Residential Landscaping

Spring is in the air

Spring is in the air, and nowhere more apparent than in the gardens and parks of Perth and throughout the State.


Last weekend we took our kids out to York which was holding its annual festival. On the way we stopped in at York Olive Oil which had a beautiful display of everlasting daisies all out in colour with the swathes of whites, pinks and everything in between.

Incorporating everlastings in your garden can provide a real pleasure when they come out in full display. It is also a great way to get the kids involved, sowing them a few months before, watching and waiting to see them grow.

They are best planted in autumn in a nice open, sunny position. Ensure the soil is moist prior to planting .

They work best when planted on mass in larger garden beds. A drive through Kings Park at this time of year shows great examples of this. Everlastings appear often in their roundabouts and roadside gardens.

Perth Spring flowers

Kings Park Wildflower Festival winds up in the 30th September so there is still time to visit the park and participate.

Another gem of a spot in the Perth Hills is Araluen Botanic Park. I grew up in the hills of Perth and remember visiting the park many times with my mother who was a keen gardener. The park is renowned for its Tulip gardens which display from late August to Mid September.

Although the Tulip Festival is coming to a close, there is some kids workshops in the school holidays in the park. You can find more details at their website

Araluen Tulips

The garden maintenance debate

Landscape gardener

What sort of garden would you prefer?

Would you prefer a garden that is full of plant life and diversity that requires hours on end of pruning, clearing and weeding to keep it in a maintained condition? Or a garden devoid of plant life, which requires little to no maintenance but as a result is hard and sterile?

We find the answer for most of our clients’ lies somewhere in between. Most of our clients’ lead busy and sometimes stressful lives, and often request gardens than are easy to maintain but also require some acts of ‘gardening’ which can provide a multitude of benefits.

Often a small amount of nurturing can both bring stress relief, enrichment and satisfaction. Children can also benefit from being involved with the garden and it is a great way for them to connect with nature.

Just a simple act of planting a plant, watering it every day and watching it grow can provide a huge benefit to developing a child’s connecting with nature and empowering a sensibility to nurture and be curious about the natural world.

Holding flower

We thought we would share with you are few of our landscaping design tips which helps to reduce the maintenance load for our clients.

1) Narrow versus deep plantings beds

For obvious reasons the size of a garden bed will impact on the amount of garden to maintain but good species selection can minimize this. Generally it is helpful to provide a depth of garden at around 1m so you can layer planting to create depth and contract in foliage. Sometimes this is not appropriate such as in a small walled courtyard space, a narrow garden bed of around 300mm at the base of the wall can create a green transition which can go a long way in breaking up hard surfaces. One thing to consider in this case is the depth and size of the footing of the wall because often it will encroach into a lot of the adjacent garden and not provide any soil space for plants to grow. Again, correct species selection can assist in these situations.

2) Using pots and planters

Keeping the garden beds small and raised can make looking after them a lot easier and manageable. Another form of this is a vertical garden system were the planting tubs are smaller and stacked, they are great for tighter spaces.

3) Planting trees

Trees are often fairly low maintenance but care must be taken to ensure that they are appropriate to the space. Tree section is critical in a typical residential landscape. Evergreen trees can be more beneficial as the usually don’t drop many leaves but often this may not be desirable if they are on the north side of a house as they can block winter light into the home which can make a big difference for providing passive warmth in the colder months. Fully deciduous tree obviously shed a lot of leaves but there are many varieties which are only partially deciduous so sometimes a balance can be found.

4) Limit the number of plant species by using mass planting to your advantage

Limiting the number of plant species will help make your garden look more maintained.  Find shrubs or groundcovers you love and plant them in mass, repeat each mass group planting a few times so the landscape looks cohesive.  This creates a simple planting palette that looks serene and requires minimal upkeep.

5) Select the right plant for the right location

Planting a shrub that grows to 3m when you only want it to fill a 1m space is an example of the wrong plant in the wrong location and increases the amount of time you will spend pruning it to keep it the size you want.

6) Plant groundcovers and apply mulch

This mix will help reduce watering, suppress weed growth and reduce maintenance whilst requiring less watering.

7) Hire someone to do it for you! 

Phase3 Landscape Construction offers a full service residential landscaping and service to clients in the Perth area. If you are interested in using our services, please feel free to contact us now. 

How to design beautiful 'garden rooms'

Residential landscaping

It's all about the space

Creating and manipulating space is a key part of successful landscape design, particularly with ever diminishing plot sizes and the need to create exterior spaces that can provide for all requirements of modern living, whether that be entertaining, family play or a quite place to relax and get away from it all.

Here are our 10 top tips for creating good beautiful garden rooms.

Get to know the site

Residential landscapers need to get a thorough understanding of a site (and how it works with regards to orientation, solar access, proximity to neighbours, privacy and noise) before they start on a project. 

Understand the needs of the user but also provide flexibility for change

The best landscapes are those that are adaptable and provide opportunity for multiple forms of use.

Balance the architectural and the organic

It is good to design spaces that form a balance between static architectural control and comfort with the wild and ever changing dynamic of the landscape.  

Add partitions to Create Separate Garden rooms

By adding partitions or vertical elements that divide space, you can create separate garden rooms. 

Although this effectively divides a larger space into smaller, it creates a feeling of a larger complete space by hiding and revealing these spaces when someone travels through the garden.

Often the dividing wall can have a degree of permeability whether it is through the material selection or with the inclusion of an opening to provide glimpses to spaces beyond which creates a feeling of 'wanting to discover what is around the corner'.

Provide a change in level

A level change can help to clearly define space in a landscape and enhance a sense of moving from one space to another.

Create spatial dimension that is appropriate for the intended use

Designing space in the landscape is no different to designing space within a home.  A room's function is greatly influenced by the distance between the walls that contain it. It is much the same for external 'garden rooms'. For example, a quiet space for sitting and reading a book will always feel more enticing when it's in a cozy, smaller space, at a 'human' scale and tucked away.

Select Similar materials to that of the Surrounding architecture 

Having materials that are common with the building creates a sense that the garden is a continuation of that architectural language and can continue a sense of moving through rooms.    

Vistas and views, seclusion and intimacy

Understanding foreground, middle ground and background in a landscape can help create openness and enclosure. A well placed ornament or feature that draws the eye to the back of a garden can exemplify the feeling of space and openness. In contrast, a lush vertical garden wall in a small space can create a feeling of enclosure.

Borrowed landscape is often overlooked in small gardens 

Utilizing neighbouring views, trees etc can add to your own garden ambience or greenery without having to plant your own and take up valuable space in a small garden. 

USE Large, dramatic foliage in small gardens

This helps to create a lush feeling within a small space, whilst also changing the scale of small area, helping it to feel larger.

It can also help to blur the garden boundary between one property and the next, making your space seem larger than it actually is.  Choose foliage and textural plants that are attractive year round, and do not require constant feeling and deadheading like most seasonal flowers do.  This will help ensure your garden doesn’t have an unattractive ‘dead spot’ during certain times of the year.

If you are thinking of re-designing your garden, please feel free to contact Phase3. 


P: +61 8 9337 6985
A: Unit 4, 11 Milson Place, O'Connor, Perth, WA, 6163

High spec plunge pool with clear window

Our latest Phase3 residential project was recently featured in The West's 'New Homes' lift-out. Thanks to reporter Maureen Eppen for her words below. 

'Working in an area of less than 40sqm, Phase3 Landscape Construction used a mix of recycled and new materials to create a striking plunge pool and outdoor living space in North Fremantle. Senior Designer Matt Gee said the brief was to improve functionality for the poorly configured backyard by introducing a plunge pool, pergola and outdoor seating area, combining elegant design and high-spec elements and rustic finishes. 

The focal point is the 2m x 2.2m, 1.2m-deep plunge pool and spa,  which is tiled in travertine and incorporates a clear front panel of 70mm perspex. An off-form floating staircase provides access to the pool, framed by custom steel and timber screens.

"Space for the pool was always going to be inherently tight, and a pool window was a key feature to visually enhance the pool and volume of water", Mr Gee said. 

Their client said it had been important that the landscaping work and pool complemented the mix of materials used for their original 1890's home, a two storey extension and a retained limestone barn structure.' 

If you are interested in starting a project with Phase3, please visit our "START YOUR PROJECT" page. 


Happy client, happy team.

We love clients who come back to us for residential landscaping projects! This client has engaged PHASE3 on 3 separate occasions now. This is they have said about us:

"Our first project was a big one. Matt Huxtable and Erika Borjklund handled the design whilst Andrew Rydings supervised the construction along with him team, Mick and Mitchell. They finished the job within the time frame and one that looked outstanding on completion. 

Our second project was at our Mandurah residence, under Ryan Healy using Simon Leahy to extend our existing outdoor area and making it an awesome space. The PHASE3 boys, Dan & Phil, did a great job on the garden design, making our backyard a very usable space.  

The last project, designed by Ryan Healy, where the brief was to turn our Applecross front yard into a maintenance free area, is just that, easy maintenance,  perfect!

I would not hesitate to recommend PHASE3 to anyone for all project sizes.

Many thanks,

Linda Christie. 

The 5 best swimming pool shapes

The L-shaped Pool 

The L-shaped pool (and its many variations) is probably the most popular type of purpose built concrete swimming pool, as it offers the best of two worlds. It’s long enough to incorporate a lap pool but has the added width to accommodate a shallow area for the kids or a relaxation corner that overlooks the pool and garden.

 Your choice of edge treatments can further add to the variety of looks achievable with an L-shaped pool, as these two images depict. A flat concrete edge fits seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, while a defined edge lends itself to incorporating water features or feature walls. The beauty of choosing an L-shaped pool is that you can choose the configuration that best suits your space.  

Geometric Shaped Pool

Geometric shaped concrete swimming pools come in a variety of styles and can be designed to match the tone of your home. Whether your style is minimalist, contemporary, natural or freeform, there’s a geometric shaped pool to suit. Geometric pools can be designed to be built 1200mm above ground, which provides an opportunity to use the pool edge as a safety barrier, avoiding the need for a separate pool fence.

a) Classic Geometric

Modern in shape, the classic geometric pool fits with all styles of home, and transition easily with changes of pool surroundings. Minimalist, contemporary, natural and freeform styles can all be expressed around this pool shape.

 B) Wide Lap Pool

As the name suggests, a wide lap pool is ideal for exercise and fitness. A recreation area can be incorporated by including steps along the short edge, or a wide step along one side, as shown in this image. 


c) Plunge Pool

The plunge pool has had a huge rise in popularity in recent years. A modern twist on the geometric shape, the plunge pool tends to be smaller, deeper, and less high maintenance than a traditional concrete swimming pool. Because of its smaller size, choosing a plunge pool over a larger pool often allows a bit of extra budget to go towards finishes. Glass façades or pool ‘windows’, travertine or granite mosaic tiling, spa jets and water features are all popular additions to plunge pools.  

Freeform Shape Pool

Figure 8 and freeform concrete swimming pools combine organic shapes with retro modern styling. Evocative of a tropical oasis, the curved lines of a figure 8 pool allow for vegetation to be brought right up to the edges, creating a lush, natural environment. For families with younger children, the figure 8 shape is the shape that most clearly distinguishes the shallow end from the deep end. 

As you can see, there are a vast range of styles that can be achieved with a custom designed concrete swimming pool. Whatever your requirements, our designers can help you create a beautiful and functional pool that works best for your space.




Celebrating the Swimming Pool - An Australian icon at the Venice Biennale

swimmimg pool

The humble swimming pool takes its place at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. 

We were thrilled to see that The Pool, an exhibition that explores the history of the swimming pool and its role in Australian society, has been chosen to represent Australia in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Especially inspiring was this quote, from the creators of the entry. 

‘Our landscape is made of both pools of necessity and pools of excess. Pools are an element of sport and survival, leisure and lifeblood, social spaces and places of quiet contemplation.’ 

Inspired by this celebration of an iconic part of the Australian lifestyle, we thought we’d share with you some of Phase 3’s design guidelines on how to create a swimming pool of perfect proportions.

Know your space

While north or east positioning ensures maximum sunlight, the size and shape of your space also plays a big part in designing a swimming pool that works for you. Bigger isn’t always better – it’s important to have a pool that complements your space, not dominates it. Take plunge pools – their size, versatility and ability to suit a variety of budgets has seen them become a popular alternative to traditional swimming pools. And as an added bonus, they can make you feel like you’re on a tropical holiday in a luxury villa! A custom concrete pool is another great option that allows you the flexibility to create something specifically tailored to the space you have. 

Set the Scene 

Your outdoor living space is so much more than just a swimming pool – it’s an extension of your home and a reflection of your personal style. A well designed outdoor space creates a seamless flow from your house to your pool, using materials and textures that generate harmony between inside and out. Traditional styles of pool fencing have taken a back seat to more modern, visually appealing options, which can transform your space while still adhering to Australian safety standards. Bamboo, plants and other natural elements can be used to perfectly frame your pool and create a beautiful and natural setting.   

Make it Your Own 

What does your swimming pool mean to you? Is it your retreat – somewhere to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day? Is it a place to entertain friends while you cook them a beautiful meal in your outdoor kitchen? Or a space to play and connect with family? Whatever it means to you, there are countless ways to customise your swimming pool and surrounds to reflect what’s important to you. From water features, lighting, and wireless outdoor entertainment to seating, shade and shelter – even outdoor showers. A well designed outdoor space is the perfect way to experience beauty and wonder, right in your own back yard.

Image Credit: Aperture House, Cox Rayner – Photographer Christopher Frederick Jones

A 3 step Process -Turning your vision into reality!


Following on from our earlier post, What to bring to your first design consultation, we’ve compiled a guide to what you can expect during the design and construction phase of your project. 

1. Concept design

The concept design part of the process starts with a hand-drafted spatial sketch that illustrates the intention of the design. From there we move on to a drafted schematic concept, which is presented in plan format. This shows everything from levels, materials and finishes, and special features like swimming pools, to vegetation locations, planting palette and lighting design. 

Ensuring that you understand exactly how your space will look is of paramount importance to us. We use 3D Computer Spatial Modelling to help you visualise the concept, as well as to illustrate how light and shade will affect your garden. 

The next step in the concept design phase is giving you a scheduled construction budget estimate for the works. This includes all of the costs involved, such as engineering consultants, council submission fees, documentation etc. 

2. Detailed design

In this second part of the process, we will go into the finer details of how your garden, swimming pool, outdoor room, or landscape feature will be constructed. This includes aspects like final selection of materials and vegetation. 

We then submit our drawings to your local council for approval and make sure all engineering requirements managed by Phase3 are completed and signed off on. We’ll then finalise the cost of construction and provide you with a construction contract.

3. Construction

And now for the exciting bit - the construction! This third phase is where we get our hands dirty, as we set to work building your dream landscape.  

We work to the highest industry standards, and uphold the utmost levels in health and safety to ensure your satisfaction, and the quality and longevity of the final product.  

All that’s left for you to do is sit back and watch your new outdoor space come to life!

What to bring to your first design consultation

Residential. landscaping.Phase3

An insiders guide to what to expect when starting a project. 

So you’ve made the big decision to create, renovate or construct an outdoor area, garden, or swimming pool. Great! So what’s the next step? 

Well, next steps can be pretty daunting. Things like engineering and building code compliance requirements alone can knock your initial enthusiasm levels down a few pegs. But throw in a whole stack of other elements – boundary restrictions, pool fence compliance, access for excavation and construction, town planning policy and neighbouring property protection works – and things can turn from exciting to exhausting pretty quickly. 

Engaging a professional landscape designer/builder can save time, money, and your precious sanity. Not only do they bring with them a wealth of knowledge about all of the above requirements, they also provide efficiency and an assurance of quality. Phase3 employs both landscape architects and landscape designers, so our clients benefit from the expertise and skills of both. 

In this blog, we walk you through the design process and offer you our best tips on what to bring along to your first design consultation.

1. Your site information

Relevant information about your site – plans, accessibility, heritage conditions (if applicable), and existing vegetation – helps the designer visualise the opportunities and constraints that will shape the concept. The more information you bring, the clearer the designer’s vision can be, but don’t panic if you forget to mention the heritage listed fig tree in the back yard! A full site inspection is undertaken after your first meeting to ensure the designer has absorbed the full scope of the project before they begin.

2. Your vision

Don’t worry – we’re not expecting a thousand word essay, just a few key ideas or images that inspire you. Design is a process – it takes time and effort to evolve, so a flexible approach and an openness to new ideas is also a plus. Your designer will work with you to create a concept that best fits your vision and budget. A useful source for inspiration is houzz, where you can create a mood board from a variety of finished projects.

3. Your budget

A good designer can work within your budget, but this is where flexibility and teamwork will really work to your advantage. Your designer is a trusted confidant, someone who can answer all your questions and come up with solutions if your budget doesn’t allow for the full scope of your grand plan.  

After your first consultation, you’ll receive a quote for the preparation of a concept plan. This includes a detailed summary of your first meeting, to ensure all aspects of your design brief have been covered. And now the real fun can begin!  

Read our next blog, A 3 Step process - Turning your vision into reality, for more information on what comes next!

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)


One of the company’s  founding directors, Matt Huxtable, was recently recognised as a fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). This was made in recognition of his distinguished service to the Institute and the profession in Australia.

Matt was involved on the committee of the WA branch of AILA for 8 years including the roll of state president for 4 years.

Josh's House - Ground Breaking Sustainability Project


We are proud to be associated with 'Josh's House'; an exciting new sustainability project in Perth. After 20 years demonstrating sustainable design, environmental scientist & well known ABC TV Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne has undertaken his most ambitious project to date – the building of two affordable 10 star energy efficient family homes.

Josh Byrne says, “We set out to demonstrate that it is possible to build a sustainable home at a similar cost and time frame as regular houses by using readily available materials and technologies.”

The Josh’s House design will result in a staggering 90% reduction of a typical home’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and it will use only one third of the scheme water. It will also lead to savings of around $3,500 per year in energy, water and grocery bills. Read more here: | Download the media release


Subject: Josh's House Sustainable House Day Public Opening

Dear Industry Partners, Networks, Friends and Suppliers,

This is just a quick note from Josh and myself to personally thank you for your efforts at Sunday’s Josh’s House public opening. It was a resounding success with 3000 people touring Josh’s House and an estimated 4000 at the event. I hope that all of you gained as much out of the day as the community has.

Initial feedback from all involved has been outstanding. Once the dust has settled we will be talking to the local community to further gauge their response. In the meantime, if you have any feedback or suggestions they are most welcome.

Given the open day’s success we are now looking at the schedule of events over the next 12 months and how best to combine these with other community engagement and communications tools to most effectively deliver the Josh’s House message whilst considering the local residents.

I have attached the Open Day Post Event Media Release and photographs for the event.

Kind regards


DARCY HODGKINSON Communications & Media Manager

East Fremantle Landscape Project - Scoop Publishing Feature


This unique landscape captures the essence of creating a space for play and fun, providing an exciting, interactive, child-friendly adventure playground. The owners were after an adventurous, sensory garden with a large turfed area between the house and the swimming pool area. They also requested the large existing trees remain, and screening to the rear, east and south sides of the house. The biggest challenge was connecting the large existing decked area of the pavilion with the remaining backyard, which is considerably lower.

The existing pool shell lies at the lowest point of the site, which meant connectivity between the pavilion and the pool was vital, with a couple of landings that lead to the garden shed, an outdoor shower and turfed area.

If you have a project that you would like to chat to us about, please contact us today.

LIAWA Awards 2011


Landscape Industries Association of WA Award Phase3 as 2011's Best Residential Contractor Among our project portfolio is this residential project which started off with a wide range of diverse requirements by the client. However, the skilled teams of both these companies did not hesitate to take on this project while including all the desired features and finishes in the end result.

We built around all the design particulars with close attention to detail. This Australian residence includes a concrete swimming pool and an outdoor landscape with stunning elements that enhance the aesthetic appeal along with space utility.

Phase3 won the Residential Contractor $120,000 and over Award at the LIAWA Awards 2011.

View our awards

If you have a project that you would like to chat to us about, please contact us today.