A sustainable native garden in rustic style

This sustainable native garden is a fusion of rustic style and practical design


A breathtaking, sustainable native garden that offers a relaxed, rustic ambience

The designer’s aim was to create a sustainable native garden — one that looked raw and rustic, was low maintenance and featured a bird- and bee-attracting planting scheme. The must-have list presented to Mark Tisdell of MUD Landscape Design didn’t end there, though.

“The owners wanted us to make the best use of the north-facing aspect and bush outlook, incorporate new levels based on the removal of part of the existing retaining wall, create a level turfed area where the kids could play, establish a sitting area, and find space to establish a chicken run and edible gardens. Materials were to be recycled and reused where possible,” explains Mark.

“What we have created is a very textural, earthy and organic space that perfectly suits the clients’ values and lifestyle. It’s a native garden that responds well to the local microclimate, and it has become the envy of neighbours and guests alike.”

The garden is replete with visual delights, but one of the elements Mark finds most appealing is how well the palette of diverse textures, which includes recycled railway sleeper retaining, Corten steel edging and organic-shaped bluestone steppers set amid decomposed granite gravel, works so harmoniously with the existing trees and native planting scheme

Mark is just as pleased with how well the garden, which was built by Tallowood Landscapes, now flows. “Descending the stairs from the rear deck you feel like the entire area is within your reach,” he says. “The flow and interconnection of the spaces is simple and inviting, creating moments where you can stop, relax and take in the borrowed views and leafy outlook.

“Raised edible garden beds positioned on the upper level are easily accessed from the deck and kitchen area. These beds were constructed using the same recycled railway sleepers used in the fire pit and children’s play areas, creating harmony through repetition,” continues Mark. “The fire pit area, which naturally includes seating, is the staging point for the rest of the garden.”

The pared-back planting scheme was created to suit the owners’ budget, as well as provide suitable habitat for local bird life. “A mix of native plants with a focus on foliage texture provides a muted palette of greens and greys that contrast beautifully with the dark tones of the residence,” says Mark. “Groundcovers and spillover plants soften the look of the retaining walls and add to the earthy, organic look.”

In naming the garden a Gold winner in the 2019 AILDM National Landscape Design Awards’ Residential Landscape Design More Than 150m² category, the judges said: “This design was an innovative and transformative response to the brief. The landscaping will age well and lets this house sit comfortably in its surrounds.”

For more information

MUD Landscape Design

This project is an entrant in the Outdoor Design 2022 NSW Landscaper of the Year Awards, celebrating residential design innovation and construction excellence. All entrants were featured in Outdoor Design Issue 42, with winners to be announced in Outdoor Design Issue 43.