Garden write-ups, book reviews and more

Michael Bates on Timeless Design – Habitus Living

Timeless design which delivers enduring visual value is something we all strive for in our homes and gardens.  Recently, Michael was interviewed on behalf of King Living by Habitus Living, a online design publication owned by InDesign Media.  The following is an extract of this article, which focuses on achieving timeless design in the garden.  […]

Bates X King Furniture Collaboration

“If you’re creating a beautiful garden, it will transform over time,” he says. “Yes, it needs maintenance, but it’s going to get better and better and better every year.” Michael recently took us inside the garden of one of his clients. Once a family home, it is now the meeting point for three generations of the family. […]

A 1950s home receives a Mediterranean-style makeover – Homes to Love

The garden was reworked by landscape designer Michael Bates, including new timber decking around the existing swimming pool. “We had to clear parts of the garden, while other areas had to be built up to the house to make them more accessible,” says Polly, who is especially pleased with the design of the new courtyard […]

Garden Trends 2022 – Home Beautiful

It is in these warmer spring months that we start to get a sense of the year wrapping up. The weather is increasingly hot, the sun is out more, the air smells of florals, the days are longer and – in the world of homes and design – next year’s trends start popping up left, […]

After the Fires in the Blue Mountains – AFR

After witnessing the large-scale destruction in the Blue Mountains during his coverage of the bushfire crisis in late 2019 and early 2020 for The Sydney Morning Herald, photographer Wolter Peeters joined a Renaissance Tour on one of their Blue Mountains spring garden expeditions. These are his pictures. Michael’s own beautiful Blue Mountains garden at Tallawong […]

SMH: ‘Winter lockdown is a chance to give the garden a good edit.’

By Robin Powell. Winter in the garden is a bit like turning all the lights on while looking in the bathroom mirror. Suddenly you can see what’s really going on. Without the distractions of spring’s excitement, summer’s languor or the voluptuous excesses of autumn, the garden can be seen more clearly. Winter lockdown is the […]

The Design Files Garden Profile: July

Recently, The Design Files profiled a garden Michael designed and the Bates team constructed on Sydney’s beautiful North Shore.  The Design Files is a popular online design publication with enormous social following, so we are thrilled to collaborate with them. We’ve had a long involvement with this North Shore garden.  Through two owners across 15 years, […]

Better Homes and Gardens with Charlie Albone

Recently, Michael chatted with Charlie Albone on Channel 7’s long-running and ever popular Better Homes and Gardens. The chat took place in Michael’s own Sydney garden, which he walks Charlie through, discussing key features.  You can experience more of this garden in our Portfolio. Don’t miss this chat between two of Australia’s best garden designers! […]

Australia’s Most Magnificent Gardens

A stroll around three of Australia’s most magnificent gardens ELIZABETH CLARKE NOV 9, 2017 An edited extract. Three of Australia’s leading landscape designers give us a sneak peek at their different, and abundantly beautiful, botanical masterpieces. They may differ in style, but inside each of these gardens is a sanctuary full of creativity, fragrance and careful composition. Their talented makers take […]

Award Winning Landscape Design

The Houses Awards is the pinnacle of residential design, which celebrates Australia’s best every year, including award winning landscape design.  This year, we’re proud to announce that a stunning clifftop garden we created in collaboration with renowned Landscape Architect  Jane Irwin took out the Garden or Landscape category award. To view all photos of our award winning landscape […]

ABC Dream Gardens Visits the Red Garden

A new season of Dream Gardens, the ABC garden design program, has returned to our screens and devices this week – and the first episode features a well-known Bates Landscape property. In this, the first episode of Season 2 of Dream Gardens, host Michael McCoy visits the Red Garden, the famed Vladimir Sitta garden constructed […]

The Weekly Times – Book Review

DEC 13, 2017 / THE WEEKLY TIMES NO LONGER is a garden an area of land used for growing flowers and plants. Rather, according to landscaper Michael Bate in this book, it is a “destination space”. “The Australian obsession with property has driven our business powerfully, and the expectation of the sort of garden that […]

FLOAT YOUR BOAT PODCAST – The Secret Fellowship of Gardeners

“At the heart of gardening, there’s the philosophy that you’re always trying to do one of two things – you’re either trying to make a clearing in a forest, or create an oasis in a desert…” Recently, Michael got together to chat with George and Brett from the podcast, Float Your Boat, to talk gardens, […]

Our Gardens – Book Review

By Judy Horton, Garden Club of Australia “Garden designer Michael Bates, who has created more than 1000 gardens in Australia, pays homage to the many great collaborators he has worked with in designing and building a number of the 18 cutting edge landscapes that are described and beautifully photographed in this book. These ‘landscapes for […]

Landscape Outlook – Book Review

By Louise McDaid ‘Landscaping stalwart and expert Michael Bates has written an incisive account of 18 Australian gardens of particular significance. Sub-titled ‘Landscapes for Living’, he has chosen the featured projects based on their relationship between architecture and garden – presented as a new movement in Australian landscape design. Michael contributed to the creation of […]

Queensland Reviewers Collective – The New Australian Garden

By Ian Lipke “The New Australian Garden not only delighted me but also provided ideas and valuable information. It is a book that provides the reader whose interest is design with a means of appreciating a thing of beauty. Those who enjoy gardens will find this book, a superb choice.” Read more HERE  

BELLE Magazine – Library

Review by Judy Pascoe and Janice Hogg “If you ever have the opportunity to wander through the grounds of some of the country’s landmark properties, you might well spy mass plantings or stone walls and paths created by landscaper Michael Bates, who has been crafting such artful touches for 30 years. Luckily, this book offers […]

Belle Magazine – Front Row

Edited excerpt from The New Australian Garden “Planted in a dress circle location on Sydney Harbour, this richly layered contemporary garden drapes an historic property, covering it in green glory. This heroic harbourside residence in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs has qualities that few grand homes are able to achieve. Sited on one of the most protected […]

WYZA – How I Transformed my Tallawong Garden Retreat

{EXTRACT FROM THE NEW AUSTRALIAN GARDEN} “For those seeking a more permanent tree change, gardening in the mountains is not just a therapeutic pastime, it’s a way of life.I bought the Mount Irvine property Tallawong in 2001, and, as a young landscaper with more ideas than my clients could bear, I set out on a […]

Inner West Courier – Change Up in Garden Styles

By Laura Trieste “NO LONGER just the place to keep the plants and the barbecue, our gardens are increasingly becoming destination spaces to relax, work and play in. Garden designer Michael Bates says he is constantly inspired by the creative ways homeowners are turning their backyards into an extension of their home. “In the ’70s […]

Talking Lifestyle Radio – Gardener of The Week

Michael chats to Talking Lifestyle radio presenters Judy and Clinton about “The New Australian Garden” and his garden design philosophies, on their ‘Weekender’ program. Listen live here or download the podcast here

The Garden Drum – Review ‘The New Australian Garden’

By Meg Geary “Michael Bates is a landscaper and landscape designer who runs a landscape construction and design company in Sydney, Bates Landscape. He has worked with many of Australia’s top landscape architects and landscape designers on some unique and high end projects, as well as being an accomplished landscape designer in his own right. […]

The Age – The Golden Age of Garden Design

By Robin Powell “Michael Bates is a proselytiser for gardens. He deeply believes that gardens can heal the world, and he goes about it one garden at a time. He is one of the country’s leading landscapers, having made more than 1000 gardens for garden designers and landscape architects across the country. He also designs […]

Channel 10 – Studio 10 “8 Tips to Create Your Garden”

On Wednesday 6th September, Michael was a guest on Channel 10’s morning program Studio 10, where he chatted with the team about what exactly is the “new Australian garden.” To see Michael’s eight tips for creating your own perfect Australian garden, and hear what the panelists thought of the book, click below!  

HOUZZ – Tall Tales: An Astonishing Sydney Garden That was Once a Zoo

In an extract from ‘The New Australian Garden’, landscape designer Michael Bates takes us on a magical garden tour It’s called the Zoo Garden – a backyard in Sydney’s Inner West that was once a private zoo. Here, in an edited extract from his latest book The New Australian Garden, landscape designer Michael Bates takes […]

The Australian – The Long Game

By Helen Young. Michael Bates is an unabashed dreamer who fizzes with energy and ideas; a man who believes that garden-making is “a civilising, earth-changing, powerful force for good in the world”. Bates’s landscape construction company implements the ideas of notable garden designers (think Bangay, Baffsky and Baldwin) and he’s also a talented designer in […]

Mansion Magazine – The New Prospect

By Jonathan Chancellor. Australian landscape design is undergoing a renaissance, reintegrating gardens and architecture to create spaces that support and celebrate our myriad modern lifestyles. Landscaper Michael Bates says we are in the era of the new Australian garden, which has transformed the lawned backyard with humble barbecue area into so much more. In this […]

Landscape Architecture Australia – An Educated Gardener

Michael Bates, arguably the most enterprising landscape contractor in the Sydney region, reflects on his education as a gardener in this excerpt from his recent book, The New Australian Garden. “As I stand in my lounge room, with the fire lit and a nice single-malt whisky on the coffee table, I survey my library in […]

ABC Radio National – The New Australian Garden

From rainforest gardens to Mediterranean cloud gardens, Japanese courtyard gardens to ‘chainsaw’ gardens, Australian garden design has been a constantly evolving project. Designer Michael Bates has been at the forefront of landscape design for over three decades. He talks about the defining features of the new Australian garden and gives us some tips on how […]

SMH – The New Australian Garden: Lessons in the Lure of Outdoors

By Megan Backhouse “Think of all the ways you might lure people out of your house and into your garden and Michael Bates will be doing it. Layering plants, framing views, installing fire pits, introducing water, plumping up Afghan cushions. This Sydney garden maker has just written a book called The New Australian Garden and if […]

Garden Visit: Tallawong, Mount Irvine

The rich soils of Mount Irvine and Mount Wilson have long lured plant people like Michael up from the city to the hills. He’s been designing and building residential and commercial landscapes in Sydney for the last 30 years with his company Bates Landscapes, and tells me “it’s a whole new religion, gardening up here.” […]

Plant / Life

Michael’s house is nestled into a rock outcrop on the side of a hill, facing a street that instead of cars and bitumen, has grass and trees. It’s a wonderfully quiet and secluded location. The old sandstone home is completely enveloped by greenery and natural stone, and the garden meanders up, down, and around the […]

The Design Files: Greengate

“Sydney-based landscape designer Michael Bates reckons some gardens just need a nip and tuck – a tightening up and a smoothing out – rather than a complete overhaul. This heritage beauty in Sydney’s northern suburbs is one such example. ‘The most important thing with beautiful old gardens like this is to be considerate of and sensitive to the overall […]

The Outdoor Collective – Michael Bates: Landforms

Our contributor, Michael Bates from Bates Landscape has a new passion… and that passion is Landforms. In this heartwarming and evocative clip, Michael shares the results of welcomed interaction and the incredible aesthetic value of his very own Landform. He explains the inspiration behind the formation and the elements that were considered. It really just makes me smile. READ MORE HERE  

Gardening Australia – Growing the Dream

By Costa Georgiadis A landscaper makes the most of Sydney’s sandstone with his own garden Up a set of stairs leading to a house in a quintessentially Sydney street is a quintessentially Sydney bloke – an old friend of Costa’s, landscaper Michael Bates. His own garden is a labour of love. “Every morning,” says Michael, […]

Gardening Australia – Sydney Subtropical Style

By Catherine Stewart ‘Brimming with lush subtropical plants and anchored by golden sandstone, there’s something quintessentially ‘Sydney’ about the garden of landscaper Michael Bates. Although much of it clings to a precipitous hillside just north of the harbour, it’s still a great family garden, with areas for quiet relaxation, entertaining and outdoor dining, clothes drying […]

SMH – Add a Fire Bowl to Your Garden

By Robin Powell “It’s fire season in the garden. In the summer it’s too hot to sit out by a fire; in the winter it’s too cold for most of us easily-chilled Sydneysiders, but autumn and spring are just right for evenings with friends around the flames. “Suddenly, everyone wants to talk about fires,” says […]

ABC – Dream Gardens “Connells Point”

With Michael McCoy Season 1, Episode 4 – Connells Point. “Michael McCoy visited a home owner, Sander & Mark Sader, with a blank canvas backyard and with the waterfront view in Connells Point. They would like a resort style garden and a roof garden. They hired a landscape designer, Michael Bates…” CLICK BELOW TO VIEW

Ross Gardens Blog – Run to Paradise

By Linda Ross “When our friend, veteran Sydney landscaper Michael Bates, took a holiday and garden study trip to Sri Lanka, it changed his life – and his garden.  Today we catch up with Michael about his recent travels and look into how they informed his subtropical garden in leafy North Sydney…” READ MORE HERE

ABC’s Gardening Australia – Terraforming and Landscaping

WITH COSTA GEORGIADIS Mount Irvine is located in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales where landscaper Michael Bates has been experimenting in his country garden for over 15 years. The most distinctive feature of Michael’s garden is his use of terraforming or land forming. Terraforming sees elevation changes in the ground forms which gives […]