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37 Landscape Gardening

Successful landscape gardening could be described as the Olympic decathlon and men's gymnastics combined. In competitions, young landscape gardeners compete over several days in a varied and physically exhausting setting where they need a good grasp of work methods and ergonomics. Teams in landscape gardening have two members. The outcome of their work will be visible and lasting.

The competition area at the Helsinki Fair Centre will be built in the parking lot. As in the other international competitions, a 3,000 m2 tent will cover the 7000x7000x300 wooden frames where the gardens will be constructed. These boxes will contain the foundation materials (gravel, compost etc.) up to the top soil.

The teams will build a small landscape garden in accordance with the specification. The project will be spread over four days. The competitors will be allowed to use different materials such as natural stone, concrete, wood, soil, turf, plants and artificial materials such as plastics and fibre matting. The building elements include concrete slabs, natural stone, walls, steps, wooden structures, water structures and bedding. The teams will choose 4–5 of these. Hard surface finishes and beddings will be compulsory elements. Bedding and grass will have to account for 60% of the surface area.

The assessment criteria include: implementation according to the plan, measuring, levelling and paling, use of natural stone and concrete stones and slabs as surface structures, stepping stones and, in other similar structures, soil handling, planting and handling of trees, shrubs and perennials, laying turf, and the correct use of tools. A systematic approach, health and safety, teamwork, overall tidiness and environmental protection are also important issues.

The project will include only practical work, but theoretical knowledge will be demonstrated, for example, when the competitors interpret planning documentation and create small plant arrangements. Continuous assessment will be used, and the panel of judges will decide the final criteria. The final mark depends on the total number of points.

The project specification and material samples will be sent to the participating countries three months prior to the event to give the competitors a chance to practice. The judges will change the preliminary specification by a third in order to provide a surprise element and maintain the level of difficulty. So far, twelve countries have registered for landscape gardening, including China, Japan and Australia. The number of competitors will be confirmed by the end of the year. The panel will include judges from each participating country.

Landscape gardening provides some very complex and challenging projects for the project planners, competitors and judges alike.

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Updated 8.3.2005  © 2004 Skills Finland ry

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