Sunday, November 13, 2016


Low cost + low water use + low maintenance + HIGH amenity = No brainer

We have to start spacing our trees closer folks. Waaayyy too far apart in Perth.

The big two

when landscaping in Perth are SHADE and WINDBREAK.

When I bought this house it had neither. 

Just lawn.

I removed all of it and planted these Flame Trees.

Now when I walk out the front on a hot summer's day I see this (click photo for closer look):

Shade and windbreak. 

Get them right and the rest pretty much designs itself.

Don't get them right and whatever else you do won't satisfy you.

PS…. if you would like a garden like this - ie one you can actually live in - email me at … I'm accepting (limited) commissions again.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Don't raise the bridge, lower the river."

It might have made for a funny movie, but it's clearly not the smart way to fix something.

When I worked in local government, residents would ask me to prune their street tree because "it's shading my garden and my roses/lawn won't grow".

Removing tree canopy to grow lawn and roses is dumb. Far better to change what you're trying to grow underneath!

If you want suggestions of suitable plants, email me at

If you have suggestions of your own, leave them in the comments section below (click on "No comments" to open the dialogue box).

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Do we need any more studies to convince us?

Brooklyn, NY

Trees save our ass. Got it? Yep, me too.

But anyway, here's another one.

Thanks to our good friends at 202020 Vision for the heads up!

New York

When I first went to New York I was scared.

Fifth Ave, Manhattan

I grew up in the 1970's and The Big Apple was a terrifying place that no one in their right mind would want to visit. 

Of course it turned out to be nothing like that. I've been back a couple of times since and have never felt unsafe wandering the streets of Manhattan at night (I'm not sure I'd do the same here).

The man who is credited with this dramatic reversal is Mayor Rudy Guiliani.

But how did he do it?

Appointing William Bratton as his new police commissioner was a good start.

Bratton took a "broken windows" view of policing - ie small problems like broken windows lead to bigger problems if left unchecked - and the rest is history. New York now has one of the lowest crime rates in the US.

But lowering crime was just the beginning. So much has happened since. Including their ridiculously ambitious "million trees in ten years" program which they actually achieved ahead of time (!)

The High Line, Manhattan

They also stopped traffic (literally!) with the High Line (left) - the amazing conversion of an overhead rail line into a public greenway - and now they're going to do it again with the Low Line, the world's first underground park.

NY is very much a "can do" place. I reckon we could do to catch a bit of its "beautiful disease".

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A new (old) aesthetic

City Beach

In Perth we're increasingly moving towards this.


We need to go back to this.

To do that, we need to stop listening to this guy…

… and start learning from this one.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Where the Dunlops meet the dirt

I'm currently doing an urban forest strategy for a local council. 

It's going to be different to the usual ones because it's going to cut to the chase:

What trees, where.

And how much it will cost.

And that's pretty much it.

Oh, and one other thing. It will emphasise that they can no longer afford this.

Because if there's one thing that's a sure-fire community passion-killer it's seeing these all over the place.

If you're going to do urban forest you've got to resource it and do it properly.

I reckon the council I'm working for understands this and is ready to take it seriously.