News & Media

Top garden designs on show

  • Lee Bailey 'Urban Sanctuary'.
  • Lee Bailey 'Urban Sanctuary'.
  • Meg Geary 'Out of the Ashes'
  • Peta Donaldson 'Resilience'.
  • Renee Visentin 'Sky Crying'.
  • Meg Geary 'Out of the Ashes'.
  • Lee Bailey
  • Meg's centrepiece
  • Meg's design
  • Meg's garden
  • Meg's non-flammable design
  • Meg's stone wall
  • Peta Donaldson
  • Renee Visentin
  • Renee Visentin 'Sky Crying'
  • Renne's crushed glass path


Category: Community Safety, Events / Fundraising / Offers

  2.57 PM 22 March, 2013

Location: General

Views: 4129

Four Victorian landscaping students have proven that fantastic design can improve bushfire safety and their work is now on display at the 2013 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

*Article by Kate Summons.

The Student Design Award provided an opportunity for people in the landscaping industry to demonstrate how contemporary design can also incorporate bushfire safety features.

Landscaping Victoria invited CFA to judge the competition after the successful launch of the ‘Landscaping for Bushfire’ publication at last year’s show.

The competition was open to all students of landscape architecture, design, landscape construction and horticulture from across Australia.

Students were required to respond to a brief based on the design principles found in the ‘Landscaping for Bushfire - suburban garden' that included use of the Plant Selection Key.

The winning design was announced by the Premier of Victoria Dennis Napthine at the official opening of the flower and garden show.

Designer Meg Geary says she wanted her garden ‘Out of the Ashes’ to reflect the inevitability of bushfire in the Australian landscape.

“Fire is part of the landscape and it’s about learning how to live with it that rather than expecting it to change and managing our environment so that we are less at risk,” said Meg.

“It’s about how bushfires move through and destroy the landscape, but also the regeneration and renewal afterwards. It highlights the ability of the bush to recover.”

The centrepiece of Meg’s garden is a burnt stump that washed up on the river flats at her parents’ property in Jamieson after the 2006 bushfires.

Her clever use of non-flammable landscaping materials includes steel edging, gravel and a stone wall that all provide good separation between flammable elements in the garden as well as creating interesting and attractive areas of low fuel.

As winner of the competition Meg will now have the opportunity to design the landscaping for the Cockatoo Ash Wednesday Memorial. The project is based on the restoration of the kindergarten facility that sheltered 300 people in the fires that hit the town in 1983. 

The three other finalist designs on display demonstrate different approaches to the brief.

‘Resilience’ by Peta Donaldson is a contemporary garden with a focus on low growing vegetation framed by lawn areas, decorative gravel and concrete paving. The feature of this garden is the stone wall along the boundary and an outdoor living area with metal pergola and water feature.

Kinglake resident Renee Visentin based her ‘Sky Crying’ design on her experience on Black Saturday. It’s filled with symbolic design features that complement the bushfire objectives and tell the story of recovery after a fire.

Renee’s garden includes low garden beds separated by a crushed glass path against a corten steel backdrop that outlines the Kinglake mountain ranges. 173 glass ‘raindrops’ represent the victims of the 2009 fires.

Lee Bailey’s ‘Urban Sanctuary’ is a homely backyard garden that illustrates the importance of multiple functions of the space including making it family friendly, a place of beauty as well as incorporating bushfire considerations. The inclusion of a vegetable garden and hot tub highlights the functionality of this well designed garden.

The flower and garden show continues until Sunday 24 March at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. 

For a real life example of a fire smart garden see CFA’s Sedum case study.

For a tailored site assessment of your home and garden book an appointment with the Home Bushfire Advice Service.

Last Updated: 26 March 2013