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…

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

My show garden, Viridis

I’m now back on solid ground after being up in Sydney for a couple of weeks taking part in the Australian Garden Show Sydney. All I can say is, what an experience it became! And what a great effort to put a show together in such a short period of time and to get it to that level. Continue reading

Designing small, urban courtyards

As our cities move upwards, and urban living gets smaller and more confined, we all still have that need to involve some green in our life. The small courtyard or balcony garden that often comes with the traditional inner city dwelling needs to be treated with care. These spaces, which might be a few metres wide by only a little more long, come with a mix of challenges such as privacy, eyesores and hard walls, making it tricky to know where to start. Continue reading


A garden for a family has to please everyone from dad, who wants a spot to relax and cook the barbie, mum who wants some nice scents flowing from the garden bed and young Charlie who wants his adventure. A standard garden often includes a basic set of requirements such as entertaining areas, service areas, recreation areas, some garden beds, sometimes fruit and vegies, oh and of course paths and a story to link it all together. Continue reading

Designing with sculptural plants

I often get asked when conducting a design consultation or garden advisory ‘what sort of plants do you like Phil?’ I often say ‘too many’ or ‘I like a mixture of plants’ and it’s true. I feel my fondest memories of gardens come from the ones that have a variety of plants blended to form something we don’t generally see. Here is where a gardener starts to ask questions such as ‘I’m not sure if that works but it definitely looks interesting’. Continue reading

Becoming a landscape designer

Hi everyone, my name is Phil and this is my first entry for GardenDrum. I am a landscape designer and I love what I now do! That must reflect on people, as they already ask me “Why do you have so much energy?” The answer is “I love it!” It’s funny because if you ask me “How did you become a landscape designer?” the answer’s the same… Continue reading