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From bare ground to a lush tropical garden in 5 years in the suburbs of Melbourne - Behind the Garden Gate

Jul 21, 2023
tropical garden in Melbourne garden design ideas

The owner, designer and creator of this garden - invites us to step behind the garden gate into a fantasy land away from the mundane life in suburbia.

Alistair Kirkpatrick from Stratis Landscape Architects designed and starting planting out this garden 5 years ago - when the space was completely empty and bare of ANY plants.

BEFORE and AFTER of the same video - hard to believe! 

To design a garden in such a small space, that feels like it's got so much more space than 70 sq metres takes a few tricks. Alistair has created level changes on the once flat block by using 6 cubic metres of soil and recycled volcanic rocks - that a beautiful cascade of water now trickles over in a fish filled pond. There are also different spaces in the garden to sit, relax and walk through. You can never really see all 4 corners of the garden at anyone time, so it feels much larger than it is. The decked space includes a recycled window false wall to create an almost glasshouse space that houses a rustic old cast iron bath.

This space has a real sense of ruined grandeur about it - it's fabulous! Alistair's used a huge range of plants in this small space - around 320 different species to be exact! And it's a real collectors garden - filled with rare and wonderful plants - many that you don't typically find growing in Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

To create a garden with such a tropical vibe in a cooler (non-tropical) climate like Melbourne; - use plants with dark green, glossy leaves - grow taller plants as the canopy - use plants with big, bold leaves - cover the ground with scrambling plants or plants with thick green strappy leaves - use the vertical space to add even more plants This whole garden is south facing, with the decked area and the driveway garden receiving the most sunlight. So plants have been chosen to suit the dappled shade to semi-shade environment in the main garden closest to the house.

Alistair EXTENDS his garden beyond it's four walls and spill it out onto the common driveway of this units and he's even given up his carpark so he can have a vegetable garden! This garden is a wonderful example of what a space can be if you let your imagination run a little bit wild AND think outside the box.


Garden Design & Build by 🌱 Alistair Kirkpartick - Stratis Landscape Architects -
Deck Construction by 🌱 Innerbloom Landscapes -


DO YOU want to be a BETTER & MORE confident gardener? Consider SPROUT SCHOOL visit: 


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