Award-Winning Work

The Australian Institute of Landscape Designers and Managers (AILDM) is the professional association for garden designers, installers and managers. For consumers it is the place to find a professional who can create site specific, environmentally friendly and beautiful gardens and landscapes. AILDM’s annual Landscape Design Awards showcase the very best gardens and landscapes from across Australia.

In 2008, Helen Young won the Plantscape Design award, a category that focuses particularly on the selection and placement of plants in a landscape design. The winning project was a medium-density development in Glebe, consisting of 103 townhouses, villas and apartments set around huge internal gardens that incorporate a 25m pool and various outdoor sitting areas. The gardens were once the showpiece of the development but after 10 years were deteriorating, hastened by water restrictions and remedial building works. A major upgrade was needed and called for a design to restore the ‘wow factor’ to the premises.

The brief was to restore and enhance the lush, resort-style feel of the gardens. The trendy inner-city location also suggested a design that was a bit ‘edgy’ and contemporary. However there were several exacting requirements to be met. The plants needed to be:

  • Low water use, as far as possible
  • Low maintenance
  • Non-allergy causing
  • Free of thorns, spikes or sharp edges where they adjoined the many pathways, steps and paved areas.
  • Not prone to drop messy fruits, leaves or flowers on paved areas.
  • Not prone to pests and diseases

A further complication was avoiding plants with invasive roots because all the garden beds are actually planter boxes built on top of the basement car park that underlies the whole site. This means that all plants are grown in raised beds that range between 600 mm and 1200 mm in depth.

Judge’s comments – Jennifer Stackhouse (Editor Gardening Australia magazine)

”The brief here was to reinvigorate an existing garden and inject a lush, tropical feel but to do so using drought-hardy, waterwise plants. Using the existing trees as anchors in the landscape, this design has introduced some very well chosen plants. The overall effect is one of a luxury holiday resort in the inner city. Good use is made of foliage plants – selected for colour, foliage interest and being waterwise. This garden would look great all year round but would also reflect seasonal changes.”

See more photos in the Gallery pages of our website.