‘Spirit of the Garden’, a book

Here is a beautiful and emotive book, published several years ago, called the Spirit of the Garden, by Trisha Dixon. ‘Gardens can be formal or wild, serene or ostentatious, native or exotic, colourful or monochrome’, according to Trisha Dixon. ‘If we like a person, we will probably like their garden’. About this book, Spirit of … Continued

10 tips for a tranquil garden

With careful planning, you can create a peaceful and tranquil garden. Here are 10 tips to help create such a tranquil garden. Today, many suburban ‘gardens’ are small and often just a patch of grass, planted with a few drought tolerant, exotic specimens. In such a space, it is difficult to relax, to be at … Continued

15 tips for a stunning native garden

Want to grow your own stunning native garden? Here are 15 tips for success, gleaned from long experience designing and growing native gardens. We are fortunate to live in a country with a unique flora, unlike that anywhere else in the world. And that provides the opportunity to create stunning native gardens. Here are tips for … Continued

A native garden, designed with nature

Introduction While attending the APS NSW gathering hosted by Sutherland Group I had the pleasure of visiting Joan Zande’s garden. This is a native garden designed with nature. Joan applied many design principles in this relatively small residential garden. Reconstructed after 40 years, it was as a collaborative effort between Joan and an obviously very … Continued

Adventures with vines

Here’s a story about my adventures with vines. I’ve been on a mission to find the best vine for arbour shade. The journey so far… Introduction to my adventures An arbour divides our north facing garden behind our suburban Brisbane house to create a shady path from the laundry on the way to the clothes … Continued

Choosing a formal or informal native garden style

When designing a new native garden, choosing whether to create a formal or informal native garden style is one of your first steps. There are different things to consider when choosing the style of your garden. One of these is the overall look and feel of the garden. Another is the degree of change you … Continued

Design for climate change

Given the way the climate is headed, we should consider how to design our native gardens for climate change. I live and garden on a north facing hillside south-east of Melbourne on clay soils. The reality of climate change Apparently there was still debate in the community about the reality of climate change and its … Continued

Designing your native garden

Have you wondered how to go about designing a native garden from scratch? Here is a step-by-step guide to follow, as well as additional elements to consider as you go along. Garden design process Here are the steps to follow. Before you start: Set high level aims Before you get started, think about your overall … Continued

Diversity AND uniformity

As I contemplate my 20 year old native garden, I realise that it is now a mix of both diversity AND uniformity. However, there is a strong bias towards allowing the garden to revert to its natural bush state – entropy is alive and well. Conception of the garden I started my native garden about … Continued

Fifty shades of shade

At least fifty shades of shade grace my garden! Shade is easy in my garden – but how much shade and what time of day, month, year! My acre block runs east-west so the sun comes over the 120m length in summer and from the northern side in winter. At this time of year, it … Continued

Focal points in garden design

Focal points are vital elements in garden design. They are just as useful, even when the landscape is quite stark, such as in the Queensland outback! Here is an outline of focal points and how to use them, along with a pictoral summary of some epic sculptures in the Queensland outback. About focal points in … Continued

Focal points in native gardens

Using focal points in native gardens adds interest, just as it has in any garden through the ages. Emerging vision for our native gardens On our gardening pilgrimage towards our own vision of Eden we progress through various stages. Many of us start by wanting to provide a garden for birds. Most of us have … Continued

Garden design – The past informs the present and the future!

Lawrie Smith, AM, spoke at an Australian Plants Society conference in Kiama in September 2022 on Garden design – The past informs the present and the future! About the video In this video, he explores three themes: 1. Building on Country – the past informs the present: What can we learn from First Nations peoples to … Continued

Gardens designed with nature

Gardens designed with nature are critical to our health and wellbeing, as well as supporting that of the planet. Most of us have access to nature in a modified form in their own home gardens (although this is rapidly decreasing with lot sizes!) but also in most of the public parks and gardens of the … Continued

Grow a native garden in shade

Have you ever wondered how to grow a native garden in shade? Here is a spectacular showcase of shady gardens, along with tips to consider in your design. The annual cycle of sun and shade leads to design decisions The longest day of the year on 21 December has passed. Shorter shadows cast from the … Continued

How to design spaces in your native garden

Are you interested in how to design spaces in your native garden? One of the key principles in garden design is the use of spaces, or voids. These are as important as the plants in between! Here are some tips in how to achieve that sense of space in a native garden. Defining space in … Continued

Light and shadow in garden design

Light and shadow in garden design go hand in hand. Together they are present in every garden, but often taken for granted. They may not immediately reveal themselves as garden attributes, but considering their passive roles in an overall design, they can be the backbone to the feel of a space. Light and shadow are … Continued

Looking from the inside

I am fortunate to have a lot of large windows drawing my attention to what is going on outside. They give me views from the sky to the garden around the house. This article is about designing the outside garden so it’s stunning looking from the inside. Staying connected when inside Hot days, cold days, … Continued

My front courtyard garden

It’s always useful to critique one’s own garden from a design perspectiveand here I have assessed my own front courtyard garden. Site conditions and analysis Location and aspect are both fundamental to understandi the planning and design approach to any garden. This is the front section of our residential garden in Moreton Bay north of … Continued

Stunning native rooftop garden

Imagine a rooftop garden full of stunning native plants, blowing in the breeze – it’s magic! Commitment to sustainability Back in 2019, the Mirvac team, Didi Stigter and Victoria Stiles, invited several of us to visit the first indigenous rooftop farm and other cultural gardens at the recently developed South Eveleigh precinct. The rooftop garden … Continued

Using containers to trial plants in a beachside garden

In this small beachside garden, the owners are using containers to trial the suitability of plants before putting them in the garden. Designing a small bayside Melbourne garden In February 2022, I visited a garden in Melbourne that I hadn’t seen before. The garden is located in Hampton, Melbourne, about 800m from the bay. One … Continued