What we do

We identify the principles at play in a project and tease them out to arrive at a design where substance informs the style. This allows the creation of a garden that is unique for our client’s needs and for their site.

Our gardens provide a multi-sensory experience, connecting people with nature via liveable and functional spaces, designed for our clients’ lives and the way they aspire to interact with their outdoor environment.

Inspired by natural materials, such as ethically sourced stone and timber, we design customised features and structures: steps, decking, paving, pools, pergolas, walls and sheds. Also we work with local artists to create unique sculptural pieces.

We make apt plant selections to create plantscapes rich in texture and rhythm to suit the soil and water capacity of the site.

How we do it

The design process for your project may include all or some of the following steps, depending on scope and complexity.


We spend time with you at your property to formulate a brief that encapsulates your needs and wants, and assess the constraints and opportunities of the site.

Concept Design

We respond to the information from the design brief consultation and the site to create a vision for the project. We provide drawings and other imagery to help you to see what is possible.

Detailed Documentation

The highly detailed working plans are the crucial link that enable the ideas of the concept stage to be turned into a living, breathing landscape. This stage may include plans for irrigation, lighting, planting and 3D imagery as required.


We will obtain quotations from two or three companies and write a tender report based on their submissions. We then proceed with your chosen contractor.

Design Implementation

Once hardscaping has been completed, the Mechanism team will implement the soft landscaping. We will make sure the soil quality has been improved and then lovingly and skilfully plant hand-selected plants that we have sourced from excellent local nurseries.

Garden Maintenance

We also love to assist you with your ongoing maintenance schedule. Whether you’d like a schedule to follow yourself or need more hands-on assistance, we’d love to discuss an option that’s right for you.

Who we are

Mechanism Landscape Design came about after Emma and Matthew completed the Graduate Certificate in Garden Design at University of Melbourne, Burnley Campus. They are a complementary team, bringing together Emma’s architecture and design training and Matthew’s lifelong experience of observing the design potential of plants.

Emma Dry

Emma trained as an architect at the University of Western Australia, which included a semester of study in Sri Lanka focusing on the work of Geoffrey Bawa. As a child, Emma’s fascination with her grandfather’s garden in Perth sparked an ongoing love for nature and gardening. Her move toward landscape design has been a natural progression. Her focus as an architect has never ‘stopped at the door’; she has always been interested in the whole site and the connection between the building and the landscape. Additional studies in permaculture, garden design, and horticulture have strengthened this connection. Her ongoing explorations into the possibilities of geometry and vernacular architecture are central to her designs.

Matthew Henry

After studying with Andrew Laidlaw at Burnley campus, University of Melbourne, Matthew was inspired to abandon his twenty year career as a teacher and follow his lifelong obsession with horticulture and garden design. His private garden in South Gippsland has been open as part of the Australian Open Garden Scheme. He is secretary of Luscombe Street Community Garden. Matthew looks at how plants are elemental in a design: how they can convey the personal story of the client; how they provide amenity and bring about aesthetic cohesion in conjunction with architectural features and hardscaping.