Bee-Friendly Spaces

We just hit ‘send’ on a wonderful project – a bee friendly space. It’s not our first, and thankfully with the growing awareness of the threat posed by bee extinction, it certainly won’t be our last. Designing bee-friendly spaces are the type of projects that we absolutely love here at Orterra because it’s a chance to collaborate with incredible people such as apiarists as we work towards thriving bee populations across Australia. Bees are essential – full stop! Bees are critically important, no doubt about it. We know that from a biodiversity and ecological perspective that bees play a vital […]

Bringing all 7 Senses to life through Design

What are the 7 senses? Outdoor spaces are those where all of the senses are heightened. How could they not be? There could be beautifully scented blooms, the sound of wind moving through trees, the cool of a shaded garden, the taste of a herb or a vine-ripened cherry tomato as well as the feel of grass underfoot. There’s the five senses in one paragraph! However, it’s a misconception that we only have five senses. Just like the seven deadly sins and their corresponding heavenly virtues, we have seven senses to take advantage of in our landscape design. All seven […]

Easement 101 I have one. Now what?

Easements are one of those features that are often misunderstood. They sometimes cause undue stress about their potential impact on a landscape design, of what can and can’t be included. Here at Orterra, it’s not usual for a client to say in the design brief process themes along the line of ‘we’d love a row of trees on that back boundary but there’s an easement,’ or ‘that easement along the side means we can’t xyz’.  There’s that undeniable sigh of relief when we tell them that their ideas for their space may not actually be limited by the presence of […]

Plants Amazing Impact On The Urban Heat Island Effect

The urban heat island effect is a result of densely populated cities and urban spaces where there are many people, transport, buildings and infrastructure in the same space – without planting producing shade and landscape to counter this effect. With climate change high on people’s agenda, communities around the world are now asking how we can improve the design of our cities so we can reduce the impacts on our climate. If we don’t change our urban areas, it is estimated that the heat island affect will mean our communities are up to 4 degrees Celsius hotter by the end […]

What Is So Important About Soil and Why Should I Care?

This is a question I get asked to explain by most clients. Whether you are an architect, homeowner, town planner, engineer. It can be confusing, and I am not going to lie probably somewhat boring for people who have no interest in soil science and plants. Now I can imagine a lot of you are about to hit the close button on this blog but just hold with me. I want to tell you the one secret that will help you understand why landscape architects, horticulturalist and other plant lovers jump up and down about soil so much. Drum Roll….. […]

Landscape Impacts Of The New Streetscape Design Manual

The new Street Design Manual: Walkable Neighbourhoods – developed by the Queensland IPEAW in collaboration with the Queensland Government – provides a guide to plan and deliver Queensland neighbourhoods with an emphasis on sense of place and community. As part of a growing international movement that aims to make neighbourhoods more walkable – and climatically sustainable – the guide provides a valuable resource in supporting active and healthy communities for the future. However, as a neighbourhood or residential developer, you may be considering how the Amendment Regulation will impact your developments into the future. Here we outline the impacts from […]

How to Choose the Right Plant for Your Garden

It’s the weekend and you’re looking to put some new plants in at your place. You visit the local nursery, pick some plants you like the look of, take them home and plant them. Only to find a few weeks later that they aren’t growing – or worse – they’re dead. As much as we need to like the look of the plants we buy, it’s just as important – if not more – to look at the growing conditions and your lifestyle, first. Because there are downfalls to picking looks over substance that can easily be avoided with some […]

3 Ways to Help Biodiversity in our Cities and Towns

Every year between 200 – 2000 species of plants and animals go extinct. There are several factors which lead to a species extinction however one that cannot be disputed is the affect humans have on our environment. Every living organism on this planet has a part to play in the ecosystem and health the environment. The faster we lose species the worse of our environment is. So, what does biodiversity have to do with this? Why is it important? The more plants and animals you have living in an environment the healthier that environment is. Biodiversity is the number of […]

3 Reasons Teachers Don’t Teach Outdoors

There is a saying amongst outdoor educators that there is no bad weather to teach in. Living in Queensland our climate is such that teachers should be able to teach outdoors most of the year-round. So, what is stopping them? After working with schools and kindergartens for many years. My discussions with teachers have led me to find three main arguments which come up time and time again. These are the main reasons teachers are not using teaching outdoors. 1) “We have nowhere to do it”. Now I would say that all schools have places teachers can take students. However, […]

Why Is Nature Play Important?

Children Walking through Woods

Through the combination of natural environments and unstructured play, a child’s development can be enhanced. How? Unstructured play affects the way in which a child’s brain develops. What is unstructured play? While there is no dictionary definition it is commonly defined as “an unsupervised activity which children partake without adult interference”. The play is run, directed, and changed by the children playing without adult interference. It can take a simple form or something much more complex which can last for days. Unstructured play can have so many positive outcomes for our children. There is an increase in the development of […]