Hedges perform all kinds of functions. From windbreaks, screening unsightly fences and buildings, creating boundary lines, dividing a garden into specific spaces, highlighting lines or to provide a backdrop for a contrasting foreground.

When thinking of hedges, they can be easily relegated to two groups - formal and informal. This can usually

be defined by the species used and how it is kept (pruned and clipped or natural form) 

A formal hedge will usually use a certain tree or plant, species with small leaves will give a denser and overall neater appearance due to the ease of defined pruning. 

Architecturally, the use of straight lines, symmetry and repetition defines a formal garden. 

An informal hedge will have a free growing form, so any vigorous growing shrub can be used

When designing a garden, often the initial starting point is the structural elements, like retaining walls, decks & pergolas, hard surfaces etc. Hedges, whilst still part of the planting offer a structural element to the design. I like to have hedging at the front of mind during the conceptualisation process, while drafting the functional analysis

Some tall trees that work well as hedges are:

Acmena smithii (lilly pilly)

x Cupressocyparis leylandii ‘Leighton Green’

Ficus microcarpa var. Hillii ‘Hill’s fig’

Prunus laurocerasus ‘cherry laurel’

Waterhousea floribunda ‘weeping lilly pilly’

Medium size: 

Camellia sasanqua

Laurus nobilis ‘bay laurel’

Murraya paniculata ‘orange jessamine’

Photinia x fraser (red robin)

Viburnum odaratissimum (Sweet viburnum)

Smaller hedges:

Buxus microphylla var. Japonica (Japanese box)

Buxus sempervirens (English box) 

Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’

Lonicera nitida (box leaf honeysuckle)

Landscape Lighting

The addition of landscape lighting can transform a space which was only being utilised throughout the day into a space which can be enjoyed both day and night. Adding a view from  inside the house by bringing the surrounding garden to life with lighting which can be enjoyed as an extension of the house.

Lighting can be used to highlight specimen trees, ornamentation, feature walls and water features etc. Lighting can used to inconspicuously add light by uplighting from the base.

Safety lighting provides illumination to guide those moving through the garden, usually small lights  near steps or directing pathways and driveways.

When considering lighting in a landscape design it makes sense that the actual light should be aesthetically pleasing to look at. There are many types of decorative light fixtures in many styles which can add decorative value to space and enhance the outdoor to indoor connection. 

Decorative lights can be added to the entrance of the house, front gate or at the dining setting.

Acer Palmatum - Japanese Maple

‘Acer palmatum’ commonly known as The Japanese Maple is native to the mountains of the Japanese forests, however it can be grown successfully anywhere from The Hinterland  to the beachfronts here in Byron Bay to if given enough protection and water.

The Japanese Maple boasts a countless number of cultivars with even more variations of size, form, shape, colour and leaf surface. 

There are varieties which turn red in Autumn and varieties which have green leaves that turn yellow or orange. 

There are also differences in form and leaf surface. 

As the names imply, the upright Japanese Maple will grow in a typical upright form with rigid growth and an equal spread. The leaf shape does tend to be palmate with a flat surface and referred as ‘whole-leaf’. 

The weeping Japanese Maple’s have a weeping, almost mounding form. Their leaves have a lace textured surface and called ‘cut-leaf’


Adding to the versatility of The Japanese Maple, there are dwarf species, making them perfect for including in a design for small areas. The dwarf species have a range of heights, colours, form, habit and shape

When used in a landscape design The Japanese maple can work in many styles, not just Japanese gardens. It can be used in many ways, it works well as a specimen tree in small gardens, an understory tree, it can be used in pots and containers and as it is deciduous it can be used to create shade through the warmer months whilst letting in filtered light during Autumn