Dietmar Straub ©

A garden in Winnipeg, Canada, has won two design awards for its innovative approach to its setting and the sustainable use of materials.

The WY ‘Rooted in Clay’ garden was the winner in the gardens category of the 2019 Landezine International Landscape Award and was also the recipient of a 2019 National Award of Excellence from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA).

As well as winning a CSLA national award the project was also selected for the Jury’s Award of Excellence, which is given to one project annually which best demonstrates the association’s vision.

Designed by landscape architect company Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects, the Manitoba project shows a sensitive response to its Red River setting.

Speaking about the awards, Dietmar Straub, of Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects, says: “Making a garden means nothing more than to start a dialogue with the land and all living beings on it. We have been persistently working on this garden for almost seven years. It is my hope, that the jurors won’t be banished from paradise or will face any prohibition from jury practices for their courage. For the first time in the CSLA awards history, the jurors selected a project in a Residential Landscape category to take the top honour.”







Dietmar Straub ©

As the name suggests, the project is about taming a dynamic topological context while retaining a wild feeling.

The project had to adapt to seasonal changing water levels, annual floods, ongoing erosion and high concentrations of red sentiment.

A ‘forest of roots’ stabilises the garden’s ground in the form of a species-rich meadow and protects the riverbank from collapsing.

The garden is also an experimental attempt to prove that complex projects do not need to use vast amount of resources.

Materials used in the project were leftovers that the city produced and discarded. The controlled re-use, upgrading and transformation of materials into a new context was the key to the project.

Design details include salvaged wood beams painted in luminous colours.

The planting design aims to protect the land from erosion and provide wildlife habitats.

Trees provide shade and define the atmosphere of the garden and were pruned to bring in light and sunshine.