LATITUDE | Naturalistic Planting in Urban Cities

LATITUDE | Naturalistic Planting in Urban Cities

 This masterclass will focus on naturalistic planting approaches being developed and used in Australia; focussing on using Australian plants. John and Claire will discuss several case studies including the Woody Meadow Project and explore some opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for this style of urban planting in Australia.

Focus of the Session

 This session will focus on ‘naturalistic plantings’ and how these can be used in public landscapes in Australian cities. We will draw on case studies using grasses, forbs and woody plant materials to discuss how:  


  • To design plantings (plant arrangement, configuration, selection) which take inspiration and guidance from natural plant communities

  • Diversity, high planting density and plant layering can create naturalistic plantings with a wilder aesthetic and a more varied and longer visual display than traditional plantings.

  • Naturalistic plantings can be designed for challenging site conditions such as poor drainage, compaction, minimal irrigation and low maintenance.

We will also discuss how the design of the Woody Meadow has been adapted for different sites and landscape contexts across Australian cities, including Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.


Objectives of the workshop 

 Gain an understanding of how naturalistic plantings with Australian plants can be used to improve the amenity and function of public landscapes.



Online presentation including case study analysis, followed by group discussion



Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how planting design (plant arrangement, configuration, selection) can be used to create dynamic and naturalistic plantings with Australian plants and how these design decisions impact on maintenance and other inputs.

  • How species selection and site preparation can overcome issues with challenging site conditions

  • Understand how to design and specify Woody Meadows



This workshop is one that would be relevant and highly beneficial for all Practices. Places will book up fast so make sure to register your spot now! 




Associate Professor John Rayner

John is Director of Urban Horticulture at the Burnley Campus, The University of Melbourne.  John’s teaching and research interests centre on the design and use of plants, particularly in green infrastructure, public landscapes and in therapeutic horticulture. He is a passionate educator, has published widely and consults regularly on major landscape projects. John is also a keen gardener and in his spare time gains great joy from nurturing and torturing plants on his one-hectare garden in the Dandenong Ranges.

Dr Claire Farrell

Claire is a Senior Lecturer in Green Infrastructure at the Burnley Campus, The University of Melbourne. Claire’s research involves using plants to make cities more liveable through urban greening. As a plant scientist, her focus is on plant selection for survival and high performance landscapes, including green roofs, facades, rain gardens and woody meadows. As a CI on many industry-focused urban greening research projects, Claire has worked with a diverse range of state and local government organisations, landscape architects and other partners involved in urban greening policy and implementation. Claire leads the ARC linkage Woody Meadow Project which is transforming low maintenance plantings in Australian cities.






AILA Member


Non-member    $300


Wednesday, 27 July 2022
10:00 am to 12:00 pm
$200- $300

6 Formal CPD Points