Natives & Exotics in Design

Date: 29-06-2023

Tract Design - Native and Exotic


At the time of writing, discussions have come up over recent forums questioning what is the future of Landscape design and plants in the landscape? Landscape design is of course ever evolving, and so for a moment it stumped me, but on reflection this is what I think.

The hot topic is certainly designing to ‘connect with country’ with indigenous gardens as we move towards greater recognition of our indigenous culture and the natural connection to landscape. I have no doubt there is a growing market for these gardens but I think we are still a way from seeing this reach the suburban back yard.  There is no doubt that elements are creeping into design and as we also consider the environmental challenges ahead it seems to make sense.  Certainly with the Victorian School Garden projects we are working on with our Outdoor Common Room Grant, this is a theme that is at the forefront.

Most designs we are seeing though, incorporate a considered combination of exotic and native plants to complement each other and add visual and textural interest. The uber modern blocks of only three or four species of plants was the WOW look of 10-15 years ago, but, not so WOW now, with clients wanting more interest and divesrsity in their outdoor spaces.

The blending of exotics, natives and edibles, more variety, more interest and striking foliage is the growing current trend.  Moreso in regional gardens, and especially peninsula gardens is a growing trend to blend the ‘Bush’ into and through the designed landscape and this is certainly going to continue.

Though keep in mind, these are my thoughts on what I have been observing …Like any Nurseryman …we think we are landscape designers! But there’s one thing for sure that will be part of the future of landscape design in Melbourne suburbs for as far as I can see.  This is the need for tall screening and hedging plants to block out the monstrosity that’s been built next door!  That is definitely going to be part of the future.

Andrew Smith


Waterhousea floribunda Screen