Formal design meets tropical landscape

Simple, formal lines merge with lush and layered tropical planting to create an ambiance of balance and relaxation.

Formal meets tropical in this landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design

Clean lines in this formal landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design

Lush tropical planting in this landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design.

Formal and tropical melt together in this landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design.

A tropical landscape design lit up at night with LED lighting.

A formal landscape design with clean lines from Franklin Landscape & Design.

A formal water feature in a tropical landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Designs.A tropical landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design.

Lush tropical plants are a feature of this landscape design from Franklin Landscape & Design.Formal and tropical merge in this landscape design from Franklin Landscapes & Design.

Formal gardens create a sense of order and balance, which has a calming, soothing effect. Add some layered tropical planting and some flourishing palms and you have the best of both worlds — a serene garden with formal lines and a relaxed tropical landscape.

Faced with the prospect of creating a garden from scratch, the owners of the newly built two-storey residence sought the expertise of multi-award-winning landscape designer David Franklin, founder of Franklin Landscape & Design. Backed by his experienced construction team, David was able to give the owners a garden of which they are extremely proud.

“The brief from the owners was for an easy-to-maintain garden, so this meant they didn’t want any lawn. What they did want was a tropical-style garden with formal lines,” says David. “And they wanted the garden to look fully established. This meant an abundance of plant life and the generous use of advanced trees.”

More than 100 plant species, all of which were supplied by Dans Plants, were used in this landscape, ranging from cycads, agaves and various succulents to buxus, lilly pillies and china dolls. To create the desired tropical look and add to the layering effect, there is a mix of palms, including Canary Island palms, Kentia palms and miniature date palms.

“We had to crane a lot of the trees into position as they were too heavy to move by hand,” says David. “Just manoeuvring the large trees around took a long time, but the effort was worth it. By using these advanced trees, and supporting this by the intense layering of the plants, we have given the garden a look of maturity and abundance.”

While David is pleased with the planting throughout, not least of all because there are so many different species working in complete accord, he is especially fond of the avenue of palm trees in the front yard. Walking beneath these trees, you are guided from the street to a centrally located reflection pond, which adds an elegant formal touch.

When you stroll around the grounds of this prestige property, it’s like walking through an established tropical landscape, which is precisely what the owners wanted. It is a welcoming place made all the more inviting at night, when the well-considered lighting scheme comes into play.


Project details

Franklin Landscape and Design

PO Box 1520, Black Rock Vic 3193

Mobile 0401 383 827




Plants supplied by

Dans Plants Pty Ltd 60-66 Old Dandenong Road, Heatherton Vic 3202

Phone (03) 9551 6989



Photography by Patrick Redmond

“Best of Both Worlds” from Outdoor Design & Living magazine, Volume 27

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