Canberra Arboretum


Canberra, ACT, Australia


Shaping our Territory Implementation Group, ACT Government

Design Team

Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture

Paul Berkemeier Architect

Paul Berkemeier Architect


ShortlistedĀ – Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens Design Ideas CompetitionĀ 2004

The concept for the arboretum and gardens is based on natural orders that lay out the site, managing water and the environment. The design respects the shape of the hills that frame the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, and overlays them with a functional order that organises the plant collections and as well as recreation areas and associated functions, and a circulation system which threads between them.

The systems are dynamic and responsive to change, both in the physical and the cultural environments.

The landscape strategy is based on the concept of ā€œscales of permanenceā€ where climate, landform and water systems are the most durable elements of the landscape: used to structure the placement of planting, circulation, architecture and soils. The systems of water, planting and circulation are the basis of the planting pattern, which will appear as ribbons of colour and texture clothing the landscape, growing and changing with the seasons.

The design proposes five key zones: Economic, Cultural and Indigenous planting contours, as well as Environmental and Horticultural Gardens. The plant collections will be international, based around these themes.