Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane)

Portulaca oleracea (Common Purslane) is an annual succulent that frequently branches at the base and forms a spreading mat. It grows up to…

11 native Australian garden design ideas to inspire

These classic Australian landscapes will inspire you to embrace the unique range of flora on offer.

This garden in the Blue Mountains has to fend for itself most days while enduring blistering summers and frosty winters, so the couple sought advice about hardy, low-maintenance plants from native landscaping experts Wariapendi Nursery in the Southern Highlands.

Photo: Marnie Hawson | Country Style

Walls of stacked stone from the sunken sitting area beside the lake. Fiona Brockhoff incorporated Tussocks and Banksia spinulosa 'Birthday Candles' soften the edge of the retaining wall.

Photo: Virginia Cummins | Belle

The panoramic vistas from this hilltop home on Sydney's Northern Beaches are matched only by its glorious, true-blue garden.

Photo: Brigid Arnott | Inside Out

Part country, part coastal, this expansive garden on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula uses beds of native plants. Native shrubs are pruned lightly into rounded forms.

Photo: Scott Hawkins | Australian House & Garden

During the build, owner Imogen Tutton studied horticulture — she has a background in law and advertising — and so before they did anything she came every day and started laying out the garden. "I was on quite a native garden mission and I had this beautiful canvas to do it on, so it was my shovel, my mower, and my dog and me, bit by bit."

Photo: Marnie Hawson | Country Style

The fabulous planting scheme for this home on Victoria's Surf Coast is entirely indigenous, which was a requirement of the local council. Landscaping by Hansen Partnership. Home by FMD Architects.

Photo: Derek Swalwell | Australian House & Garden

This Perth garden is a model of sustainability - looking after the environment and the wellbeing of the whole family.

Photo: Angelita Bonetti | Australian House & Garden

Studying native plants and garden design led Kathleen Murphy to create a water-wise oasis at her home where clients can see her work firsthand. Her stunning garden with panoramic views of the Macedon Ranges features a variety of Australian native plants and a contemporary take on the latest in garden ideas and plantings.

Photo: Marnie Hawson | Country Style

The faded timber of the beach house combined with the silverygreens of the native garden, planted by Kate's husband Mal who is a landscape designer, gives the exterior a beautiful, rustic air.

Photo: Armelle Habib | real living

Indigenous plantings and a coastal aesthetic help blur the boundaries between a new garden and its beachside location.

Photo: Derek Swalwell | Inside Out

Melbourne landscape designer, Sam Cox has shaped his bushland garden to replicate a slice of nature. "The masses of planting, mounding and boulders are balanced with the voids of pathways, ponds and pools," says Sam. The paths are made from Castlemaine slate.

Photo: Claire Takacs | Australian House & Garden

Plants for gardening in Australia may include a shrub or tree border to add privacy or block the noise of traffic from the street. Shrub borders are often planted for spring blooms. The seasons in Australia are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere. For instance, spring there is from September to November, whereas this is autumn for us.

Guides by the State Flora staff feature a plant by plant description of most herbs and ornamentals. These are sometimes labeled ‘Don’t Plant Me’ or ‘Grow Me Instead,’ making it easier to avoid plants with an invasive spread.

Native plants are often used in groupings when planting in Australia. These include native pelargonium (Pelargonium australe) and native bluebell (Wahlenbergia spp.). The red flowering bottlebrush shrub is a favorite native for those without a green thumb.

Drooping sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) and southern cypress pine (Callitris gracilis) are just two of the beautiful native plants beneficial to the endangered wildlife population.


Plants in this collection are native to New Zealand, the mediterranean-climate and subtropical regions of Australia, and the high elevations of the South Pacific islands.

As in coastal California, southwestern Australia has a mediterranean climate, characterized by moderate temperatures, rainy winters, and long dry summers. Plants that have adapted to these conditions form the dominant vegetation types in Australia. Members of the myrtle, protea, and pea families are prominent in this flora.

The islands of New Zealand have year-round rainfall and a temperate climate. Evolution in the extreme geographic isolation of these islands has resulted in 75% of the plants being unique (endemic) to New Zealand. Ferns and conifers are prominent in this flora and are featured in the collection.
Many Australian plants thrive in California gardens due to similarities in climate. The moderate San Francisco Bay Area climate also favors New Zealand plants, though many need additional water in summer.

Many members of these floras, such as podocarps and southern beech (Nothofagus species) have close relatives in South America or South Africa. Their ancestors are found in the fossil record of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, which began breaking up 130 million years ago.

The northern end of the Australasian Area represents the moderately wet, warm temperate to subtropical rainforests of the North Island of New Zealand and southeast Australia. The southern end of the collection is suggestive of more xeric (drier) habitats, though nearly every plant featured in this collection is tolerant of wet conditions and so is able to survive in our heavy clay soils. As you walk through the Australasian Area from north to south, notice the shift in terrain from tall, wet forest to drier, low scrubland.

20 of the best gardens from Australian House & Garden

Need to get on top of your gardening? Be inspired by these gorgeous creations from Australian House & Garden.

Peter Fudge reorganised the outdoor areas of this heritage home into a series of relaxation zones. In the front garden, there's a beautifully landscaped pool area, a cosy conversation spot with firepit, and wide sandstone paths lined with layered greenery.

Photo: Prue Ruscoe | Design: Peter Fudge

This Sydney garden has been elevated in more ways than one, with a mix of circular lawn, modern coastal planting and a wonderful palette of silver and green. Flowing over the wall is Dichondra 'Silver Falls'. A cardboard palm (Zamia furfuracea) can be seen on the left.

Photo: Simon Whitbread | Design: Lyndall Keating of Garden Society

This Melbourne garden is so abundant and established it looks as though it's been the life-long companion to the Victorian-era weatherboard home it surrounds. In fact, it's a recent development, installed in tandem with the home's renovation two years ago.

Photo: Derek Swalwell | Design: Ben Scott Garden Design

Once a barren stretch of lawn, this large Melbourne garden has been expertly shaped into a lovely, layered wonderland befitting a special historic home. A bronze sculpture, Chimpanzee Hands by Melbourne artist Lisa Roet, is a focal point of the front garden, where tulip trees form the tall canopy layer and lower beds contain Liriope muscari, Sedum 'Autumn Joy' and Clivia.

Photo: Claire Takacs | Design: Eckersley Garden Architecture

Making an evergreen garden a top priority in the reinvention of their home has paid off in spades for this Melbourne family. The leafy outdoor dining area is partially shaded by a cantilevered pergola covered in silver vein creeper, while the view extends past a canopy of lime-green Gleditsia foliage to a row of dwarf spotted gums.

Photo: Martina Gemmola | Design: Eckersley Garden Architecture

Gem-like flowers, verdant lawns and towering foliage combine in this tropical Queensland garden. A pathway laid with local river rocks leads through this lush garden and flowering cordylines and rows of aloe trees (foreground) run the length of the path.

Photo: Anastasia Kariofyllidis | Design: Marlene O’Rielley and Grant Mayfield

Clever use of space and a green-on-green palette has transformed this inner-city terrace into a private oasis thanks to designer Lisa Ellis. The journey from the dining area to the sitting zone, is enveloped by lovely layers of green.

Photo: Marnie Hawson | Design: Lisa Ellis

The outside world disappears in this private European-style courtyard garden of luminous greens and wondrous shapes. The space is deceptively expansive. "We've enhanced the sense of depth by layering the plants – mixing climbers, shrubs and lower ground covers," says Kate Seddon. "I particularly love the way the solid paving dissipates into steppers dotted through the garden. It helps enhance the amount of greenery and make the space feel bigger."

Photo: Robert Blackburn | Design: Kate Seddon Landscape Design

Horticulturist and founder of The Greenwell Company, Mark Paul, created his sustainable Sydney garden out of a sandstone base, using zero soil. Fascinatingly, most of the plants grow in a 200mm-thick, soil-less growing medium patented by Mark consisting of "waste material that would otherwise be destined for landfill."

Photo: John Paul Urizar | Design: The Greenwell Company

Layers of textured foliage give this evergreen Launceston garden its sense of magnificence perfectly suited to the regency-style home. Rich bursts of colour from Magenta gladioli and white dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis) peek through the green in many areas of the garden.

For owners Marg and Rob, this restored 19th Century garden has been a 30-year pursuit. The magnificent garden features an ever-changing display of fragrant roses, azaleas, lavender and camellias along with citrus trees, potted herbs and strawberries.

Photo: Annette O'Brien | Design: Marg and Rob Turnbull

A soothing soundscape is created by this basalt waterfall in a bushland retreat 30 minutes out of Melbourne's CBD. When the owners purchased the property in 1997, it was a bare paddock without a single tree on it. These days, the bush garden has the atmosphere of a national park.

Photo: Claire Takacs | Design: Sam Cox

This stunning edible garden on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula is textures, fragrant and dotted with colour. Rosemary, mint and the pink flowerheads of Sedum 'Autumn Joy' mingle with citrus and roses in tones of white and lemon.

Photo: Claire Takacs | Design: Mary Loucas

This rural garden in central Victoria, named Laikithi by its owners, features an abundance of plants which constantly change depending on the seasons. In this image, a bird house peeks out from the garden bed which features mauve Ajuga 'Caitlin's Giant', silver-blue Sedum 'Autumn Joy', golden feverfew, purple Lophomyrtus 'Black Stallion', Cotinus 'Grace' and Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'.

Photo: Simon Griffiths | Design: Gail van Rooyen

Designed as "a journey of interconnected zones" this minimalist, manicured garden on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula provides the perfect spot for the homeowners to meditate. Clipped balls of Westringia and Buxus give this garden its sculptural appeal.

Photo: Simon Griffiths | Design: Ben Scott

The 19th Century garden at Bronte House was restored by custodian Anna van der Gardner, pictured strolling along one of the historic pathways under arches laden with roses and other sweet-smelling climbers.

Photo: Prue Ruscoe | Design: Anna van der Gardner

A gravel path winds past statice (*Limonium perezii) in this gorgeous biodiverse paradise that attracts an increasing range of bird species each year. The English-meets-Australian garden in nothern NSW was started from scratch by its owner Carolyn Robinson.

Photo: Kim Woods Rabbidge | Carolyn Robinson

Some of the loveliest gardens are those shaped by years of dedication and gentle persistence. Evandale, in South Australia, is one such garden, having been nurtured for decades by fifth-generation graziers Jenni and Dick Evans. Take a full tour here.

Working with a large sloping site, landscape designer Claudia Nevell shaped a many-layered tropical wonderland at her home on the NSW North Coast. Towering palms and vast thickets of tropical plants stretch out in every direction, giving the impression that the garden occupies a luxurious tract of natural rainforest.

Photos: Scott Hawkins | Design: Claudia Nevell

Uniting a house and its garden in a harmonious composition is at the heart of all good landscape schemes, says Melbourne designer Lachie Anderson of Lachie Anderson Garden Design. It was the underlying aim of his reworking of this garden. in the historical goldfields city of Ballarat.

Photo: Simon Griffiths | Design: Lachie Anderson Garden Design

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