Phillip Withers

About Phillip Withers

Phillip started his design through more art based development studying a Diploma in Arts at RMIT. He was then drawn to garden design through garden maintenance and construction, studying a Diploma in Landscape Design and Sustainability at Swinburne University. He started Phillip Withers Landscape Design and has been lucky enough to create 3 show gardens in different forms, from achievable, to student, to professional. He has also taught Computer Aided Design with Kangan Institute and now Swinburne University. Phil is also a keen traveller and believes that it is the key to keeping design interesting…

How to inspire ‘millennials’ to garden

As Baby Boomers continue to retire and downsize, a new generation of gardeners – the much-maligned Millennials – is poised to pick up where the Boomers have left off. They’re ready and able to grab a shovel, to grow their own food, and to decorate their own spaces – be it a backyard garden in the burbs’ or a studio apartment in the city – with funky and functional plants.  They just don’t know it yet. Continue reading

The right plants to choose for a vertical garden

As our outdoor areas get smaller, it gets harder to fill them with a good variety of plants that will all fit, and still grow well. At least, I think if you want any courtyard, balcony or garden to give you a good feeling you’ll want it to be filled with plants. As these areas become more and more about the surfaces needing to be used for other purposes, like sitting or eating, we need to look to other places to put our plants, like the surrounding walls. Continue reading

Palm Springs style in a window pop-up garden

I think that if we want to get new people excited about gardens and gardening, as designers we need to take a garden to where they are, rather than expecting they’re going to come looking for us. So instead of designing and building a Melbourne show garden this year, the team and I decided to do something a little different. Working with our interior funk sisters over at Melbourne’s interior design retail heaven, The Family Love Tree in Prahran, we’ve taken their shop window to the next level. Continue reading

Making a small commercial edible garden for ‘Patch’

Recently we were asked to create a temporary commercial display container garden for the sales area of a new apartment building project called ‘Patch’ in Fitzroy North, Melbourne. Although ‘Patch’ has a range of apartment sizes, it includes a higher than usual percentage of three-bedroom family-focussed apartments. The Patch building, due for completion in late 2017, will have a 4 star ESD rating (Ecologically Sustainable Development). Continue reading

Listening to the locals: a new garden for The Cellar Door

I, like many, enjoy more than anything to take a break from a routine and embrace a new destination. By going and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for a few days or weeks, it opens your eyes and you realise that there is more to life than just the day to day. There is nothing better than finding out what a place is really about; its history, its food and drink, its culture and its beauty. Continue reading

Plants make a new hair salon cutting edge

Winter for me can become one of those times were you feel like life can get cold, monotonous and somewhat repetitive, so I personally use this time to plan things that will excite the senses and involve me and my staff in areas that will keep us all inspired. One of these interesting little projects came up recently when we enjoyed collaborating with a whole host of different people, bringing to life the new headquarters for the renown Valonz Haircutters in Paddington, Sydney. Continue reading

Design courtyard views that take you outside

I’m lucky I’m so in love with the work I do. I get to meet many interesting people and see many interesting houses. I use the word ‘houses’ as I feel a house only becomes a home once you turn it into a people-focussed environment, and making that sort of environment involves bringing in lots of plants. Then what started as just a house turns into a place where you feel like you can come home and find somewhere you belong, filled with peace and calm. A place that isn’t just about function, but connects with human emotions too. Continue reading

How to plant yourself a coral reef garden

In the 2014 Australian Garden Show Sydney we had the opportunity to experiment with trying something different in our garden. We wanted to use plants to create a sense of a different environment – one not normally associated with plant-filled gardens. The result was a ‘coral reef’ garden, created using a wide variety of cacti and succulents for colour and texture. Continue reading

Visiting Cloudehill garden in autumn

With some beautiful warm weather in Melbourne in mid May, I decided to wander up to the Mount Dandenong area to take in the breathtaking ‘Cloudehill’ garden in all its late autumn glory. Many had warned me that it wasn’t such a good season up the hill with the indifferent weather patterns we’d had but I feel that it’s really nice to see some leaf colours mixed in with the emerging interest of the architectural elements that form as the bare branches come out to greet us. Continue reading

A courtyard for a special girl

Every so often you get lucky in life and are met with situations that make doing what you do feel even less like a job and more like doing something you love. I say this because I met with one of these situations not that long ago and it was one of those times when everything is just put back into perspective… Continue reading

Designing a beach garden

I started designing and pottering about in this beachside garden a couple of years ago now. It is dear to my heart, as it’s a garden that I am lucky enough to call home every so often when I have a few days off, or the holiday period allows it. Continue reading

Design for use

Lately I have been designing a lot of gardens with mixed uses. A perfect example was a garden a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne’s inner east that will be packed with all things useful. It will include fruit, vegies, a heap of herbs, cut flowers and even the humble chicken coop ready for some little fellas to come out and play. It will be a garden not just for the couple that owns it but a garden for the whole family to enjoy and grow up with. Continue reading

Concept garden at Tait

Of late I have been lucky to be able to explore a few new concepts in garden design by designing a garden that’s both outdoors as well as somewhat indoors. ‘Closed in’ you could even say. Imagine a situation such as an inner city courtyard or apartment garden where the walls close in on you and cast shadows over the environment, and where the the light trickles in but only for a limited amount of time……. Continue reading