Sam Cox


Sam Cox

Sam Cox

Sam Cox Landscape has designed natural style gardens in Victoria for 17 years. He learned his craft under renowned landscape designer, the late Gordon Ford, and continues the philosophies and practices of noted landscape pioneers like Edna Walling and Ellis Stones, creating the timeless appeal of gardens in the Australian naturalistic school.

Sam’s hands-on approach integrates both design and construction. Designs are based on carefully honed construction techniques learned from Ford. Rock placement, earth shaping, and the use of layered and group plantings are essential techniques for creating these naturalistic landscapes. Sam blurs the garden edges creating seamless transitions with the wider environment.

Sam believes his naturalistic approach can be adapted for standard house blocks and small courtyards by distilling a few essential elements. Mass and void is a principle he applies to all design, regardless of scale. Its application creates balance and contrast between the mass—boulder outcrops, mounds and native or indigenous plantings, with voids—pathways, grassed areas, ponds, pools and paved areas.

The small and experienced construction team, headed by Sam, has worked alongside some of Australia’s most noted architects on residential and public projects. His gardens are regularly opened and have featured on the ABC’s Gardening Australia program. Sam is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Melbourne and elsewhere.



PresentationNaturalism in Australian Landscape Design: hands on and soft edges.

As a practitioner of Australian landscape naturalism Sam Cox is profoundly influenced by pioneers Walling, Stones and Ford. He draws on their legacy and twenty years of experience in discussing the philosophy and process that underpin his style. Various outstanding examples are provided including the beautifully integrated Munro Court subdivision at Castlemaine, Victoria, and his own lovely property at Wattle Glen.

Sam’s hands-on approach integrates design and construction in all his landscape projects. The designs are based on carefully honed techniques learned from his time with Ford and depend on their skilled application rather than drawn plans.

Nuanced rock placement, subtle earth shaping and layered group plantings are essential elements of understated naturalism in landscape design. Using various examples of his work, Sam will demonstrate how naturalism can be adapted to the public sector, standard house blocks and small courtyards by distilling particular elements of nature essential to the Australian landscape.



ABC Gardening Australia – The Natural Garden

ABC Gardening Australia – Naturalism

ArchitectureAU – 2016 Houses Awards: Outdoor

Homes to Love – A Bushland Retreat