The Hepworth Wakefield has announced that landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith has won the gallery’s competition to design a new public garden at its West Yorkshire site.

Measuring approximately 6,000 square metres – the equivalent of two and a half football pitches – the Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden will be one of the UK’s largest free public gardens. The design will mix elements of the riverside location with references to Wakefield’s industrial heritage.

Beech hedges will provide shelter to vulnerable areas of planting, while large trees such as Beech and Pin Oak will be planted to create bookends to the garden. An extensive meadow will also cover the main area of garden, with a high proportion of the locally native Purple Moor Grass mixed with other more colourful and exotic species.

Stuart-Smith said: “Public commissions like these are scarce in the UK. I truly believe in the community and health benefits that gardens can bring and I am particularly excited by the socially transformative opportunities of this project. I am looking forward to working with the gallery to create a beautiful public space in this riverside setting that will be treasured by local residents and visitors alike.”

Stuart-Smith was among four shortlisted international garden designers and landscape architects vying for the opportunity. The shortlist included: Christopher Bradley Hole and Brita von Schoenaich (joint submission), Cleve West, and Peter Wirtz.

David Liddiment, chair of The Hepworth Wakefield Trust and the garden judging panel, added: “The garden will enhance the experience of visiting The Hepworth and crucially, attract tourism to the city, further boosting the local economy. We had a wonderful reaction to the display of the four shortlisted designs last October and took into account the views of the public as part of our decision-making process. This included continuing to display sculptures within the garden.”

In order to fund the project, the gallery has launched a £2.2 million fundraising campaign. It has also announced a £250,000 gift from the Garfield Weston Foundation towards the costs.

Stuart-Smith is known for high-profile projects including a garden at Windsor Castle commissioned by the Royal Household to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. He also created the Keeper’s House Garden at the Royal Academy of Arts and has designed eight Gold Medal winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.

1. Aerial view of The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden. Image: courtesy Tom Stuart-Smith and The Hepworth Wakefield
2. Ground view in summer of The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden. Image: courtesy Tom Stuart-Smith and The Hepworth Wakefield

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