Membership is available to members of an ANPSA-affiliated Regional Society. If you are not a member of a Regional Society, please contact the Society located in your State or Territory for further information.

For more information or to join please send a request using the following form (please note that all fields are mandatory* – you may edit the ‘Message’ field if necessary).

Garden Design Study Group Form

Signup form for the Garden Design Study Group that sends a notification to the Study Group leader.


Who We Are

The Garden Design Study Group was started by Diana Snape in 1993 in Melbourne. Diana led the Group for the next decade, steadily increasing its membership, editing four newsletters a year, organising meetings and seminars and finally, in 2002, producing (with the Garden Design Study Group) the best selling book “The Australian Garden”.

The Study Group now has approximately 200 members from all Australian States and Territories (except the Northern Territory) and has several branches (two in Victoria, one in Sydney and one in the ACT).

The concept of an Australian Garden and designing gardens wholly or partially with Australian native plants is at the forefront of gardening consciousness with professionals and the gardening public alike, as the grim reality of our ever increasing list of endangered species (both plant and animal) and long-term water scarcity starts to penetrate.

The Study Group provides answers as to how we can have a beautiful Australian garden that is environmentally friendly, encourages and supports biodiversity and is completely self sustainable. The only garden for the 21st century.

****Click here to view the Aims and Activities of the Study Group****

Garden Design Principles

The book “The Australian Garden: Designing with Australian Plants” by Diana Snape, former leader of the Study Group, sets out some of the guiding principles of designing an Australian garden.

These design principles are set out in the introductory chapters of the book – an extract of which is provided here.

The extract covers the following topics:

  • Aims and Visions
  • Design Principles
  • Knowing the Site
  • Making a Plan
  • Putting it on Paper

****Click here to read the extract****


The Study Group produces several newsletters each year. These provide a forum for members to discuss garden design principles and allow for a free exchange of ideas and advice.

Newsletters published over recent years are available for download. In addition, a comprehensive on-line index has been developed, which is updated annually.


All of the newsletters that have been published by the Group since its formation are provided here as an archive.

(Note: Newsletters are in pdf format and will require a PDF Reader to view them. Free readers include Foxit Reader and Adobe Acrobat Reader).

****Click here to access the Garden Design Study Group Newsletters*****

Newsletter Index

This interactive index provides links to articles and other items published in Issues 1-121 of the Newsletter (May 1993 to November 2022). Newsletters published after November 2022 can be downloaded from the Newsletter Archive (see link above) but will not be indexed until the next annual update.

****Click here to view the Newsletter Index****


Since the inception of the Study Group, numerous articles have been published in the Group’s newsletters.The following is a selection of significant articles and short notes drawn from past newsletters.

Visit an Australian Garden

The Study Group has begun a project to make a lasting record of significant gardens that have a predominance of Australian plants.

These “virtual tours” are highly detailed explorations of gardens that many people would be unable to visit in person and aims to assist them in developing ideas for designing their own Australian gardens.

In addition, there are a number of short, pictorial snapshots (with some description) which show the features of some of the gardens of Study Group members and others.

Significant Australian Gardens

These ‘virtual tours’ will enable visitors to the website to gain an understanding of gardens they may not be able to visit in person. For the future, if a garden is radically altered when the ownership changes, there will still be a record to demonstrate how Australian plants have been successfully used in garden design.

Some of the features to look for in these gardens are:

  • balance of plant mass and open space
  • pleasing spaces to look at and be in
  • appeal to the senses – light and colour, fragrance, sounds, touch.
  • blending of hard landscape into soft, including sympathetic use of rocks
  • delights and surprises
  • harmony and unity

The aim is to cover a range of different types of gardens – small and large, suburban and country, naturalistic and more formal designs.

The Gardens

Garden Snapshots

Less detailed than the ‘significant gardens’ reports, these short, pictorial snapshots (with some description) show the features of some of the gardens of Study Group members and others.

Garden Design Resources

These are a few internet and other resources on Garden Design that might prove useful.


Many books dealing with Australian native plants will contain useful information on garden design. The most relevant ones can be found in Jo Hambrett’s article “Rise of the Australian Plant Garden”.

The two books produced by the Garden Design Study Group are particularly noteworthy and cover the topic in more detail:

  • Snape D (1992), Australian Native Gardens: Putting Visions into Practice. Lothian Publishing Company Pty Ltd, Melbourne.
  • Snape D (2002), The Australian Garden: Designing with Australian Plants. Blooming Books, Melbourne


Many issues of the Society’s journal “Australian Plants” are particularly useful for those interested in garden design. Particularly relevant is the continuing series of articles called “My Garden”. These describe (with text and photographs) native gardens developed by Society members – they provide lots of interesting ideas that can be implemented and adapted for other gardens.

The series commenced in the December 1988 issue.


See also the extensive links in the main Resources menu.