Nathan Burkett Design wins Gold Medal at Melbourne International Garden & Flower Show

Melbourne-based landscape architect, Nathan Burkett has won the Show Garden Gold Medal at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, blowing the judges away with his architectural aesthetic and unique living centerpieces.


The garden, titled ‘Equilibrium’ has revealed some key new trends in landscaping for 2015 and signals a return to soft, useable spaces where greenery is used in place of traditional ‘hard’ landscaping elements to create structure and symmetry in nature.

Nathan Burkett’s in-house construction team was also recognised with the Markbench Construction Award, also announced at today’s MIFGS breakfast ceremony.


Some of the garden’s key features include a cantilevered arbor which wraps around the perimeter to create an architectural ‘frame’ in which the rest of the garden sits.


The garden uses dramatic 3m high Ficus Hillii hedging to frame the garden’s outer borders and create a sense of intimacy in a formal garden setting.


In the centre of the garden a custom-designed fire pit, designed and built by Nathan Burkett himself, is framed by two perennial garden beds which inject colour and fun to break up the formality of the surrounding features.

The seating area is paved with intricate stone work which continues along the garden’s base, interspersed with soft lawn areas and a pond which is subtly tiled with Italian glass.

At the garden’s centerpiece lies two ‘living pergolas’, mature deciduous Plane Trees which have been grown specifically by Warner’s Nurseries. These living pergolas have had their foliage coaxed horizontally along a trellised wire, to mimic an organic roof structure.

The living pergolas, which stand approximately 3m tall and have been grown over a five year period, represent a return to nature as an architectural centerpiece, using organic material to create the built form, which Burkett says is a key recurring theme in his design.


“ We have used an abundance of greenery and plantings in the garden to create structure and symmetry, which in turn allows us to deliver an architectural aesthetic in a soft, welcoming setting.


“The garden is soft with movement and organic elements, while still recreating my signature aesthetic of symmetry and clean, crisp lines.” Nathan Burkett

Images | Courtesy of Nathan Burkett Design


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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at