Monday, May 16, 2016

Community Gardens

Here are three examples of community based gardens which I have been working on.

SEEDs at Milparinka

The mission of SEEDs is to grow natural networks, mutual opportunities, friendships, organic food, and community.

It is located in the garden of Milparinka, a disability support day centre.

331 Albert St. Brunswick.

After the initial consultation process I came up with this design, with a view to transforming under-utilised existing lawn areas into productive, functional, and beautiful spaces.

The implementation is being undertaken in stages, two out of three of which are complete and plants are growing.

Most work to date has been completed at large working bee events, drawing on the power of the already vibrant Milparinka community.

For photos, videos, and details click here

Here are some before and after(during) aerial photos of the site showing some of the initial changes.


I have designed this school garden in St. Albans for the kitchen garden program. (Click to enlarge)

A community gardens project in Strathmore:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

St. Michael's

I have been taking care of the garden at St. Michael's Church in Collins Street in Melbourne, for the last 3 years. I recently did some more landscaping in two sections of the garden. 

We removed some old tired concrete and installed these rock pillars as seats. After re-laying these pavers, which we had pulled up, we finished off with compacted granitic sand. 

Spring is a great time in this garden, with many city goers enjoying the space as a sanctuary right in the middle of the city.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


This backyard in Alphington was designed by the owner of the house. Having done a design course at college she re-designed her already productive yard into one that would be both productive and conducive to sitting in. I was hired to both consult on the design and then implement it. Most of the hard work was done by Paul Miragliotta and Richard Morrel, in the end.

 I wish I had before shots to show the dramatic difference. Here are some arial shots of the garden before and after:


Essentially, what we did was rearrange many of the existing elements and materials, re-using garden edges and old pavers. Moving from a mostly rectangular arrangement of garden beds, which filled the whole middle of the back yard, paths running in between, to a spiral circular design, imagined by the client.

We converted two large apple boxes to garden beds but also built three large raised wicking beds (see previous posts in 2013 about wicking beds) atop a retaining wall through the middle curve of the spiral, picking up the line from the outer edge of the tear dropped shape bed. 

This bed is where the spiral begins centred on one of two existing apple trees. The s-shaped wall visible in the first aerial shot was pulled up and rebuilt creating the circle you now see around the apple tree.

Once the major construction was complete we went to town on amending the existing soil be decompacting while adding compost, and minerals.

We also intalled a grey water system and irrigation to service all non-wicking garden beds.

Final touches were added like this reclaimed concrete circle in the middle of the open space, which was surfaced with compacted gravel, as were most of the paths.
A pear, a quince, and a black walnut were planted into the gravel area to provide future shade from the summer sun. 


 We returned in the spring in order to plant out some more.

Here is  the same spot as the photo of the grey water and irrigation, and nets over the beds in summer

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Passive solar pergola

Completed in conjunction with Paul Miragliotta this is the passive solar pergola.

The brief was to replace an old dilapidated pergola with one that actually served to shade the house in the summer. We looked at some designs and ended up combining two. 

One with what we are calling 'hash tag' notched joins and another for a passive solar awning with sun angle and shade specifications for Melbourne.   

 We did most of the work in my garage and basically prefabbed the whole structure. We used Cypress macrocarpa which was salvaged from old windbreaks and milled in Gippsland.

We had to call in the experts for some of the more complicated work...

...then we assembled the pergola on site, like an old wooden puzzle.


                                            The slats are angled to the winter sun such that light can hit the windows during the cooler months, warming the back room. In the summer the slats block most of the direct light to the windows, while still creating a pleasant dappled light.

More recently we have added the hand made trellis screen pictured. Furthermore we replaced the step and bike ramp and paved the area under the pergola using broken pieces of concrete recycled from a front yard up the road! 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Box Hill Job

In late 2013 I completed this design for some clients in Box Hill, after a consultation process. 

Paying particular attention to the back yard, they wanted to have play space for their children, some garden beds for growing veggies and some as lower maintenance gardens, back yard chickens, and some fruit trees, while maintaining a small section of lawn, surrounding the old Japanese maple.

In order to make way for the orchard we had to bring in the big machines, which we used to pull and and remove 40 odd cubic metres of concrete, a bunch of scrub and to re-arrange a bit of dirt too...

 To end up with a clean slate ready for re-building

:( this gall wasp ridden lemon tree eventually went too! ):

We installed these retaining walls using recycled railway sleepers and gravel (no concrete).

 Then started work on the VEG style chicken coop and orchard system

 Then we added some edging and sheet mulched over the top of fertilized, mineralised and de-compacted soil. The paths were underlayed with crushed rock road base. 

 ...and finished with the native and perennial gardens, evergreen olives and citrus, sand pit, grey water and irrigation systems, and a shed with water tank.

Winter planting of fruit trees to follow...