The Water Gardens wins Landscape Institute Award
The Gardens were designed by the renowned landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe and are a highly significant example of post-war twentieth century modernist landscape. They were placed on English Heritage's Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in 2010.
The project creates a revitalised and well-used park with a serpentine woodland walk along the River Gade contrasted with smooth flowing grass lawns to the water's edge on the other side of the river. The centerpiece of the Water Gardens is its restored flower garden, with massed roses and colourful perennial planting set within a formal grid of beds.
As part of the works, Jellicoe's arched bridges over the Gade were renewed. New facilities have been provided to increase use and encourage people to stay longer. These include a new play space and a pavilion set within a working garden to provide facilities for the gardener, friends of the park, volunteers and students to develop new skills and learning to contribute to the high standards of maintenance.
The Water Gardens are once again an outstanding public space and source of pride to local residents. The Gardens are now vibrant and actively used by residents, shoppers and tourists who spend time in the Water Gardens as part of their visit to Hemel Hempstead Town Centre. The restoration of Jellicoe’s important new town garden will be widely acclaimed and be a model for improving biodiversity within a historic landscape design.
The Water Gardens project preserves a rare and highly significant example of mid twentieth century design. It restores its lost character, creating a revitalised, well used and busy park that functions as the primary open space for the town centre as was intended.