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10 landscape designs that promote mental health and wellbeing

The 2021 NSW Landscape Awards winners selection is a treasure trove of outstanding landscape design projects. Here are 10 in particular that do wonders for wellbeing.

10 landscape designs that promote mental health and wellbeing

Holistic philosophies are taking the world by storm right now, having been snowballing in momentum and gravitas steadily throughout the western world over recent years. And the exemplary landscape design projects  2021 NSW Landscape Awards winners selection are a testament to this macro-scale shift in thinking.

Innovative, flexible design and record entries defined the latest edition of the NSW landscape awards program, with the 2021 event also firmly bringing the spotlight on green outdoor space in the pandemic year. The winners’ list revealed some of the most outstanding projects in NSW across 16 categories including Urban Design, Infrastructure, Play Spaces, Health and Education Landscape and Community Contribution.

Here are 10 projects from the selection, in particular, that won us over with their positive contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of their communities.


Westmead Hospital Redevelopment, Tract Consultants

2021 AILA NSW Award of Excellence | Health and Education Landscape

“An exemplar project that has been thoughtfully conceived and integrated with the architecture and urban fabric to present an inspiring and immersive health precinct landscape setting.

The craft of landscape architecture is evidenced in the spatial planning, integration of public art, bespoke furniture and rich plantings. This acknowledges that public spaces are both tactile and visual places and integrates public circulation and internal courtyards. Integral to the design is a resilient environmental overlay and a consideration of user comfort.”


Susan Wakil Health Precinct, Arcadia Landscape Architecture 

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award | Health and Education Landscape

“The Susan Wakil Health Precinct challenges the site constraints to create a welcoming response that balances scale, function and connections to the broader precinct.

Integration of public art, water and a mix of materials reinforce the narrative of the cycle of healing, reflecting the Gadigal people’s approach to healing through the engagement of all the human senses. Arcadia successfully reimagined the landscape character in a contemporary setting.”


Dillwynia Correctional Centre Expansion, NBRS Architecture 

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Achitecture Award | Health and Education 

“Dillwynia Correctional Centre Expansion demonstrates the value of outdoor spaces in therapy and rehabilitation. It integrates green outdoor spaces into everyday experiences through quality design. Requirements for security are expertly integrated into familiar and friendly spaces that also providing for social or solitary experiences.

This is a well-appointed campus, with opportunities for recreation in a place that will, over time, become a comfortable and well-loved space.”



Max Ruddock Reserve Playground, City of Parramatta

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award | Small Projects 

“Max Ruddock Reserve Playground demonstrates how a small project with a modest budget can still deliver big. It overcame conventional budget, maintenance and life cycle constraints to create a place for engaging and robust local play.

The project further pushes the boundaries of typical local play offerings by including social and nature play spaces and the use of non-proprietary play items, local endemic species, durable recycled materials and placement within the existing shade canopy of mature trees.”


Summerland Farm Park, Plummer & Smith

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award | Play Spaces

“The play space at Summerland Farm fits seamlessly into the broader landscape context of the Park and its regional setting. The play space uses exquisite materials and detailing, and focuses on non-prescriptive imagination-based play, leaving visitors with a very special experience.

Play elements are woven around canopy trees, adding to the mystique and beauty of the play experience while providing shade and a connection to nature.”


Putney Hill Development, Environmental Partnership

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award | Urban Design

“Putney Hill Development exemplifies how the thorough integration of landscape throughout a development can provide lasting positive impacts on the environment, the city, neighbourhood and residents. It is also an example of how feedback during the approval period for a development can produce positive changes that endear the development to the surrounding community.

The design includes a diversity of beautiful landscape settings that integrate into all aspects of residents’ life.”


St Leonards Park Master Plan and Upgrade, Gallagher Studio with North Sydney Council

2021 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award | Parks and Open Space

“St Leonards Park achieves a thoughtful, restrained response to this layered site, creating a place for celebration and remembrance. It carefully address conflicts, balances competing demands and protects the park’s unique features.

Community feedback highlighted critical details about the site and its use, ensure the design responds appropriately within the master plan. Set in a heritage context, the outcome is a refined and legible contemporary park.”


The Phoenix Gallery, 360 Degrees Landscape Architects

2021 AILA NSW Award of Excellence | Gardens

“The privately commissioned Phoenix Gallery provides an interwoven building and landscape dedicated to art, performance, nature and culture. This incredible piece of work demonstrated confidence of design that successfully fused elements of façade and courtyard to mutually deliver a dynamic art space and an intimate respite for one or few.

The work displays a maturity by combining drama through form, texture and lighting choices, while restraint of the material/species palette engenders a calm and tranquil elegance. A beautiful example of where landscape and architecture are seamlessly interlaced, where it is impossible to identify where one ends and the other begins.”



The Nan Tien Institute – Education & Cultural Centre, 360 Degrees Landscape Architects

2021 AILA NSW Regional Achievement Award | Southern NSW

“The Nan Tien Institute Education & Cultural Centre demonstrates landscape architectural thinking and creative design through the cultural lens and heritage of a building and its purposes. Unique and innovative design features include the path of approach containing 108 joints, symbolising the 108 volumes of the collected teachings of Buddha.

These elements in conjunction with the natural green environment around provide a positive educational, cultural and learning experience and an example designing in tune with a site’s cultural and historical significance.”

View the complete 2021 NSW Landscape Awards winners gallery here

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