Queenstown landscaping company Southern Landmarx had a glittering night at the Landscapes of Distinction Awards in Christchurch over the weekend.

Not only did they bring home an outstanding three gold and three silver medals for two Cromwell-based landscape projects, but their Operations Manager Tama Ritter won New Zealand Young Landscaper of the Year.

Southern Landmarx directors Jaye and Joe Nutting paid tribute to the “hard work and determination” shown by Tama in winning the national title.

“We’re all extremely proud of him after he came to us seven years ago knowing nothing about landscaping, but he’s worked his way up from an apprentice to the top,” said Jaye.

Tama, 28, said he had found his day of practical tests, a speech and interviews, up against 12 other competitors, “a bit nerve wracking and daunting.”

He won two Outstanding Achievement awards in Career Development and Communications before he was named the overall winner at the gala dinner presentation.

“It was such a surprise to hear my name being called out and it still hasn’t really sunk in, to be honest,” he said. “But I see it as confirmation of how far I have come in the industry, and it’s the cherry on top of all the hard work over the years.

“I love landscaping because it isn’t just one skillset, it’s such a wide variety of work. Each project has new and interesting challenges.

“You take a ‘blank’ landscape around some awesome houses and then the visual aspect of what we add is huge. It’s like dressing the house so it’s shown off to its full advantage, maximising the landscape and its surrounds.”

Southern Landmarx faced stiff competition from a record number of entries from all around New Zealand for the landscape awards.

The company won an impressive two gold medals in landscape construction and landscape horticulture for its Clutha River Views entry, as well as a silver for design. It also won a gold medal in landscape construction for its Dunstan Vista residence along with two silvers for design and horticulture.

Jaye and Joe said it was a “fantastic acknowledgement” of the hard work that had gone into the two properties by their 16-strong team.

“We also want to acknowledge the vision and dedication of the owners and their collaborative approach which has enabled us to do so well across these three key residential landscape categories,” said managing director Joe.

“We’re thrilled to win these awards which recognise and celebrate the high-quality design and construction of our work, and our ability to use plants that have been locally raised and ‘hardened off’ in our Cromwell-based Burn Cottage Nursery.”

Joe said the Clutha River Views project was a “particularly inspiring” garden to work on due to the owners’ desire to incorporate an historical element into a new build, integrating elements of their past home to which they had an emotional attachment following the Christchurch earthquakes.

The Dunstan Vista project was inspired by family, meeting not only the needs of the clients but their grandchildren. For that reason it incorporated an expansive lawn for the children to play, a pool area for the heat of summer and a unique, peaceful seating area away from the main home where the owners could relax while soaking up the views.

For more information about Southern Landmarx go to www.slx.co.nz