Designing the perfect garden for your home and lifestyle

When building your dream home, creating the perfect garden and landscaping to suit your family and lifestyle is an equally exciting and important project 

Lendlease State Design and Planning Manager, Sue Dewar, is passionate about sustainability and helping residents to create liveable, functional and aesthetic gardens. We spoke with Sue to discover her top tips for designing a sustainable garden in Kinma Valley, with the help of the community’s handy Landscaping Guidelines. 

What advice do you have for future Kinma Valley residents when it comes to designing their landscaping?

Landscaping and garden design is important for a number of reasons! It can improve your home’s amenity, thermal performance, and value, while reducing your environmental footprint and importantly, enhance your lifestyle. 

When you start to plan your garden, there are some principles you need to consider early in the design process. This will ensure the end result is compatible with your needs and tastes and is both functional and beautiful 

Sue’s top landscaping and garden design tips:

Decide your preferred maintenance level

Start with identifying what level of maintenance you are prepared to commit to, as this will determine your design and what and where you plant and what other materials you may incorporate.

Consider how your home will be used by your family, including the front, side and rear parts of your garden

Don’t forget to consider the location of service areas like the letterbox, rubbish bin, air conditioning unit, clothesline and electrical meter. They should be easily accessible whilst screened from view.

The front garden is the first thing people see, so it's an opportunity to set the scene and showcase your home. While a well-considered front garden lifts property values, it can also lift the spirits of the garden's owners and local residents alike, becoming part of the fabric of the neighbourhood The front garden usually includes the entry path driveway, letter box and planting to frame your home, considering both the internal and external views from and to your home If front fencing is required consider how it can be supported by planting which will soften its impact. You may also consider well maintained verge planting which will support the community's sustainability aims and improve your homes kerb appeal, subject to Councils guidelines. The side gardens usually include pathway accesses to the rear yard, bin storage, access to the metre box and clothes drying area, but you may consider other uses depending on the space you have available.

The rear garden is an extension of the home and provide an outdoor living and eating zone with barbeque, a vegetable or flower garden, a garden or hobby shed, a pool, a trampoline, lawn to raceabout, shade and screening shrubs and trees or space for a worm farm or compost bin.

Start your design early

Once you have considered the purpose of each part of your garden you can start designing it, by mapping out these uses and the space each of them is likely to take.  

Remember your garden should be compatible with your home. You ideally want to make your garden an extension of your indoor living areas, so you can make use of both your home and garden to enhance your lifestyle. 

What are some key features of quality landscaping?

Some of the key features of landscaping are orientation, soil and drainage, theming, and mulch. 


When designing your garden, you need to be aware of the home and block’s orientation. Consider what parts of the garden are in full / part sun and or shade and what parts would benefit from additional shade to cool the home and direct breezes. The amount of sunlight will influence how you use the spaces and what plants will perform best. 

Soil and drainage

Firstly, ensure that all areas of the garden adequately drain to avoid pooling of water, which can create problems for your own house as well as your neighbours.

Good organic soil for garden beds and good drainage is vital to a successful garden. It is much better to spend money on importing and or improving your soil and ensuring you have good drainage, than on advanced plants. If you get this right, you can plant smaller plant stock that will flourish in no time.

Selecting a garden theme

A garden theme can unify your landscape and help guide your plant and material selections. Themes can be as simple as using consistent shapes or forms throughout your garden, or more curated such as a formal, habitat, contemporary, informal native, cottage, tropical, sustainable, bee, butterfly and bird attracting, or an oriental themed gardenWhen deciding on a theme you may consider the architecture of your home, complementing the lines and style in your garden. 

Themes can help guide how you place and select plants and hardscape elements. The Kinma Valley Design Guidelines includes sample layouts and plant species to help guide you.

Don't restrict the landscape design just to plants, include hardscape features such as pavement, walls and fences, a birdbath, the letterbox, garden edging, a swimming pool or deck.

Plants that will thrive in your garden are the same ones growing successfully in your neighbourhood. So, walk around the area and note the plants you like that are thriving and you will likely have similar success.

Long lived trees and larger shrubs or hedges can provide structure and drama to your garden ensuring it looks good all year round. Successful garden beds are more often layered or staggered (generally larger plants are used behind smaller plants) and include individual and/ or massed planting of species. Make sure you provide your plants with enough room to reach their mature size.


Garden beds covered with mulch help to retain the moisture in the soil. This means that you don’t need to water as much to have a healthy garden. 

How can residents ensure gardens are both visually appealing and easy to maintain year-round? 

It’s all about plant selection, location around the home and choice of soil. The Kinma Valley Landscaping Guidelines offers this guidance to homeowners. All gardens do require maintenance, but if you get this right from the beginning, it can be greatly reduced and make life much easier!

How does a landscaping guideline help home owners at Kinma Valley? 

The Kinma Valley owners’ Landscaping Design Guidelines are a helpful starting place for those new to the region, or new to landscape gardening. We've teamed up with a professional landscape architect to create these guidelines, which have been created specifically for residential gardens.  

They may help our residents in complying with the Kinma Valley Home Design Guidelines which includes some landscape requirements, including a simple landscape plan of your front garden.

Whether you’re confident and knowledgeable in this area, or a total rookie with no previous gardening or landscaping experience, they will teach you what you need to know, simplify the process and help you make the most out of your home garden design journey. 

What is the vision for the community landscaping throughout Kinma Valley? Set within an existing bushland, the design of the Kinma Valley will help to foster an urban lifestyle where residents can be connected, active, and leisure orientated, and where families can grow and thrive.   

The landscape vision is for deep green living in a community reimagined, where life unfolds amongst the trees.  It will be a place that embodies both natural ecosystems and community spaces, where houses back onto a rich landscape.

Every household can contribute to the green sanctuary that Kinma Valley will be, and these guidelines will help them bring the vision to life in their own front and backyards!

Click here to view the Kinma Valley Landscaping Design Guidelines.