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Green Thumbs

To celebrate the new leaves and budding flowers (not to mention the Spring issue of Habitus!) we caught up with five landscape artists to gather some advice and insider tips on how to make the most of our outdoor spaces.

What are the most important elements to consider when designing an outdoor space?

“…functionality, sustainability and maintenance. But don’t forget colour, comfort and luxury or as I like to call it ‘luxe-scaping!” – Jamie Durie
“Client’s Desires – lifestyle, personality, their desired use and vision for the finished garden.” – Nicola Cameron
“to keep things simple, you don’t need lots of garden bling” – Matthew Cantwell

What are some of the most commonly made mistakes?

“Using the wrong plant in the wrong environment, not taking soil and existing conditions into account” – William Dangar
“Scale or the incorrect use of it is a common mistake. Getting the scale correct in a project is critical to its success” – Dean Herald
“When you see a garden with too much structure and not the right balanceof plants and greenery.” – Matthew Cantwell

How do you predict outdoor spaces will change in the coming years?

“More confined, space limitation, larger developments so more shade” – William Dangar
“As technology continues to push us forward, it is inevitable that we will need quiet and nurturing spaces to come back to, spaces we can create for ourselves, our very own sanctuary.” – Jamie Durie
“We will see budgets concentrated on sound construction and quality materials rather than recreating the house in the garden”- Matthew Cantwell

 What would you like to see more of in outdoor spaces?

Less structure, more plants” – William Dangar
“people being brave and trusting the vision of the designers to take their brief and express it in a different method than what most would.” – Dean Herald
“People investing their budget in mature plants so they can enjoy their garden from Day 1.” – Matthew Cantwell

What is your single most liked plant for a garden?

“hardy, tough species that look good year round and don’t require heavy maintenance – William Dangar
“Australian natives are always close to my heart for their unique sculptural aesthetics.” – Jamie Durie
“Anything edible is often up there, but so are the beautiful Eucalyptus trees” – Nicola Cameron
“The Dracaena draco (Dragon’s Blood Tree) has always been a favorite of mine as a statement tree in a garden where it works” – Dean Herald


William Dangar, Dangar Group                                                             Jamie Durie, Durie Design
                                                                                                                         (Photograph: Tonya McCahon)


Nicola Cameron, Pepo Landscape Design                                          Dean Herald, Rolling Stone Landscapes

Matthew Cantwell, Secret Gardens