BUDDING garden designers from Parkside School received praise for their creativity from the UK's top garden experts.

Students from the Cullingworth school adopted a beach theme for their entry in the Royal Horticultural Society's Green Plan It Challenge.

Although they did not win the national contest with their design for a Parkside school garden, they were shortlisted for the Most Creative Design prize.

A team of Year Eight students spent 10 weeks researching plants, sketching ideas on scale drawings, and building a 3D model of 'The Parklands'.

The competition was launched at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens last September, when the students were introduced to the challenge and gained inspiration from a tour around the garden.

During sessions in school, mainly on a Wednesday lunchtime, the team made a mood board of ideas from magazine pictures.

They measured the existing school garden with a tape measure borrowed from the PE department, and planned their garden on the scale drawing.

Parkside food technician Sarah Osgerby said the initial ideas were narrowed down using responses from an online survey carried out with the whole school.

She said: "The most popular ideas were for a beach themed garden, with plenty of seating, so the space could be used for outdoor learning as well as promoting well-being.

"A detailed report was produced bringing together the research into specific plants and other ideas. Finally the students worked together to create a 3D model.

"After our last-minute finishing off session the day before, the team travelled to The Pavilions of Harrogate to present our model and display at the celebration event. There were 12 schools taking part in the challenge, and the competition was very strong.

"Parkside students spoke confidently to the RHS assessors about the garden, and the specific role that they had played as individuals within the team.

"They were all absolutely superb, and although we didn’t come away with a trophy, one of the judges came to speak to us afterwards and said she had put us forward as her choice for the Most Creative Design."

Sarah wanted to thank staff and sixth form students who had helped build the model, gave gardening advice, provided garden magazines are driven the minibuses.

She added: "Immediately after the event finished, one of the team said, 'Can we do this again next year?'”