Indigenous Landscape Design Australia

Michael Archer and Bob Beale (2004) Going Native: Living in the Australian Environment

"Ruined soils . . . invading weeds . . . vanishing species. Yet most of the remedies are right under our noses, in Australia's unique plants and animals. Going Native is a blueprint for change, a dynamic vision that calls for a revolution in thinking about our relationship with this amazing continent."

David Banks (2004) Orchids: Cultivation, Propagation, and Varieties

Written by an Australian for Australian conditions, and illustrated with superb photographs on nearly every page, Orchids provides detailed information on the care and cultivation of around 400 orchids, including a selection of the best and most beautiful of the 700 orchids indigenous to Australia.


Doug Benson and Jocelyn Howell (1990) Taken for Granted: The Bushland of Sydney and its Suburbs.

Describes the steady decline of Sydney’s landscape since 1788, the main plant species that once thrived here and those that have survived. Every local government area in the Sydney metropolitan region is covered, with accounts of the flora (once) found there. This is a fascinating and disturbing book, and useful to Sydneysiders planning an indigenous garden. The same authors Sydney’s Bushland: More than Meets the Eye (2000), is also well worth reading.

Thomas Berry (1988) The Dream of the Earth

Provocative essays by an American eco-theologian/monk on creative energy, technology, economics, education, spirituality, patriarchy, bioregionalism, and peace. The leading essay The Dream of the Earth: Our Way into the Future is about "the earth itself and its inherent powers in bringing forth this marvellous display of beauty in such unending profusion, a display so overwhelming to human consciousness that we might very well speak of it as being dreamed into existence."


John Brookes (1969) Room Outside: A New Approach to Garden Design

When it was first published – the same year we bought a derelict 18th-century house on a weed-infested site in Sussex UK – this original, practical book instantly established itself as my garden design bible. Australian readers may skip the plant lists yet find inspiration in the design concepts, illustrated with photographs and drawings on almost every page. At Melbourne’s ‘Gardens for Tomorrow’ conference in 1994, the internationally acclaimed English designer provoked a predictably mixed response when he urged his audience to "Start looking at your native forms and your native shapes. . . . . . Too many imported exotics are being used. You can make the new Australian garden. . . . . .Go to it!"

Burnum Burnum (1988) Burnum Burnum’s Aboriginal Australia: A Traveller’s Guide

The beauty of the Australian landscape and the significance of its features seen through Aboriginal eyes. Illustrated with 300 outstanding colour photographs and 150 monochrome archival photographs, many never previously published.


Bushland Friendly Nursery Scheme (2005) Environmental Weeds and Native Alternatives: A guide to identification, control and replacement

A practical booklet, that includes descriptions and photos of over 80 invasive garden plants, and suggested native alternatives. Although produced for the NSW North Coast from Tweed to Taree, almost all species identified as invasive, also occur throughout coastal NSW, and may also occur elsewhere in Australia. Available, free, from participating councils, from Tweed to Greater Taree. Environmental Weeds and Native Alternatives supplants Grow Me Instead: A guide for gardeners in the Greater Sydney district, published by Nursery & Garden Industry NSW & ACT. Grow Me Instead provides descriptions and photos of only 32 invasive species and suggested alternatives, a mix of exotics (including potential invasives) and native to Australia.

Vic Cherikoff and Jennifer Isaacs (1991) The Bush Food Handbook: How to Gather, Grow, Process and Cook Australian Wild Foods

The authors guide the reader through each stage, from collection and farming to city foraging, garden planning, recipes, cooking techniques and regional listings of food species. They recommend cultivation, rather than harvesting from the bush that contributes to the further decline of Australia’s environment. This superb book, illustrated with many sensitive colour photographs and drawings, is dedicated to the Aborigines “whose traditional lifestyles maintained and respected the beauty and resources of the Australian bush.” Out of print, though well worth a search for a second-hand copy. For related books on bush foods, visit


Ian Chivers and Kath Raulings (2009) Australian Native Grasses: a manual for sowing, growing & using them

Australian Native Grasses describes selected native grasses and their many benefits as eco-friendly garden ornamentals and alternatives to conventional lawns. The authors also give detailed instructions on propagation and after-care. An outstanding, profusely illustrated book that fills a long-felt need for practical information for the eco-aware landscape professional and home gardener alike. Available online at

Ross Clark (2003) Specifying Trees: A guide to the assessment of tree quality

Identifies the most important measurable characteristics of container-grown nursery trees and shows you how to select a high-quality product with confidence.


Michael Cremo and Mukunda Goswami (1995) Divine Nature: A Spiritual Perspective on the Environmental Crisis

"Divine Nature reminds us that we must learn again to live within the laws of nature . . . aware and grateful that we are at the mercy of sacred forces larger than ourselves."

Sylvia Crowe (1958) Garden Design

Sylvia Crowe, who died in 1997 aged 95, was a giant among twentieth-century landscape architects. In her classic Garden Design, she reviews the history of gardens and examines the materials of design, specialized gardens and the principles of design: "Perhaps the greatest principle and the one most lacking in the average garden today is a sense of unity . . . . . When we say that a landscape has been spoilt we mean that it has lost this unity". Out of print, though worth a search for the section on design principles alone.


Peter Cundall (2001) Pete’s Mailbag: Original Tips and Tricks from Australian Gardeners

A slender volume, "guaranteed to make everyday gardening easier."

Helen Cushing (2005) Beyond Organics: Gardening for the Future

Before I’d finished reading the three-page Introduction, I began to sense in horticulturist, conservationist and gardener Helen Cushing, a kindred spirit; and in Beyond Organics: Gardening for the Future, a book with something of vital importance to say. To the gardener dissatisfied with the superficiality of garden design and indifference to the environment of gardening magazines and TV, makeover shows, Beyond Organics comes as a breath of fresh air, an eloquent How-To guide to transforming the average garden into a tranquil eco-paradise and wildlife oasis.

The author exposes some unpalatable truths about everyday gardening practices and examines eco-friendly alternatives and their many advantages.

This unusual book is at once a closely reasoned treatise and a passionate manifesto, a book that packs a wealth of information on biodiversity, conservation, soil and plant selection – interwoven with personal recollections – into one slender volume. Beyond Organics invites remedial action, and will appeal to a new breed of gardeners and garden designers who seek to unite aesthetics and ecology, in harmony with the natural environment.

One major defect undermines the book’s central message of ecological integrity: The description of Nursery & Garden Industry Australia’s Flora for Fauna web site as "an incredible resource for plant selection", is a huge misconception that will raise eyebrows among conservationists and ecologists.

A revised edition of Beyond Organics that omits reference to this travesty of the original UK Flora for Fauna, will be a welcome source of lasting inspiration to gardeners across Australia.


Gretchen C. Daily and Katherine Ellison (2002) The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable

One of the world's leading ecologists, Professor Gretchen Daily, in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison, envisions a 'new economy' that recognizes the economic value of natural systems and the potential profits in protecting them.

Daily and Ellison describe the dynamic interplay of science, economics, business, and politics that are involved in establishing these new approaches and examine what is needed to create successful models and lasting institutions for conservation.

Put together an outstanding scientist, an outstanding writer and an outstanding idea made refreshingly compelling: the result is a lively and outstanding book. Daily and Ellison show us why conservation pays. Jared Diamond, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies