SA’s most influential Landscape Architects

It’s great to see SA’s landscape designers sharing their favourite projects and trends for 2022, in today’s The Advertiser.

Featuring WAX director Amanda Balmer, she discusses why she loves her work, the importance of creating legacy landscapes and nurturing our natural environment, and showcases her favourite residential garden design in Maylands.


What drew you to landscape design/architecture?

I believe in creating landscapes that bring joy to people and generate opportunities to connect people with nature. In establishing a landscape architectural firm, I felt I could facilitate a greater level of positive change as a steward of my own decision making.

Working with natural living elements constantly reminds me that I am not in control but rather the facilitator of an outcome, as landscapes can take years to develop and to provide an enduring legacy for others to experience.

What do you most love about your work?

The opportunity to challenge the norm and do things differently, so that we might champion the important things like social benefit, the environment, creating equitable and inclusive spaces that celebrate the beauty of our natural environment.

I find the greatest satisfaction when I see the joy of others using the spaces we have created. A great example is the Port Lincoln Special School. We have just completed a new playspace for the students, and the smiles on their faces as they bounce up and down for the first time on an outdoor trampoline in their wheelchair is priceless.

What is your favourite residential project and why?

My favourite residential project is one in Maylands, because it reflects the historic vernacular of the sandstone building façade to the front garden and gestures to the nature of the new contemporary Troppo extension to the rear.

The garden successfully accommodates the current  lifestyle of all members of the family, and I look forward to it evolving into their future needs as the dynamics of the home change over time.

The feature Acacia tree adjacent to the new timber deck was retained, which when flowering in autumn provides a riot of yellow in contrast to the layers of green in the surrounding garden. The beautiful stone clad water trough of the elevated pool is softened by floating papyrus and a row of white crepe myrtles under planted with silvery liquorice plant, leads to the lawn area which is large enough for the children to play.

Landscape predictions for 2022 – what trends are emerging in landscape design?

I always feel challenged by this question. The majority of landscapes we design take 30 to 40 years or more to mature, so I try not to focus on what is ‘trending now’, rather I try and apply focus to embedding enduring design principals to facilitate legacies that will perform in the long term.

Why is landscape design and urban greening so critical in today’s society?

I could spend way more than my allocated 200 words answering this question!

As we all know, our planet is under stress and our natural resources need to be nurtured, protected and championed if we are to make progress in slowing and adapting to climate change. Landscape architecture and urban greening are no longer ‘nice to have’ they are essential pieces of infrastructure to reduce heat island effect, improve air quality, preserve nature, provide biodiversity and habitat value, reduce pressure on stormwater infrastructure and clean the air.

There are also numerous positive influences on people’s state of mind. More green spaces correlates with better mental health and green open space provides greater opportunities for recreation, relaxation and socialisation.


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