Stella Yang and Karsan Karavadra will see their winning design come to life within the RHS’s planned fifth garden when it opens to the public in 2020.

Eddy Fox, Programme Leader for Landscape Architecture said: "It was a change for the RHS to focus on a project in the north west of England, so when we got in touch with them as a local contributor to the new gardens they were keen for us to be involved.

"At first there was no clear brief for the competition, so we drafted a detailed brief ensuring that it could be encompassed into one of the modules on the Masters in Landscape Architecture (MLA) course. The brief included the requirement for the space to be flexible and adapt to different activities and abilities. It also needed to be delivered within a set budget.

"We had four pairs of students submit their designs to the RHS competition, along with students from other further education establishments. The judges said that all the entries from Manchester Met were of a very high standard.

"RHS have kept us involved in the consultation process for the garden so that we can make sure that it is delivered to the specifications that Stella and Karsan designed."

Stella (left) and Karsan (right)
Stella (left) and Karsan (right)

Stella Yang has now completed her MLA and said: "I studied Landscape Architecture for my undergraduate degree and gaining an MLA from Manchester Met would promote my skills in lots of areas. I felt I would most benefit from coming to university in the UK from China.

"My favourite feature about the RHS learning garden is our original idea of flexibility and getting people involved. We designed the movable plant boxes and the modular system, which is made by a few components. They are my favourite features because they make the garden interesting by letting children find the answer themselves by comparing how plants live in different conditions.

"I was really happy when we were chosen as the winners and thinking about any weakness that needed to be fixed and the details to be promoted as I know the winning work will actually be built."

Karsan Karavadra said: "I chose to study at Manchester Met because the course has a really good reputation with respected tutors. The course also looked like it would push me as a student, which it definitely did. Manchester as a city was also a big pull for me to join the course. 

"Regarding my favourite part of the design, it’s close between the Eco Chimney made of reinforced steel bars for birds and bats, or the dynamic concrete floor-scape with different textures, prints and education information. The Eco Chimney might just win it. I wasn't expecting to win at all but I was really happy for us a team, not only was it reassuring for our hard work to be recognised but it is a testament to our teamwork throughout the process."

Now that the MLA course at Manchester Met has established connections with the RHS, it is hoped that there will be future landscape architecture competitions that can be included in the course. Like Stella and Karsan, this will give future students experience of designing for projects that could see their work enjoyed by the many visitors to the RHS gardens.