Spare Thoughts Landscape Design

Why work with us?

Areas of Focus

We are a small team based in South East Melbourne with backgrounds in international development, biology, ecology and landscape design. Much of our expertise stems from building community gardens with a focus on safe spaces, food security and skill building for disadvantaged groups. Our work on private residential development has taught us to effectively navigate town planning and to clearly communicate with your architect or builder. Our main focus is getting our community to grow their resilience in the face of an increasingly volatile global system by creating biodiverse landscapes and enabling education on sustainability.

The gardens we design and build express practicality, beauty and sustainability, and we adjust our horizons to suit the space and unique vision each client has to offer. We particularly like creating food forests, aquaponic systems and space for poultry where possible. We are happy to provide guidance and education regarding native plants and planting, weed ID and sustainable deterrents, pest and beneficial insect management, DIY construction and related things.For commercial clients we add value to development proposals through considered and cost effective landscape planning, and we can further assist with 3D landscape renders for off the plan marketing and navigating local town planning regulations as required.

We like to work with clients to explore their dreams, constraints and ideas. We combine that with site specific information such as soil, sunlight, and local ecology to generate some sketches for review. We draw from fields like permaculture, SMART technologies, community development and urban agroecology to inform our designs and advice. Through collaboration and iteration, we strive to bring our client’s vision to life in a practical and affordable manner, providing each client with the individual attention and care to detail they deserve. We actively partner with other local businesses and community groups committed to supporting healthier, more sustainable lifestyles in order to create a network that can provide a wide range of services without any extra hassle.

Based in Glen Waverley, our service extends across the cities of Monash, Casey, Kingston, Whitehorse, Boroondara and Knox. We work for all sorts of clients in all sorts of spaces. Whether you have a huge backyard or a tiny balcony, we’ve got innovative ways for you to grow your own food. We really enjoy working on commercial properties, public spaces and community gardens, because so many people get to enjoy the final product. We’re also well-suited to classrooms and playgrounds because we like to consider how our designs can assist education and ignite the imagination.

Nothing exists in isolation. Our lives are dependent on the environment around us without which there would be no food, clean water or breathable air – everything is connected. Growing food locally, protecting the pollinators and saving water are some of the most meaningful things an individual can do in an urban setting for themselves and their community. As households begin to grow their own food, harvest rainwater, and reduce reliance on commercial fertilisers and pesticides – as they begin to swap heirloom seeds, native cuttings and share skills amongst one another, a fabric of grassroots resilience is slowly being knit. As people all around the world become increasingly aware of the danger posed by climate change, habitat loss and the shortfalls of our industrial food systems – as they become frustrated by the lack of positive action from the top – regular people have begun to take action and lead by example. The movement toward sustainable lifestyles is gaining momentum and we want to ensure it remains accessible to all.

Ayush is a landscape designer that completed a Master in International Development and Environmental Analysis from Monash, founding the firm after series of overseas postings. Over the years, he has developed practical experience in the fields of horticulture, town planning and construction.

He likes using his free time experimenting with new ideas and technologies in his garden and contemplating what a post climate change society could look like. With a strong belief in decentralisation, DIY movements and maker spaces and passion for nurturing our environment – designing productive edible spaces for local communities has become central to his work.

Josh is a self-taught horticulturalist currently studying plant biology and ecology at Deakin University. With a background tertiary education in history, philosophy and literature, he spends most of his free time in the garden looking after his extensive plant collection and pondering the interconnectedness of all things.

He loves teaching kids and communities about the value of growing food locally and the importance of maintaining a biodiverse ecosystem based around native plants. He cares deeply about sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change, and will never stop working to maintain a healthy human habitat.


Ian holds degrees in journalism, international studies and international development.  Having worked on agroforestry projects in Mozambique and Fiji and a family background in farming he has developed a plethora of valuable skills that he can leverage for the local community.

In Melbourne, he has been the Director of  RESEED field studies, a coordinator at Men’s Sheds in the South East and has worked as a commercial landscaper in the North. He continues to be a believer in thoughtful actions to improve global social justice and practical movements to deliver real impact to agricultural communities locally and globally.

Areas of Focus


Our resilience is our ability to withstand crises and adapt to new circumstances. Human beings rely on a complex ecosystem to survive. Plants, animals, fungi and all sorts of microorganisms play a part in maintaining our habitat, and without them we would not exist. It is the sheer complexity of the system that makes it so resilient and able to adapt, but every system has its limits. Flowering plants need pollinating insects, seasonal rainfall, soil nutrients, sunlight, and animals like us to eat their fruits and spread their seeds. We need them too. They provide us with nearly all of our food – including meat – as well as most of the raw materials we us to make medicines, building materials, fuel, clothing, and lots of other things. A liveable environment for humanity requires healthy trees, bees, peas and countless other living things. Our resilience is inseparable from that of the environment around us. As the devastation of climate change dawns, Spare Thoughts Landscape Design is working together with community groups, councils, individuals and private businesses both local and global to maintain the system that supports our lives and grow our resilience.


A significant threat to the resilience of us and our ecosystem is the loss of biodiversity happening all over the world. As we raze forests and pollute oceans, we lose millions of valuable plant and animal species that play pivotal roles in the balance that keeps our air breathable, our water drinkable, and our food growing. The lives of all species on our planet are intertwined and though the loss of a few species here and there doesn’t affect the whole greatly, the loss of incalculable numbers will have effects beyond our power to predict. The biosphere on Earth is of such complexity that it can and has withstood calamitous land clearing so far, but the loss of biodiversity around the globe – often referred to as an extinction crisis – is only accelerating and unless we do something now it will be too late. Victoria is no exception, but we’re not too far gone. If we foster biodiversity literally in our own backyards by planting indigenous trees and shrubs, grow our own food locally, and give the birds and bugs a safe home, we can gradually restore the resilience of our ecosystem. This is the motivation and driving force behind our work at Spare Thoughts Landscape Design.

Community Development

No one can do everything by themselves. When people work together, more things become possible. Now more than ever, collaboration between like-minded groups and individuals is crucial in order to fashion a future for ourselves on this planet. Hoping for change from the top can be frustrating and often futile, but change can come from the bottom too. Spare Thoughts Landscape Design is committed to providing people with the skills and knowledge to lead by example. We actively partner with neighbourhood houses, community groups, councils and local NFPs to build and sustain community gardens, develop policy, and assist with food relief and urban agriculture. Our community development initiatives are focussed on spreading knowledge about growing food at home and understanding our local ecology. Growing our resilience requires lots of different people from all walks of life working toward a common goal. When people get involved in something bigger than themselves they feel more like they make a difference. When people involve themselves in the community, they feel more like they belong.

Native & Indigineous Plants

The importance of planting and protecting native plants cannot be understated. They have evolved together with native animals over millions of years to survive and flourish in the place we now call home. The resilience of our ecosystem is reliant on these plants to provide habitats, food sources, and fresh water for all sorts of animals, including us. They thrive with only the rain for hydration, needing not the water we waste on many imported species, and have adapted in a vast array of interesting ways to make the most of a soil substrate sapped of nutrients in which many non-natives struggle to succeed. Some of our favourites include the Chocolate Lily – with beautiful purple flowers that smell like chocolate and an edible tuber, the Mountain Pepper – whose leaves and berries are not only spicy, edible and delicious but come with an impressive list of health benefits, the Strawberry Gum – a eucalyptus with berry-flavoured leaves that can be used for tea or cooking, and the Nodding Greenhood – a peculiar terrestrial orchid whose edible tuber was once a staple food for the local aborigines.