Eco-conscious enthusiasm | The garden that once was a concrete parking area

Eco-conscious enthusiasm | The garden that once was a concrete parking area

Landscape design by Straw Brothers

A mere concrete slab in Victoria, Australia has been completely transformed into a magnificent garden that serves as a sanctuary for indigenous plants and wildlife – with its latest temporary resident being a local fruit-bat.

Australian landscape designers, Straw Brothers, were inspired by the homeowners’ commitment to a clean, green lifestyle, and were eager to help convert this former parking area into the garden we see today.

The Brief

The owners of this property are a young professional couple residing in Wurundjeri Country. They are completely dedicated to a sustainable lifestyle – so much so that they don’t even own a rubbish bin!

The area that they wanted to garden consisted of a single concrete slab at the back of their property, which measured 7×3 metres and was originally intended for car access via a roller door. Without plans to use it for parking, the homeowners wanted to transform the space into a lush garden filled with indigenous plants. They sought to preserve as much of the existing structure as possible to minimise waste, but, at the same time, longed for relief from their currently dull, grey views.

The garden needed to provide shade from the Australian sun and achieve a sense of privacy from nearby neighbours. A minor makeover for the already existing front garden space was also on the cards.


The Transformation

Maintaining sustainable practices (aligned with the homeowners’ lifestyle and values) throughout the re-development of the space was a clear priority. The landscaping team was eager to match their clients’ eco-conscious enthusiasm.

Responsibly salvaged timber battens from CERES Fair Wood were sourced for the rear fence. And to minimise waste, many existing features were maintained where possible.

The concrete was cut into sections, polished, and repurposed as planting beds along the boundaries, with groundcover planted in the slim gaps.

Large pots with local Acacia and Eucalyptus were placed where the concrete was too thick to cut. And a steel pergola with climbing plants was incorporated to provide natural shade.

Finally, the small revamp of the front garden involved removing a concrete verandah and unsuitable plants, replacing them with paving and native trees better adapted to the garden’s environment and climate.

Groundcover planted in between the repurposed concrete slabs
Local acacia and eucalyptus housed in large feature pots
Pratia Pedunculata (Trailing Pratia)
The original roller door, from the 7x3m parking space before the garden was developed.

The Result

The concrete slab is still a prominent feature in the space we see today, although there is now a whole lot less of it to look at. A well established garden is now what draws your eye when looking out from the house.

New native plantings provide a haven for a multitude of indigenous plants and local wildlife.

This garden embraces the homeowners’ eco-conscious values with sustainable practices being used as much as possible in the design and development process. An incredible result – demonstrating how a small and uninspiring area of a home can become a flourishing garden that’s full of life and character.

Parthenocissus Quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper) climbs a structure to provide shade

Key Plant List

  • Banksia Marginata (Silver Banksia)
  • Chrysocephalum Apiculatum (Common Everlasting)
  • Correa Glabra (Rock Correa)
  • Dianella Tasmanica (Tasmanian Flex Lily)
  • Eucalyptus Leucoxylon ‘Euky Dwarf’
  • Parthenocissus Quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)
  • Poa Poiformis (Blue Tussock)
  • Pratia Pedunculata (Trailing Pratia)
  • Strobilanthes Gossypinus (Persian Shield)
  • Stylidium Graminifolium (Trigger Plant)
  • Xerochrysum Bracteatum (Paper Daisy)
Landscape design by Straw Brothers
Photography by Riley Smith
Landscape construction by Gardens of the Sun

Landscape designers, Straw Brothers are a design-focused landscape practice, passionate about gardens. With decades of experience, their hope is to connect people to whatever green space they have available.