The design principles and guidelines of
Granite Belt Arboretum Australia are
outlined in this document. They
encompass environmental, social and
economic sensitivities with the prime
focus of creating an iconic place for
serenity within our region.
1 August 2015
Design Principles &
Brett Tunstall and Sonia Ghiggioli
1 August 2015
Design Principles and Guidelines of Granite Belt Arboretum Australia
This document was prepared by Brett Tunstall, Senior Forester of World of Trees and
Sonia Ghiggioli, Founder of Vine Time and reviewed by Dr Daniel Stock, Principal
Scientist of Enviro Stock Consultants.
“The mission of the Granite Belt Arboretum Australia is to promote the quality of life
through collaborative and sustainable solutions to the growing demands on the
resources.” As a serene
“The mission of the Granite Belt Arboretum Australia is to
place of beauty in a
promote the quality of life through collaborative and
sustainable solutions to the growing demands on the
environment and it’s resources.”
landscape, the arboretum
will provide a microcosm of
learning opportunities, in a
place of quiet contemplation and will strive to become a place for health and
rejuvenation with regional, state and perhaps national significance.
The Arboretum will be an integral part of the Granite Belt, linked both
physically and symbolically to the surrounding community. Its design shall
feature open and porous edges with visual flow into the surrounding
landscape, creating a welcoming environment and facilitating accessibility
from surrounding communities.
The architecture and landscape design of the Arboretum shall respond to
the cultural traditions and natural forces distinct to the Granite Belt
region, it’s people, climate, and resources. Design elements shall recognise
the Arboretum as a unique entity within the region, while responding to
regional design. The Granite Belt has a European feel and has a
multicultural country town character and plant species, layout and
landscaping will be selected to embrace this.
The design planning of the Arboretum will follow local council’s Southern
Downs Regional Council Planning Scheme, and State and National
The Arboretum will be contemporary and innovative through a
harmonious composition of disparate elements along the human/nature
continuum, from the most clearly human-controlled zone to the most
natural demonstrations of ecosystems. Throughout, the Arboretum will
serve as a metaphor for environmentally compatible use of the natural
landscape by humans. The design expression of the human/nature
continuum shall be varied in accordance with the four separate zones of
the ‘new old growth’ redwood forest, the koala forest, the food forest and
the oak forest, providing distinction to each zone. The koala fodder forest
will showcase three native eucalyptus trees, and become a conservation
area for rare Granite Belt native wildflowers.
Designs for the Arboretum shall emphasise five interpretive themes:
1) Richness of biological and ecological diversity in native and
2) Stewardship and conservation of soil, water, and biological
3) Demonstration of environmentally responsible landscape
4) Restoration of degraded landscapes; and
5) Sustainable land management principles.
All development within the Arboretum, including all research and teaching
activities, shall be grounded in exemplary practices of stewardship,
preservation, and where appropriate, conservation.
All elements of the Arboretum, including all research projects and
facilities, shall be designed to enhance and contribute to the mission of the
I. Preservation, Conservation and Stewardship
A. Design, construction, and maintenance of Arboretum facilities shall comply
with best management practices for stormwater management and water
quality in order to achieve the following objectives:
Protection and enhancement of groundwater recharge capacity;
Preservation of natural drainageways;
Management of stormwater as a site resource through innovations in
onsite irrigation, maintenance activities, and groundwater recharge.
A. Projects, infrastructure, gardens, and plant collections should include
educational materials that explain both the interdisciplinary design process
and the completed project for students (targeted at multiple levels including
primary) and the public.
B. Whenever possible, designers shall strive to involve students and the general
public in the design process of each new project in the Arboretum. The
Arboretum will provide a newsletter to subscribers with details of these
III. Design of Primary Landscape Spaces
A. Selection of plant materials (e.g., ornamental vs. native) and arrangement of
plant materials (e.g., geometric vs. naturalistic) shall be appropriate for the
landscape character of that part of the Arboretum. Species known to be
invasive shall not be planted.
B. Designers shall establish garden compartments, with strong compositional
design within each landscape space as well as visual continuity between
contiguous landscape spaces.
IV. Site Design of Primary Building Elements
A. Architecture and landscape design in the Arboretum will respect the context of
the area. This includes the aesthetics, scale, and quality of the surrounding
area, as well as the agricultural history and activities of the region. Food forest
plants will be selected from cultivars currently growing in orchards on the
B. Landscape elements and buildings, including structures such as parking areas,
entry walkways, porches, and terraces, shall be organised and designed to
spatially define, order, and sequence these elements and structures with
respect to one another.
C. Building and landscape elements shall be designed and constructed with a
view to their relationship with future elements.
V. Architectural Form and Character; Relationship of Interior and Exterior Spaces
A. The design of architectural and landscape elements shall respect regional and
cultural traditions while symbolising the vision and innovative nature of the
B. Architectural design shall emphasize the relationship between interior and
exterior spaces and maximise the use of natural light.
C. The exterior scale, composition, color, and materials of buildings shall
complement and enhance the surrounding landscape of the Arboretum.
D. Designers shall use transitional spaces such as porticos, pergolas, and
sunrooms to create inviting connections between interior and exterior spaces.
E. Educational, research, and social venues shall accommodate audiences of
various sizes simultaneously and without visual or audible competition
between venues and audiences.
VI. Materials and Building Systems
A. Materials and building systems shall be durable (to minimize life-cycle costs)
and adaptable (to accommodate future change and growth). Whenever
possible, these materials will be authentic, reflecting their substance and
structure in their appearance, rather than simulating another substance.
B. Materials in Arboretum structures shall adhere to Council regulations and
standards for construction quality and craftsmanship.
A. The principal circulation system in the Arboretum shall be pedestrian and
bicycle trails to maintain the integrity of the site and the visitor’s experience of
an “oasis of green and peace in a rapidly urbanising landscape.”
B. In general, the circulation system of the Arboretum shall fit existing
continuous, curvilinear alignments that evoke a sense of harmony with the
natural setting. The only exceptions should be the fire breaks with straightline sections.
C. The design of the circulation system shall preserve the natural woodlands,
natural landforms, native flora, and native fauna of the Arboretum.
D. Maintenance, service, delivery, and emergency vehicles shall be sensitively
accommodated in the planning and design of the circulation system,
preferably by adapting pedestrian and bicycle paths for their use, whenever
VIII. Signage, Lighting, and Outdoor Furnishings
A. To ensure visual unity and institutional clarity, signage, lighting, and outdoor
furnishings (such as benches, garbage receptacles, and bicycle racks) for any
area of the Arboretum shall relate stylistically to Arboretum standards.
Lighting should be designed to minimise light pollution of the night sky.
Southern Downs Regional Council Planning Scheme
Brett Tunstall, Senior Forester
Southern Downs Community Plan 2030
World of Trees
+61 459 987 337
Sonia Ghiggioli, Consultant
+61 411 145 508
Dr Daniel Stock, Environmental
+61 404 087 488