Paul Bangay to judge TDF Design Awards

Last month The Design Files announced the launch of TDF Design Awards of which Eco Outdoor is proud to be a major sponsor. The diverse awards program covers 12 different creative categories including a landscape category judged by the esteemed Paul Bangay, Rick Eckersley and Georgina Reid.

Today, we chat to Paul who shares his thoughts on the inaugural TDF Design Awards and what he’s hoping to see from the entries. Paul also discusses the industry and its changes and offers advice to any budding creatives looking to carve out a career in landscape design.

If you’re thinking about entering TDF Design Awards landscape category, you may want to read Paul’s tips on what he is looking for!

Firstly Paul, congratulations on being selected as one of the judges for TDF Design Awards. Can you share your thoughts on the awards and being a judge of this inaugural event?

I’m very excited to be part of the very new and much-needed design awards. Landscape design has long needed recognition in the form of an award and I am honoured to be a judge for this. The Design Files do amazing things for the industry and they are a very worthy host of the event.

What are you hoping to see from the Landscape Design entries?

I am hoping to see design that is fresh, contemporary and relevant to how we live in this 21st century. I will be looking for planting that is sustainable and suitable for our hot, dry climate. Above all, I will be focusing on craftsmanship and the skill that is being used to realise the design.

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Paul Bangay, judge of The Design Files Design Awards | Image: Simon Griffiths

Having been a part of the industry for a long time, Eco Outdoor is excited to be sponsoring the ‘Landscape Design’ category of TDF Design Awards. Would you share with us your relationship with Eco Outdoor and how you’ve used the product in your projects?

I must almost be Eco Outdoor’s longest-running client! I believe in the products Eco Outdoor sell for their honesty, texture and durability. The service I have received over the past 20 odd years I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Elaborating more on this, can you share some thoughts on the importance of long-standing Australian suppliers in the industry?

Continuity is very important to me. We hold clients for a very long time, some for over 30 years now. To be able to source product from a supplier that I know will be around for a long time means our clients are guaranteed to be well serviced and looked after well into the future.

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Paul Bangay, judge of The Design Files Design Awards | Image: Simon Griffiths

The landscape design industry has evolved greatly over the years. Can you discuss how you’ve seen it grow from when you first started out in the industry?

When I first started out in landscape design we were still looking largely to overseas for inspiration and fashions. Over the years, I have seen the emergence of an Australian style of garden design. This style incorporates a large proportion of endemic plants combined with hardy exotics. The style has become more relaxed and in tune with how Australians use their gardens. Formality has given way to a casual, relaxed style.

What advice do you have for any creatives starting out a career in landscape design?

  • Experiment with plant choices. Don’t be too rigid in your planting schemes;
  • Be confident with every decision you make – clients hate lack of confidence;
  • Listen to how the client will use the garden and read the site. Always look for the genius a site will portray.

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Paul Bangay, judge of The Design Files Design Awards

You’ve established an incredible career in landscape design. Can you share with us some of your career highlights?

  • Five Botanica displays for the Melbourne festival;
  • Centennial medal for the gardens I created for the Aids memorial garden at the Alfred Hospital;
  • Order of Australia medal for services to landscape architecture;
  • The garden we created at Monash universities Prato campus in Italy;
  • Peace garden in the Carlton gardens blessed by holiness the Dalai Lama;
  • Creation of my own garden at Stonefields;
  • Restoration of parts of Government house gardens in Melbourne;
  • Ten books published with Penguin books;
  • Tv show with Maggie Beer on Cruden Farm the home of the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

You’ve created an incredible portfolio of private gardens, award-winning displays and best-selling books. What’s next for you?

The creation of a garden around our newly purchased home in Cotswolds in England.


Stay tuned for our upcoming chats to judges Rick Eckersley of Eckersley Garden Architecture and Georgina Reid of The Planthunter. To view more about the awards and submit your entry, visit TDF Design Awards here.