Keirs New Offices Cairns

I loved working on this landscaping project for a new office complex in Cairns for one of my regular clients – Keir QLD .  As this was to be the new headquarters for their business, I was more adventurous with the landscaping design than on a traditional commercial scheme. The colours and textures of the plants were carefully coordinated with the colour-scheme and finishes of the building. The final effect of the planting design gives a lush, layered and textured garden.  I had to select plants which would be easy to maintain but always look effective.  Although the gardens are quite narrow the landscaping still gives the effect of a dense tropical border around the building.  Even the traffic island in front of the building has been replanted with baby Gardenias and Ficus ‘Green Island’. This softens the effect of being so close to the road intersection with a reasonably narrow footpath.

The building plans were drawn by Max Slade Designs.  The combination of working with clients and a design team who you know well often produces great results and I used this as an opportunity to design the landscape plans in 3D using Sketchup and then converting to AutoCAD Until recently  I’ve used a combination of the CAD drawings and hand-drawn sketches but the 3D images make life so much simpler. In this way we were all more easily able to coordinate colours and finishes. The result has been  that the building and landscape elements such as the massive cut-out aluminium blades and dramatic tropical screen plants work perfectly together.

The planting palette for the landscaping is composed of a blend of soft tropical plants with stronger featured shapes of Century Plants (Agave attenuata) and the wonderful Lipstick or Sealing Wax Palms (Cyrtostachys renda). Variegated silver Yuccas are tucked in between the enormous metal screens and will grow to give a terrific contrast with the salmon leaves of the Caricature plants (Pseuderanthemum varieties). Tiny purple Ground Orchids provide a surprising highlight amongst the soft leaves of the Evergreen Giant (Liriope gigantea).

Opportunities to design good quality commercial landscaped gardens are usually limited by budget and consideration of future maintenance so it’s always exciting to be allowed to produce a commercial garden project where the owners and developers just leave me to it.

The landscape contractor (Rob Clarkson from Jade Creations) was wonderful to work with and kept me totally involved in the construction process.  I’m very pleased with the end result of this landscaping project.