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 FormSignup 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.
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
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).
This interactive index provides links to articles and other items published in Issues 1-117 of the Newsletter (May 1993 to November 2021). Newsletters published after November 2021 can be downloaded from the Newsletter Archive (see link above) but will not be indexed until the next annual update.
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.
- Garden Design for Australian Plants in a Changing World; Diana Snape – from ANPSA’s 21st Biennial Seminar, 2001.
- Rise of the Australian Plant Garden; Jo Hambrett – a short history of Australian garden design (talk to the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 28 July 2004).
- The Importance of Australia’s Indigenous Plants; Diana Snape.
- Fifteen Ideas for Garden Design; Diana Snape.
- Garden Serenity; Chris Larkin.
- Developing a Garden in Northern Tasmania; Sharon Percy.
- The Garden of Joy; Joy Cook.
- The Australian Landscape Conference 2009; Diana Snape.
- Around the World in 80 Gardens; Jennifer Farrer – book and TV program review.
- Garden Design Workshop Weekend; Batemans Bay; Jo Hambrett.
- Database of Landscape Species; Lawrie Smith.
- Despair and Desire – A Short Diary; Chris Larkin.
- Rainforest Species for the Garden; Lawrie Smith.
- Eremophilas; Diana Snape – review of the book ‘Australia’s Eremophilas: changing gardens for a changing climate’.
- Oh, Our Designing Ways; Chris Larkin.
- Design with Nature – Planting a Native Garden; Lawrie Smith.
- Design…..and sticking to it!; Jo Hambrett.
- Something Old , Something New; Maureen Webb.
- Australian Succulent Plants in Cultivation; Attila Kapitany.
- Where Eagles Drift; Upper Hunter Valley; Jenny and Ted Finnie.
- Creating a Small Garden Pond; Jeff Howes.
- A Marriage of Aesthetics and Ecology; Gordon Rowland – talk given at the ASGAP Biennial National Conference, Newcastle NSW October 2007.
- Tree Management for Carbon, Energy and Drought Efficiency; Dr Greg M Moore – extracts from a paper from Treenet proceedings.
- Mulch and Native Plants; Jeff Howes.
- Design of the Keith Moore Habitat Garden, Huskisson, New South Wales; Keith Naylor.
- Pruning Australian Plants; Diana Snape.
- Concept Design for a Tapestry Garden; Jan Hall.
- Use of Lomandras in Design; Colin Turner.
- A Small Wildlife Garden; Leigh Murray.
- Healing Gardens; Therese Scales.
- Garden Design Using Australian Plants: Why Such a Late Start?; Diana Snape.
- Designing a Garden for Views from Inside the House; Margaret James.
- More on Gardening Ethics; Diana Snape.
- More on the Formal/Informal Garden Question; Chris Larkin.
- Suitable Trees for the Streetscape; Study Group members.
- Lawns of Australian Grasses; Diana Snape.
- More than Garden Etiquette; Chris Larkin.
- “Yanderra” News; Jo Hambrett.
- Musings of Mt. Penang; Suellen Harris.
- Changed Landscapes; Chris Larkin.
- An Interview with Professor Richard Clough; Jo Hambrett.
- Reflections; Chris Larkin.
- Small Delights; Diana Snape.
- Change in the Garden – Good or Bad?; Diana Snape.
- Growing Orchids in the Garden; John Moye.
- More on the Lawn Debate; Chris Larkin.
- Seasonal Changes at Yarrawonga – Gardening in Harmony with Nature; Jan Hall.
- Criteria for a Descriptive Assessment of a Garden’s Design; Chris Larkin.
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 Kennedy Garden, Wheelers Hill, Victoria – developing a ‘bush block’ into an extensive garden.
- The Hanson Garden, Warrandyte, Victoria – a garden in the bush.
- The Snape Garden, Hawthorn East, Victoria – a suburban garden.
- The Ford Garden, Eltham, Victoria – a garden developed by renowned landscape gardener Gordon Ford and his wife Gwen.
- The Moore Garden, Park Orchards, Victoria.
- The Marriott Garden, Stawell area, central Victoria.
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.
- Barfield Garden, Victoria
- Bennett Garden, Calwell, ACT.
- Catriona Bate and Phil Trickett’s Garden, Milton, NSW
- Dave Herald and Margaret Streamer’s Garden, Murrumbateman, NSW
- Fiona Johnson and Alex Kruczaj’s Garden, Blayney, NSW
- Howes Garden, Westleigh, Sydney
- Jan Hall’s Garden, Yarrawonga, Victoria
- Jerkovic Garden, Glen Iris, Victoria
- Lewin Garden, Stawell, Victoria
- Morton Garden , Woodford, NSW
- O’Neill Garden, Victoria
- Rowland Garden, Pacific Palms, NSW
- Russell Garden, Aranda, ACT
- Tranter Garden, Queanbeyan, NSW
- Woodbury Garden, Googong, NSW
- Yarra Garden, Victoria
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.
- A Few Proven Magnets – attracting birds and other wildlife to the garden
- A Perfumed Garden
- A Small Wildlife Garden
- Garden Design: Now and Then
- Garden Spaces and Styles: how to use them to achieve an overall design
- Mallows are Frog-favourites: a frog-friendly garden
- Planning or Designing a Garden – Is there any Difference?
- Small Gums for Small Gardens
- The Australian Aquatic Garden
See also the extensive links in the main Resources menu.