Building Insider: Talking Landscape Design with Andrew Plant

8 August 2023
  by Fortem Projects

At Fortem Projects, we understand that breath-taking homes can only be achieved by working with industry experts. That’s why we partnered with Andrew Plant Landscapes to achieve seamless indoor-outdoor flows for our Elphin, Lysterville and Brunel projects.

So, it only felt right to sit down with Andrew, director of Andrew Plant Landscapes, in this month’s Building Insider to learn more about how landscaping impacts the look and feel of a home.


First thing’s first, did you change your name when you entered the industry or were you born into the role?

I haven’t been asked this question in a while! Honestly, it just worked out that way.


What drew you to landscape design?

I always knew I wanted to work within the design world. I didn’t really know if that meant pursuing graphic design or architecture or something else entirely.

So, I began by looking for what was available. I did a little landscaping around 2010, and I really enjoyed getting to travel and working on site. In 2012, I had the chance to work with a few designers. I took the leap and started my own business two years later.


What distinguishes you from other landscape designers?

As a sole trader, I offer an incredibly personal service. Not only do I work within my clients’ schedules, but I’m the one who listens to their vision, who inspects their site, drafts their designs and organises their trades. I’m the one who smooths out any hiccups and who’s on call whenever they need.

I think having a personal, high-contact touch enriches the final result, that’s why I love what I do and how I do it. I get to know my clients well, and it helps me better understand how their space will be used for years to come, giving me a deeper sense of how their outdoor landscape should serve them.

When it comes to design, I’m very brief driven. At the end of the day, my clients’ landscapes are an extension of their home and themselves. So, for me it’s important that it mirrors their unique taste, rather than being an extension of my own signature brand or preference.

That being said, if I am given free reign I tend to gravitate towards lush greenery, with a balance of loose and textural components.


In your experience, when do you get the best results?

Achieving the best possible outcome comes down to two things: time and budget.

I always recommend bringing in your landscape designer as soon as possible. When I’m brought in during the design phase of a renovation or new build, it gives me the chance to seamlessly integrate my designs with the architectural plans. It also gives me a chance to connect with the architect and builder and understand how they’re executing my client’s vision.

Having a realistic idea of your budget is also important when it comes to achieving the best results. Generally, the later I am brought to the table, the less budget there is to work with. So coming into the project as early as possible also allows clients to consciously utilise their budget based on what is a priority for them, rather than having a reactive approach during the building phase.


Can you think of any common mistakes people make when building or renovating?

Honestly, it really does come back to time and budget. When your landscaping is an afterthought and your budget is already eaten up, it can be tough to make your vision work.

Creating a seamless flow from your front gate to your backyard comes down to perfecting the details. And it’s really important to get things right.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to connect with your landscape designer as early as possible. You won’t be locked into any contract, but you will give your vision the best possible chance of coming to life.


Is there a specific process you recommend clients follow to achieve the best garden design?

My recommendation would be to get in touch with all of your key professionals at the very beginning. Speak with your architect, builder, and landscaper, and get a sense of what will be involved. Ask them the important questions so that you go into your renovation or new build with all the information you need.

Then the design and building process will flow quite smoothly once you’re aware of what is required each step of the way.


When it comes to works on site, what advice would you give clients?

My only piece of advice is to trust your trades. They have the skills, experience, and knowledge to bring your vision to life.

The people I recommend and work with are really good at what they do. The best results always come from trusting in them and letting them lead.

The landscaping process can be quite fluid, and sometimes a little flexibility from your original plans might garner better results. So taking those recommendations or suggestions as they pop up is a really good idea.

And if you want to make your landscaper’s day, offer them a cuppa or a biscuit, they’ll love it.


Do you recommend the builder and landscaper work together?

This is a tough one because landscapers are generally the last trades on site. It’s still a good idea to get your landscaper and builder talking during the early phase of your renovation or new build, but whether or not they work side-by-side depends on each project. For example, there may be a crossover between trades when the verandah and pool decking is being built in order to get a flush transition.



If you’re ready to create a seamless indoor-outdoor transition for your new build or home renovation, our capable team is only a phone call away. Contact us today to get started.

Building Insider: Talking Landscape Design with Andrew Plant
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Guidelines for a Successful Building Project – Part I
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