Types of Backyard Landscapes in Australia

Looking to change up your backyard landscape this summer? Have a read of our blog to find some inspiration into the most popular types of backyard landscapes in Australia.

There is nothing more Australian than a well-landscaped backyard. We all dream of the perfectly manicured yard we only wish we could achieve with one trip to our local Bunnings. 

Before you hook up the trailer and head to your local nursery, you’ll have to decide which type of landscape design you wish to achieve. However, depending on the climate of your area certain types of landscaping may not work. 

To find out which type is best for your area, keep reading as we cover the 7 types of backyard landscapes in Australia; including how to style them and which plants are best.

7 Types of Backyard Landscaping in Australia

1. Balcony garden. 

The 2016 census revealed around 16% of Australians live in apartments or small units without a backyard of their own. However, just because you don’t have a traditional Australian backyard doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of your very own yard right on your balcony. 

If you live in an apartment and have a passion for gardening, it can be rough. Despite this, even the tiniest of balconies can be transformed into luscious gardens. First thing you’ll have to do is determine the climate of your garden; is it mostly shaded or mostly sun?

Once the climate is determining, you can go plant shopping — yay! When choosing balcony plants, ensure they match the climate as well as your desired landscape. If you’re after a drier look, go for grasses and terracotta tones. Those who love a rainforest look, opt for luscious greens and lots of it! Add a little life to your balcony with festoon lights and comfy seating.


Top low-shade balcony plants in Australia:

  1. Rosemary.
  2. Lavender (low-shade varieties).
  3. Frangipanis.
  4. Petunias.
  5. Blanket flowers.
  6. Geraniums.
  7. Bougainvillea.
  8. Dwarf oleander.
  9. Cumquat.
  10. Agapanthus.
  11. Blue chalk sticks.
  12. Gollum.
  13. Lady palms.
  14. Golden barrel cactus.

2. Contemporary minimalist garden.

Minimalism is definitely a trend we have seen in 2020 and it’s not going away anytime soon. For those looking to bring the minimalist lifestyle to their garden, it may be easier than you think. 

Minimal backyard landscapes focus on foliage and textures, rather than florals and colouring. Popular plants for this type of landscape include bamboo and shrubs. The plants are then contrasted with cement pavers, usually in grey or natural tones.

These types of backyard landscapes can be adapted to any climate, although they are more popular in areas such as Melbourne. This is because the climate is cooler and this type of landscape often doesn’t encompass shade, natural or man made. That doesn’t mean you can’t add shade to your minimalist garden in a warmer climate though — it is your backyard after all.


Top contemporary minimalist plants in Australia:

  1. Tree aloe.
  2. Frangipani.
  3. Japanese maple.
  4. Mother-in-law’s tongue.
  5. Hosta.
  6. Cycads.
  7. Bamboo.
  8. Grasses.

3. Cottage landscape gardening.

Cottage gardens are the cutest gardens by far. They encompass the innocence and nostalgia of childhood fairy tales with pops of colours and softness everywhere. 

This type of front or backyard landscape is easier to achieve in cooler climates as most of the most commonly used plants require cooler climates and frequent watering to thrive. In saying this though, the type of garden is achievable in warmer climates, just be prepaid for a lot of maintenance and careful plant selection. 

To make your own cottage garden you’ll need all different types and colours of flowers. To balance once the colour, add in plenty of luscious green grasses and well-shaped trees. No cottage garden is complete without a brightly coloured garden shed to bring it all together. 


Top cottage landscape plants in Australia:

  1. Bellflower. 
  2. Columbine.
  3. Coralbells.
  4. Daisy.
  5. Dame’s Rocket.
  6. Roses.
  7. Fox’s glove.

4. Drought-tolerant landscapes. 

Let’s face it, Australia is a hot place, and unless you have lots of time to tend to your backyard, it’s likely you’ll be after a tough drought-tolerant landscape. To many people’s surprise, drought-tolerant gardens don’t have to be made up of cactuses and thick grasses. 

When shopping for your drought-tolerant landscape, look for Australian native plants. These plants are often tougher and require less water than others. To add extra character to a drought tolerant backyard add a natural stone path and seating area.


Top Drought-tolerant landscapes plant: 

  1. Acacia Implexa
  2. Agave.
  3. Agapanthus.
  4. Aloe Vera.
  5. Cordyline.

5. Palm Springs inspired landscape. 

Since none of us could make it to Palm Springs for Coachella this year, why not bring Palm Springs to you. Palm Springs inspired landscapes are the perfect mix of drought-tolerant and low-maintenance backyards. Did we mention they’re also super easy to DIY?

To make your backyard mimic those found in Palm Springs, you’ll need lots of cactuses and succulents. While these plants may be quite costly to begin with they’re great for those of us (me included) who don’t have a natural green thumb — they’re quite hard to kill. Surround your plants with white pebbles and natural stone pavers and you’re on your way to the perfect Palm Springs landscape.


Top palm springs inspired landscapes plant:

  1. Opuntia ‘Burbank Spineless’ 
  2. Echinocactus grusonii. 
  3. Yucca rostrata. 
  4. Cereus repandus. 
  5. Parodia magnifica. 
  6. Opuntia.
  7. Peruvian apple cactus

6. Topiary landscape garden. 

Have you ever driven past a house with perfectly shaped bushes and trees? That’s a topiary garden. 

Before you go all Edward Scissorhands on your plants, it’s important to know topiary is an art form best done by a landscape architect — it’s not as easy as it may look. If you do wish to try your hand at topiary, ensure you have the correct type of trees and bushes before you begin. 

For the best results, look for yew, privet and box trees to add to your garden.


Top bushes for topiary landscape gardens?

  1. Yew Bushes.
  2. Arborvitae shrubs. 
  3. Boxwood shrubs.
  4. Privit Shrubs.

 7. Tropical and coastal garden landscapes. 

If you’re not fortunate enough to live by the beach, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of the white sand serenity to your garden. Coastal-themed gardens are a great type of landscape for most areas of Australia. The only change you’ll have to make, depending on your climate, is the type of plants your use. But don’t fear; your local nursery should be able to point you in the right direction. 

To create the perfect tropical oasis is your yard, you’ll need palms — and lots of them. Create dense gardens by paring them with large leafy plants and sculptural lower level grasses. Bring the area to life with white furniture or simply a hammock.


Top bushes for tropical and coastal garden landscapes:

  1. Casuarina glauca prostrate.
  2. Acanthus.
  3. Callistemon Little Caroline.
  4. Coleonema.
  5. Clerodendrum ugandense.

To create the perfect landscape garden in your backyard, get in contact with your local landscaping specialists.

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Senior Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Senior Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Senior Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.