IT WAS a case of best by name and by nature when a Sheffield garden guru was named the UK’s top designer.
Lee Bestall, aged 33, of Inspired Garden Design, beat off stiff competition from some of the greenest fingers in the business to scoop the Designer of the Year title at Grand Designs Live.
His garden - ‘Cloud Nine’ - was transported in 17 pieces to the NEC in Birmingham for the contest, where a crack team was given just three days to put it together.
Working with Sheffield firm JPH Landscapes, he raced against the clock to prepare the garden for an inspection from a judging panel including the Channel 4 show’s frontman Kevin McCloud.
The title is the latest in a clutch of awards for Lee and his Handsworth-based business, which won gold at Harrogate Flower Show this year.
But the prize was arguably Lee’s best accolade to date, particularly as it won praise from presenter Kevin.
Kevin said: “The quality of this garden is unbelievable, and far higher than the usual standard for an exhibition.
“It really is built to last.”
Lee, from Aston, said: “The whole team worked 16 hour days with very little food and sleep, and finished the garden with just eight minutes to go!
“It was an unbelievable triumph and I’m so proud.”
The garden, created as if for a New York penthouse, had a hot tub, cedar structures and modern lighting.
Lee said: “We used an array of different lighting effects, from uplighting the sculpture and plants to step lights and even coloured LED strips. The lighting, the music, and even a shower were all controlled via an iPhone using the latest Rako technology. And the stripes of green planting on each wall helped to soften the harsh lines of industrial grey cladding and the green roof to the cedar structure provided a compact habitat for wildlife.
“The great thing about creating a garden for a show is you can invent your own client and therefore have the opportunity to do something a little different. Kevin’s comments were fantastic to hear.”
Lee’s garden was sold to a woman from Birmingham on the first day of the show - and Lee has already been invited back to defend his title next year.