploma in the UK.
  • A grant of $200 to help you cover the costs of plants.

There are 6 places available and you will be given a 2.4m x 2.4x raised garden bed ready to plant.

Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show takes place from 25th to 29th March 2020 and is located in the grounds of the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building & Carlton Gardens. This will be the 25th Anniversary Show, a very special year to get involved.


We want you to design a great planting scheme that shows off your skills to visitors on a theme of ‘Embrace the city – planting design small space gardens’. Show us your perfect urban border. You might decide to create a wildlife friendly design, a waterwise planting for summer droughts, or a party planting for an urban garden space, whatever your chosen story it should work within the overall theme of ‘Embrace the city’.

You will be given a 2.4m x 2.4m raised border (0.2m high) made from timber and the rest is up to you to design, plant and finish to a show standard. The show will also supply a display board alongside the garden so that people can find out all about you. You will not be able to excavate the ground but the border will be raised above ground.


You have just 2 days before the show to put your border together and further information will be sent to all successful applicants.


Your submission should be no more than 1 x A3 page and include:

  • An outline drawing of your idea including an elevation of the planting design.
  • A mood board showing an idea of some of the plants you will use.

Entries should be submitted by 10th February 2020.

Winners will be announced on 17th February 2020.

Remember that we are only looking for a concept design at this stage. LCGD can help advise where some local materials may be able to be sourced but it is up to the entrant to build their own design brief.

Please email your submission either as a PDF digital copy to:


or as a hard copy to:

London College of Garden Design – Melbourne

ATT Charlotte

Unit 12, 229 Hotham Street, Ripponlea, Vic 3185

The successful designs will be selected by leading UK designer’s Andrew Fisher Tomlin, course leader of LCGD’s Planting Design Diploma in the UK and Graham Ross.

Some show display tips:

Here are some top tips for designing your space.

  • Focus on one big idea that fits within the “Embrace the city” theme.
  • Think about what idea might appeal to visitors or promote an idea that you are interested in such as a hobby, activity or charitable cause.
  • Borders with unusual and interesting plants might attract more attention.
  • Think about how your design reflects your image and the work you do.
  • When thinking about your plants remember that the show is the end of March and Autumn can be in effect at that time of the year.
  • You may even be able to grow some of the plants yourself.
  • Don’t be too restrictive in varieties chosen. You may find that you’ll need to substitute plants and flowers nearer to the time.
  • Remember that getting top quality vegetables in a show garden is hard but not impossible.

If you have any questions please email: info@lcgd.com.au