Friday, April 10, 2015

Come and Experience a garden Designed by Phillip Johnson Landscapes!

This weekend, our last garden for Open Gardens Australia is open to the the public and we would love to see you there!

Come and see Phillip's favourite small garden, which used to house the owners caravan! Learn more about how your garden can be a space that gives back to the environment through water wise innovation and sustainable design. Be taken in by the owner's meaningful connection with their landscape and take a day to allow yourself to reconnect with nature!

Phillip's book will be available for sale (all copies are signed), there will be lots of friendly staff around to speak with and Phillip will be at the garden on Sunday to speak to you all as well. 

Details below!

 Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 April 2015
"Harry's Garden"

Times: 10am - 4:30pm

Entry Fee: $8

 An Australian native garden designed by Phillip Johnson. At the front, a memorial garden recreates a delightful pond with small waterfalls. A fern walkway leads to a billabong surrounded by gums, banksias and native wildflowers. Lovely murals, hand made gate. 14m x 16m.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

5000 Poppies Project

Between 2014 and 2018, Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War. If you have been following our Facebook page then you likely already know that in the new year, we will be joining forces with the 5000 Poppies Project to make a wonderful and moving tribute that will commemorate 100 years of service and sacrifice.

Poppies have been hand crocheted and donated by thousands of contributors all over the world, and the 5000 poppies have grown to a whopping 60,000! If you would like to be involved in the project then head to the 5000 Poppies website to find out how.

The first installation will be held on Anzac Day 2015 in the heart of Melbourne and will then take a nationwide tour for the duration of the Centenary. So far, all of the work by The 5000 Poppies Project has been self-funded by contributors to the project, but now they have created a Pozible campaign which can allow you to be a part of the project as well. You can now sponsor a poppy or poppies, to help raise funds for the construction and installation of these displays! All sponsors will be acknowledged in the contributor’s page of the 5000 Poppies Blog and on the 5000 PoppiesFacebook page.

5000 of the sponsored poppies will also form an integral part in our display garden at the 2015 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. For this display, Phillip Johnson has drawn upon his own personal family connection to the Anzacs.

Phillip’s great grandfather was Lieutenant Frederick Johnson of the XXII Corps and fought during WW1. Frederick wrote endlessly to his family while at war, recalling his home in Australia with warmth and soul, and these letters as well as the idea of remembrance and reflection are the inspiration behind the display.

So if you would like to help these projects come to life and be an integral part of the 5000 Poppies Project, or if you would like to dedicate a poppy to your own Anzac connection, then head to the 5000 Poppies Pozible campaign page and sponsor your poppy today!


Phillip Johnson Landscapes would like to congratulate Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, the founders of the 5000 Poppies Project, for their continued dedication to this fantastic cause! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


We have always believed in the importance of being connected to nature and now we shall be more connected than ever!

As of Friday the 24th October 2014 (tomorrow!), Phillip Johnson Landscapes will no longer call Camberwell it’s home, as we pack up our things and head back to the beautiful Olinda!

We have spent the last few months developing our research laboratory into a show garden that is ready for our future and we are more than thrilled with the results!

We will now be working right in the heart of what we create, with every window of our new office, looking out over waterfalls, native plants and the beautiful natural pool below! It’s going to be such an energizing place to work from and we are sure that each day will fill our designs with more and more inspiration!

So what does this move mean for our clients? Now, by appointment only, we can show you exactly what it is that we do! We can show you the wonders of having a natural pool, how the plants can be used to enhance the space and point out every little detail that give our landscapes their soul and beauty!

Make sure you check out our Facebook page to follow our new journey!
To contact us after our move, our new details are below:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Open Gardens Australia Present's the 'Union Street Garden' in Armadale

This Armadale property featuring a PJL Vertical Garden, will be opening its gates to the public this weekend as part of Open Gardens Australia, and we would love to see you there! 

When: Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 August

Hours: 10am - 4:30pm

Entry: $8 (Under 18 FREE)

The owners wished to invest in something to create interest in their small garden area and contacted PJL who came up with an ideal solution-  a vertical garden!

Vertical gardens are perfect for beautifying previously bland spaces, and are ideal for small backyards and apartments as they take up minimal space.

Designed, constructed and maintained by Phillip Johnson Landscapes, this stunning vertical garden has transformed the high concrete wall behind it into a beautiful native outlook from the owners dining area.  

Standing 4m high and 3m wide, this ‘green wall’ has increased the plant life in the area and further assisted in filtering CO2 from the atmosphere. It is a fascinating living form that is flourishing with an abundance of textures and greenery.

Click the link to see the owners notes on plant species and to view more information on this beautiful garden!

We cant wait to see you there!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Open Garden's Australia Presents 'Aquarius' In Kilsyth

Escape to Kilsyth with us and explore the beauty of this Phillip Johnson Landscapes designed garden as it opens to the public on the weekend of the 8th and 9th of February for Open Gardens Australia!

Details included in the flyer below!

Visit our Facebook Page and register your interest via our Event App and come along on the day, to go into the draw to win a free consult!

Copies of the Chelsea's Greatest Garden DVD will also be available for sale, so make sure to pick up your copy while stocks last!
  We hope to see you all there!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Protecting Your Home From The Threat Of Bushfires

Image courtesy of CFA Vicotria

Bush fires during the Australian summertime are frequent events due to our hot, dry climate.

In 2009, Victoria endured Australia's worst ever natural disaster with more than 2,000 properties destroyed and countless others damaged when bush fires ripped through the state.

October last year, saw NSW hit by extreme bush fires with around 248 buildings destroyed.

Currently WA is enduring it's worst bushfire since 2011 with 55 homes lost to the raging fires so far.

Our hearts go out to all the victims of these terrible disasters and the amazing teams of firefighters working hard and risking their lives to get the fires under control.

As the temperatures continue to climb this week we've put together some tips that the Government Fire Authorities recommend for preparing your home, (if you haven't already) in order to give it a greater chance of survival if a bushfire comes your way.


The most common belief when it comes to bush fires, is that the trees play the role of the major threat. However this is not the case. Fire is actually carried by the undergrowth below the trees, such as grasses, leaf litter and shrubs. All plants are flammable, but some are worse than others, so make sure to review the vegetation on your property and take action where needed. Government Fire Authorities suggest:

  • Any vegetation that is less than 6mm in thickness or diameter should be reduced.
  • Closely compacted shrubs should be removed if they are close to your house. If these shrubs are located near any windows and happen to catch on fire, they can crack the glass and allow embers inside. Shrubs should also be pruned regularly where they are found underneath the lower branches of trees.
  • Trim or remove any loose, flaky bark, sticks, leaves or needles on your trees and shrubs. This bark can lead a fire to climb higher, adding height to flames and allowing embers a greater chance to move and ignite elsewhere
  • Keep your lawn mowed, the leaves raked and removed and your garden beds free from weeds.
  • When it's windy, take notice of where any leaf litter accumulates. This is where any embers will land if the wind takes them the same way so be sure to keep these areas clear.
  • Regularly clear out your gutters and if you can, cover them with mesh to guard them from fallen leaves.


No landscape is completely fire proof, but there are many things you can do during the design phase of your garden that can help you achieve a greater level of bushfire protection for your home. Elements we always consider in bush fire risk areas are:

  • The use of permeable gravel pathways. These create fuel breaks between the planting and if you have a sprinkler system in place can help the water to move through the surface and dampen other areas you may have missed. An open gravel space surrounding the home is also a good way to stop fire from reaching the house.
  • When you create a planting plan, be sure to space out all the plants and trees to avoid a continuous canopy of vegetation to your house. If you make small, spaced out clusters of plants with clear areas in between, this makes it difficult for fires to spread to other areas. 
Gravel paths surround the house at this property in Wandin North


During a fire, the most effective fire suppressant will always be water, so ensuring that your property has enough is integral. There are a number of water storage options available but the ones we use most commonly in our gardens are tanks and our billabongs.


In terms of how much water storage you need for your tank, the CFA recommends having enough water to last for at least 2 hours of continuous use. This will be completely determined by the size of your property of course, so if you are interested in finding out what size you need, why not speak to our friends at TankWorks. They supplied the tank we used in our award-winning Chelsea garden and have some fantastic sustainable tanks available.

TankWorks tank featured in the Trailfinders Australian Garden Presented By Flemings Nurseries

While also providing a cool refuge for wildlife during the fire season and a place for rejuvenation after fires have passed, our billabongs can also operate as a fire-protection system. Used in conjunction with storage tanks full of previously stored rainwater run off, our billabongs provide natural harvested water which can be pumped into hoses and sprinkler systems to protect your home.

Phil's billabong in Olinda
Sprinkler Systems
  • Phil himself, owns a 12,000 litre fire tank, which, along with the billabong below the house, connects to a fire-suppression system that curtains his entire home in a wall of water and can be accessed remotely.
  • Sprinkler systems like this are an excellent way to extinguish any embers that land on or around your home and Government Fire Authorities believe they should be considered as a very important part of your bushfire survival plan especially if you are living in an area with dense vegetation.

Phil's home in Olinda with sprinkler system running
Close up of the sprinkler system in action

These are just a few tips for preparing your property for a fire. For further information on what your local Fire Authority recommends, visit your State or Territory website: 








Ultimately, however, the lives of you and your family are the most important thing to consider, so make sure you all have a clear understanding of when you will leave your property, and leave as early as you can. The longer you wait to leave, the greater the risk to your life.

From everyone at PJL- stay safe this summer!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Open Gardens at Parkdale

We hope you had a chance to pop down to Parkdale last weekend when 'Aussie Oasis' was open to explore as part of Open Gardens Australia. If you missed out, here's a small recap of how the weekend went!

While Saturday was quite grey and the drizzle seemed determined to spoil things, Sunday was almost magically sunny, providing the perfect atmosphere for all the families that dropped by to wander around and immerse themselves in the garden.

Parkdale's environment allowed for visitors to reconnect with nature on a sensory level from the moment they entered the property. Through the front gates, visitors were taken on a visual journey as their eyes followed the winding paths through the rows of fruit trees and rich coloured planting.

Children running along the winding paths, their hands outstretched, encountered the many contrasting textures of large rippled rocks and the soft leaves of overhanging foliage.

The rich fragrances of flowers, citrus and home grown mulch created a pleasant aroma while the soft sounds of leaves moving in the wind, the calls of local birds, and the constant splashing of water over rocks allowed the visitor to relax and enjoy the natural environment. 

There were many comments on the child friendly atmosphere of the landscape that encouraged young minds to explore. A fascination with the water had many children captivated as they dipped their fingers in the billabong and searched for the tadpoles that have just made a home in the depths of the water!

Parkdale is the perfect example of how PJL creates inspiring spaces that evolve, and educate your family for years to come. There are so many areas that allow children to learn about their natural world, from wildlife appreciation, being safe around water bodies and learning the importance of sustainability from a young age. 

 For more photos from the day, visit us on our Facebook page!