InCh LIM : talent with taste


“Lim In Chong: The Maestro of Landscape Artistry”

In the enchanting world of landscape architecture, Lim In Chong, an internationally acclaimed artist, reigns supreme. His canvas, adorned with the vibrant colours of lush gardens, showcases a profound understanding of horticulture and a unique aesthetic vision.

Step into an Inchscape creation, and you’ll enter a realm where spaces aren’t merely designed; they are emotionally charged. Lim’s extensive knowledge of tropical plants, coupled with his innate grasp of space and environment, weaves together innovative ideas to craft captivating outdoor masterpieces.

With a client list that reads like a who’s who of prestigious names, including Mandai Park Development in Singapore, the Penang state government, Hong Kong Disneyland, and renowned property developers, Lim In Chong doesn’t just create gardens; he crafts experiences, dreams, and a deep appreciation for the harmony between nature and design.

Read on for an intriguing interview with Lim In Chong, where he unveils the inspirations and silent, thoughtful processes that result in these splendid gardens.

Inchscape isn’t content with fleeting appearances on the global stage of garden and horticulture expositions. They shine brightly, illuminating the landscape design realm with unmatched brilliance. Among the world’s leading landscape and garden designers, Inchscape frequently basks in the spotlight of victory.

Elegantly waltzing through the halls of recognition, Inchscape has clinched four astounding awards at the prestigious Gardening World Cup. This monumental triumph is etched in history.

The journey of this highly decorated garden virtuoso is a tale of determination and talent. Lim In Chong’s foray into landscape design began at the age of forty-five, an unforeseen journey that evolved from a stationery business background. With no formal design qualifications, his only qualification was an intrinsic connection to nature.

In the realm of self-learning, Lim meticulously collected knowledge and wisdom from nature’s galleries. These hours of curiosity bore the seeds of expertise, leading to a mastery of selecting flora that breathes life and invites nature’s dance.

In 2017, Lim’s journey reached a significant milestone as he earned a Master’s degree from Australia’s RMIT University in architecture and design. This formal recognition celebrated an uncharted, beautifully unraveled journey.

Lim In Chong’s story is not just a tale but a ballad sung through the ages, whispered through the leaves and the silent, watchful eyes of his moonlit gardens.


Welcome to “Gardens of Imagination,” an exploration of Lim In Chong’s artistry in crafting vibrant, sensory-rich gardens. Known as ‘InCh’ to friends and peers, this book invites you into a world where structure meets spontaneity, where every corner shares stories of unwavering passion and the pursuit of beauty. It’s not just a book; it’s a gateway to gardens so vivid you can almost smell the blossoms, feel the lush leaves, and hear the gentle breeze through the trees.

But it’s more than a sensory journey; it’s also a biography of a man who left a family stationery business to heed nature’s call at the age of forty-five. With no formal qualifications but a heart deeply connected to nature, InCh embarked on a self-learning journey. The result? A maestro who comprehends, connects, and conjures spaces that are felt, experienced, and cherished, not merely seen.

This book, elegantly penned by Robert Powell and Lin Ho, is not just words and images; it’s a celebration of InCh’s journey, art, and spirit. Open not just your eyes but your heart and soul as you explore “Gardens of Imagination.” Welcome to a world where imagination takes root and blossoms in delightful, unexpected ways. Happy reading!

How do the unique characteristics of tropical flora influence your design process?

The tropics support an enormous number of plant species. They come in countless range of shapes, colours and sizes. Living here it is hard not to be influenced by the flora and also the fauna. One of my first projects was the Penang spice garden which opened twenty years ago with over seven hundred species and cultivars. The recent work on the Singapore bird park also called into the fore the many years of learning about tropical plants and also birds.

Can you describe how you effectively integrate sustainable practices into your tropical landscape designs?

We humans unfortunately are a terribly destructive species. Of course not all of us but in our rush to consume what nature has to offer we forget the destructive force that we are unleashing. Whenever possible I try to bring about biodiversity and sustainability to my design. My own garden is an experiment in biodiversity that provides a home for nature from microbes to plants insect amphibians mammals and birds.

What challenges are often encountered in tropical garden design and how do you mitigate them?

Unfortunately Nothing is ever perfect. An example is the mosquito which is not only pesky but also brings diseases. However they are also an important part of the food chain feeding dragon flies, geckos, frogs that are in turn important food sources for other species.

How do you balance aesthetics with functionality and maintainability in your tropical landscape projects?

You cannot create beauty while ignoring balance and harmony. Gardens are a human construct that utilises what nature has provided. The balance we create brings about some semblance of visible order also Without functional utility these gardens will revert to wilderness which exists without consideration of human desire for the aesthetic.

Could you discuss a project where you successfully addressed a difficult climate or environmental condition peculiar to tropical settings?

Every project to me is a challenge and requires thinking out of the box. I have created gardens as far away as Hokkaido, Philadelphia, and France. That is of course an enormous climatic range. Obviously there is a range of hard landscape material available. The learning curve is sometimes steep. Sometimes the challenges can be cultural. When I started working in Japan, I ran into particular issues with garden builders that are unused to constructing gardens in a different way from the beautiful Japanese gardens.

How do you incorporate native tropical plants while still creating a design that’s engaging and visually cohesive?

There is a vast array of plant material form, every shape under the sky and every colour of the rainbow. The difficulty is choosing from such an enormous palette. Like an artist painting a picture you will have to rely on your innate ability.

In designing tropical landscapes, how do you approach biodiversity and ecological conservation?

From the smallest garden to the large parks. It is important to create biodiversity. That of course in part depends on the knowledge you acquire in the years of practice.

What role does water management play in your designs, considering the heavy rainfalls typical in tropical climates?

Water management is of utmost importance. All living things require water. Droughts can destroy the garden you so carefully create. Floods can wash it away. We tend to think that water is readily available in the tropics but not necessarily so. We need to conserve water when available and also recharge our ground water that is an important feature in topical garden design.

How do you stay updated on the latest horticultural developments and innovations related to tropical plants and landscapes?

The basic body of information has not changed. Sure there occasional taxonomic changes but you can keep abreast by reading journals and being active in the profession. Horticultural Techniques have not changed a great deal.

Can you share a case study where your design positively impacted the surrounding community or environment?

The Penang spice garden is an example. It is in the green zone contagious to some native forest. I designed that twenty years ago which has been visited by a large number of people. It is still one of the favourite tourist attractions and provides nature education, space for community activity, weddings, cooking lessons etc. it also provide a home for birds, colugo, snakes, leaf monkeys, etc.

What advice would you give to budding landscape designers who are eager to specialize in tropical gardens?

Make absolutely sure that this is what you want to do. This is not a job but a passion. It is a lifelong pursuit of changing the environment around us.

How does the cultural and geographical context of a place inform your approach to designing tropical landscapes?

We are designing for people and also for nature. As such whatever we do we have to speak a garden language to those people. Otherwise they will not be able to relate to your design. On the geographical front we have to deal with elements like climate, soil type, availability of material etc. geography obviously dictates what we can or cannot do.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I am not sure what perfect happiness means and I am not sure we can achieve it in our lifetime, however we can over the years move closer to it. Sometimes when I am in my own garden very early in the morning, as the sun slowly rises and the birds start to wake up. I find a certain peace. Which I assume might be close.

What is your greatest fear?

For the time being I don’t have the greatest fear. Of course this might change in time. There are lots of things that I would find extremely unpleasant but we have to face everything thrown at us .

What is your greatest extravagance?

My own garden which gobbles up enormous amounts of my resources.

What is your favourite journey?

I have many favourite journeys. Two immediately no come to mind. Visiting the UK with my daughter, driving around visiting some amazing gardens, and visiting Siam reap with my son immediately after the lock-down was lifted and we were virtually the only visitors in the ancient temple.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I not sure I am able to answer this one.

On what occasions do you lie?

I am not sure that we are always honest with ourselves or with other people. We are not always conscious we are not being entirely honest. We try to be truthful all the time or at least as much as we can.

Which living person do you most admire?

I admire lots of dead ones like Queen Elizabeth, mother teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, capability brown, Dostoyevsky, Socrates. When they are dead you can be sure they have lived a good life.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I generally don’t

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My children

When and where were you happiest?


What is your next professional challenge?

I will see where the spirit leads me.

Who is your favourite writer?


How would you like to be remembered?

As me.

What is your motto?

Think wider, dig deeper.

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