Three Things to Think about when Building Around Trees

Mature trees have so many benefits we have talked about before including shade, habitat, and character to name a few. When you are building or renovating it is important to keep as many trees as possible. Today we are going to talk about three things you need to be aware of when building around trees. 1. Damaging the Trees Roots A tree’s roots are where they get all of the water and nutrients from. They have a network of roots that can extend way beyond the canopy of a tree and not only provide food but support for the healthy […]

It’s all in the Name

We are often asked where the name Orterra came from. It’s definitely not a real word. This blog post delves a little deeper into the story is of where our practice name comes from. Ever since I was young, I have always liked the sciences. Biology was my thing growing up and I loved animals. It was only later in life when I started at university that I fell in love with ecology, earth systems, and plants. When I discovered landscape architecture, I realised I get to immerse myself in ecology, earth systems, plants, and animals every day. So, when […]

How Did I Become a Landscape Architect?

It all started a few years ago now when I was studying science at university with the intention to be a vet. I had desperately wanted to work as a vet since my grade 10 work experience. I was hooked when I saw my first operation on a baby lama the day I arrived. However, years later while working towards this goal at university it changed. I was in the middle of an animal anatomy subject standing there cutting up a calf fetus. I realised this is not what I want to do anymore. So, as you do in life […]

What Is Different About Soil In An Urban Environment?


When we talk about soil in an urban environment they are referred to as urban soil. Or soil that is “ extensively influenced by human activities, found mostly but not only in urban areas.” Source So basically, it is soil that has been disturbed by humans. Which when you think about it are a lot of the soils which we see and walk on day today. Most of us live in an urban environment whether it be a town or city. There is probably very little of the world left that has been untouched by humans in some way. So […]

6 Ways to Keep Dogs out of the Garden

Dogs, you have to love them, they are “man’s best friend” destroyer of shoes giver of unconditional love, and garden hole digger. As much as we love them, some dogs have traits that we don’t love. So here are a few quick ways to keep your dogs out of the garden beds you really like. Make a special spot for them Even though it might seem like your dog is difficult to train. With constant positive reinforcement, it is possible. If your dog is digging holes all over your garden. Have a look around and see if there is a […]

How to Start a Loose Parts Play Area At Your School?

Do you want to bring in loose parts play to your school but are unsure about how to do it? What do you need? Where do you go to get items for children to play with? What about the mess? Do they need more supervision? Today, we are going to break this down into a few steps you can take and ways to get everyone on board. For loose parts play to be successful in a school, all staff need to understand what it is and how it works. Some teachers know a lot about loose parts play, others may […]

Why is loose parts play important?

child playing loose parts play

Loose parts play is becoming a popular term when talking about children and play. The benefits of loose parts play to children’s development include imagination, creativity, physical health, fine and gross motor skills, behaviour, cooperation, communication, teamwork, and concentration. But what is loose parts play? Loose parts play is the self-guided play of a child using materials to express creativity through play. These variable materials are transformed and manipulated by children so they can experiment and create through play. So, it is children playing with a variety of materials how they want and using them how they want. The key […]

5 Ways to Avoid Problems When Planting a Tree


Trees are underrated and an amazing part of our ecosystem. But many people don’t like them. They have had issues of damaging roots, falling leaves, branches, flowers, and berries. They attract animals, they are messy. This blog post is going to go through ways to avoid problems when planting trees. Because trees also provide homes, shade, cooling, habitats, food, character, beauty and can improve our health. So how do we get more of the benefits of trees and less of the pain? If you have read my blog posts before you would have heard me, say right plant right place. […]

What Do You Need To Know To Choose Between Turf And Artificial Grass?

Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass

Grass or turf you either love it or hate it. Turf seems to inflict a strong response for some people. Weather is because they hate mowing or love the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer. The traditional lawn has all probably created lasting memories for each of us, good or bad. When it comes to your place and deciding how much grass you want there is now another option to the several varieties of lawn, artificial grass. Below is a summary of what the benefits of each are and why would you choose one over the other? Turf […]

What is Green Infrastructure?

Green Infrastructure it’s becoming quite a popular catchphrase and I have often been asked what does it actually mean? The term green infrastructure started being used sometime in the 1990s. It is not clear when or where it has started to be used. But has become more popular over the last 20 years to try and describe a way to achieve better environmental outcomes. The interesting thing is that there is no definitive definition of green infrastructure. Different sectors have used the term to refer to different outlooks. Sometimes it is used to refer to the tree canopy of an […]