Why work with us?
  • WHO     We are a small young multidisciplinary team based around South East Melbourne with backgrounds in international development, environmental analysis and landscape design. Our interests in landscape design were first sparked whilst working at a social enterprise in the form of a coconut plantation in central Mocambique. This interest grew through our involvement with a couple of community gardens in Dandenong over the past year that focus on creating safe spaces, food security and skill building for disadvantaged groups. Our experience with multi- residential development means that we can produce landscape designs that will maximise your chances of getting through town planning and that we can speak the same language as your architect or builder. As a whole, the vision for the Spare Thoughts group lies in helping communities within emerging cities become resilient to an increasingly volatile global system – what that means on earth, for you, is that we endeavour to create native, biodiverse landscapes for local residents whilst promoting the use of innovative tools, materials, techniques and ideas to the wider community.
  • WHAT     We primarily serve residents in the City of Monash, Stonnington, Glen Eira and surrounding suburbs, often new home owners and renovators looking to tackle their landscapes at the same time as their buildings. Sometimes we have folks interested in taking on particular garden projects like setting up a backyard aquaponics system, growing a small food forest, or designing a garden layout that allows your chickens to free range in the yard without destroying your veggies. We also occasionally work with young folks living in apartment buildings and units with little outdoor space who want to explore indoor kitchen gardens or vertical balcony planters. For clients who want to know more about their gardens and how to care for them, we prepare planting guides based off the 6 six seasons of Victoria, weed ID, DIY construction schematics, where to find suitable salvaged materials and local bird life amongst other handy tips and tricks. We build long term relationships with developers in which trust and reliability are key – we relish the opportunity to build ecological value on high visibility projects, whilst they like that we already understand their workflows, local town planning regulations and can even produce renders and artistic impressions for early off the plan marketing. For small (soft) projects, we will often do the installation ourselves, whilst with larger projects with put an approved quote to tender amongst a very carefully selected set of contractors. Sometimes a client may ask us to manage the project to ensure that their designs are undertaken faithfully and that timeframes are adhered to, wherein we prepare your site, organise materials, source plants and supervise contractors where necessary. At the end of a project we can help you add the final touches to your garden with by commissioning some custom art and outdoor furniture for your garden, designed exactly for your space and needs, built by local artisans and salvaged materials wherever possible.
  • HOW     We like to work with clients to find out their dreams, constraints and ideas, its often exciting stuff. We combine what we learn with information about your site such as soil, sunlight, layouts along with existing along with the existing and desired local ecology to generate some sketches for review. We draw from fields like permaculture, SMART technologies, community development and urban agroecology amongst others to inform our designs and advice. Through collaboration and iteration, we hope to bring the vision of our clients into fruition, ensuring our designs are elegant, capable of meeting multiple goals yet still practical and affordable. As our team is small and each landscape unique, we prefer to limit the number of projects we take on, so we can ensure that each of our clients can receive the attention and care to detail they deserve. We also actively partner with other local businesses and community groups committed toward supporting healthier, more sustainable lifestyles in order to create a network that can provide a seamless range of services to easily meet needs of our customers and community without any extra hassle.
  • WHY    As for why we do what we do, well sustainable lifestyles are at the top of this list. We don’t want to go into the complexity of the many challenges facing our planet and our cities right here, but we feel its quite uncontroversial to consider a better diet, light exercise, saving water and better understanding our relationship with the world as positive traits that scale up to better outcomes across communities. Nurturing our urban habitats by promoting indigenous flora well adapted for our climate and our fauna, complemented with a mix of perennial and annual edible plants which thrive here in Melbourne. As households in our community begin grow their own food, harvest rainwater, reduce reliance on fertilisers and pesticides – as they begin to swap heirloom seeds, native cuttings and garden stories, a story of grassroots resilience is slowly being knit. Around the world there are many undertaking similar journeys, each with their own nuances, all aware of the growing danger from climate change and frustrated with lack of positive action from the top – it is important now, more than ever, to make a clear statement amongst your own networks about where you stand on these issues by being part of the change.
  • If this sort of thing interests you, get in touch.

Ayush, 27, grew up in south east Melbourne, where he picked up a masters degree of international development and environmental analysis from Monash University. He has since worked in community development projects across Asia, Latin America and Africa. Since returning home, he has been working with green building professionals, and landscapers, along with local community gardens for asylum seekers and corrections groups. He is currently the Director of Spare Thoughts, and a landscape designer at Spare Thoughts Landscape Design.

Ian, 28, holds degrees in journalism, international studies and international development. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese and has worked in both Latin America and Africa. He recently returned from Mozambique after setting up a rural training project focusing on the commercialisation of palm wood and establishment of agroforestry on an old coconut plantation. He is currently the Director of RESEED field studies and a believer in thoughtful actions to improve global social justice