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The Most Glorious Gardens In Australia

TDF Design Awards

Garden stories are some of our most popular reads on TDF these days – take a look at the news cycle in the last 18 months and it’s not hard to work out why! There’s nothing more calming than bathing in the beauty of a glorious planting scheme, and landscape designers are the ones responsible for that instant tranquility.

They are the craftspeople taming the space between the domestic and wild, and it’s about time they got some recognition! From industry legends to newcomers, these are the 12 outstanding projects shortlisted in the Landscape Design category of the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021.

This category is proudly sponsored by Eco Outdoor.

17th August, 2021

Fig Landscape, The Plot. Photo – Jessie Ann

Fig Landscapes, The Plot

Fig Landscapes transformed this vacant cow paddock into a relaxed country garden filled with native plantings and raw, earthy materials that complement the surrounding landscape. A circular pool built into a long deck provides a focus on relaxation and enjoying the spectacular views.

The landscape designers were tasked with creating cohesion between the client’s newly transplanted Queenslander and its new surrounds – an absolute feat of their craft!

See our story on ‘The Plot’ here.

Studio Bright, 8 Yard House. Photo – Rory Gardiner

Bethany Williamson Landscape Architecture, Prospect Hill. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Studio Bright + Peachy Green, 8 Yard House

Studio Bright have created a series of outdoor courtyards that provides multipurpose spaces for this growing family. Nostalgic plants have been mixed with more contemporary textures support a sense of comfort and familiarity in the outdoor spaces.

The scheme was a nod hobby-making and pottering while incorporating modern green textures.

See more projects by Studio Bright here, and Peachy Green here.

Bethany Williamson Landscape Architecture, Prospect Hill

A juxtaposition of old and new, this front garden by Bethany Williamson takes its cues from the bungalow facade and contemporary interior of the house itself. This project combines elements usually found in traditional front gardens, giving them a contemporary twist to make the space feel both current and timeless at once.

Simple in design, the garden contains many layers and textures making the space feel comfortable and well balanced.

See more projects from Bethany Williamson here.

Ian Barker Gardens, Blairgowrie. Photo – Sharyn Cairns

Phillip Withers, The Toorak Garden. Photo – Amelia Stanwix 

Ian Barker Gardens, Blairgowrie

Unlike many coastal properties, the brief for this garden on the Mornington Peninsula was to create seclusion and sanctuary, rather than to maximise beach views.

In response to the sprawling site, Ian Barker Gardens designed a varied, six-part layout encompassing outdoor entertaining, a sunset terrace, a pool, fire-pit and luscious flowery plantings. This ‘secret garden’ is shielded from street and beach view, making it an unexpected delight reserved for private residents.

See more projects from Ian Barker Gardens here.

Phillip Withers, The Toorak Garden

Comprising three separate pockets of garden that each required a distinct horticultural approach, Philip Withers devised channels of foliage tho connect the landscape with the Cera Stribley-designed residence adjoining it, while also giving the separate sections a distinct character and function.

The garden is focused on use closer to the house and becomes more natural and wild as one immerses themselves deeper.

See more projects from Philip Withers here.

Dan Young Landscape Architect, Y3 Garden. Photo – Andy Macpherson 

Dan Young Landscape Architect, Y3 Garden

Given the brief for ‘a nice easy garden that the dogs can’t dig up’, Dan Young presents a functional and robust response. Wings of the house wrap three sides of this central courtyard, to which the designers added pavers, deciduous trees and a raised garden bed.

The result is a green space that matches the rhythms and materials of the residence, and strikes the crucial balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality.

See more projects from Dan Young Landscape Architect here.

Phillip Withers, Lara. Photo – Amelia Stanwix 

Mud Office, Essendon. Photo – Tom Blachford

Outdoor Establishments, Kenthurst Gardens. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Phillip Withers, Lara

The brief for Phillip Withers was to provide a garden that celebrated the locality, the natural landscape of the Lara locale. The design response was to build a story around its location, which they achieved by looking to the neighbouring You Yangs for inspiration.

From there, the designers looked to define an environment that reflected the indigenous vegetation and local materials from the regional park.

See more projects from Philip Withers here.

Mud Office, Essendon

Designed to complement an innovative new architectural build, this garden by Mud Office blurs the lines between inside and outside. Focused around a maple tree, the design invites people in while providing a sense of protection and privacy to the home.

The slices of garden in and around the architecture proved integral to the design by inserting pops of green relief into the space.

See more projects from Mud Office here.

Outdoor Establishments, Kenthurst Gardens

What was recently a large, barren plot accompanying a newly-built home in Kenthurst (39 kilometres north-west of Sydney’s CBD) is now an absolutely thriving garden for its elderly owner.

With a brief containing four key elements – accessibility, refuge, social opportunity, and views –  Outdoor Establishments combines seasonal colour, mature trees, and bird-attracting species, delineated by stone walls and paved areas to create multiple zones for eating, lounging and enjoying the garden.

See more projects from Outdoor Establishments here.

Fig Landscapes, Coolamon House. Photo – Jessie Ann

Fig Landscapes, Coolamon House

This native garden showcases a diversity of plants from all over Australia. The clients desired a garden from which they could make their own flower arrangements, provide habitat for animals and create a backdrop for their architectural home.

Fig Landscapes‘ response is a meandering garden with pathways throughout, taking influence from Californian gardens and positioned to capture the sunset.

See more projects from Fig Landscapes here.

Peachy Green, Sharp Street. Photo – Sarah Pannell

Rush Wright Associates, Victorian Emergency Services Memorial. Photo – John Gollings

Peachy Green, Sharp Street

This project by Peachy Green can best be described as a gardener’s garden, full of mixed ornamental grasses, flowering perennials, and a woody meadow-style planting scheme containing natives and shady trees. It is a lawn free space that is natural, loose, fun, playful, with plenty of relaxed places to sit.

This gorgeous suburban space combines family functionality with a dreamy, rambling ambience.

See more projects by Peachy Green here.

Rush Wright Associates, Victorian Emergency Services Memorial

Rush Wright Associates‘ design for this public garden integrates the six Emergency Service organisations into one landscape setting and draws on historical references to transform the experience of a meandering walk at the edge of the lake into an evocative memorial response.

A beautifully detailed stone wall winds along a path containing six discrete lobes – one for each agency.

See more projects from Rush Wright Associates here.

The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021 Landscape Design award is presented by Eco Outdoor.

Eco Outdoor specialises in the supply of innovative and unique exterior surface treatments for residential and commercial projects. When it comes to external surface treatments, they are committed to leading the market with innovative, natural and considered design solutions.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email