Information & resources about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Balinese Gardens

and other resort-style tropical gardens

Gardens inspired by the landscapes of Bali and other tropical resort destinations have become very popular in Australia in recent years. This page will mostly deal with modern interpretations of such landscapes. In particular, how to create them at home, in your own backyard.

Where swimming pools, spas, and entertaining areas are incorporated (see also the Outdoor Living page), they are perhaps better described as "resort style gardens".

International themes (Bali, Thai, Pacific Island, etc) can be developed with the choice of shade structure (e.g. thatched hut or tiled gazebo and associated decoration), sculptures, lighting and other accessories.


Balinese garden icon dies

Made Wijaya, the former Australian who essentially created the lush "Balinese" style of modern tropical garden, has passed away due to illness. His many landscape designs implemented around the world included the home of David Bowie. He also wrote extensively on Balinese life and culture and became a prominent figure in his adopted home. (for more, see Fairfax Media news report: Death in Sydney of renowned garden designer keenly felt in his adopted Bali) His company website PT. Wijaya Tribwana International has many illustrations of his projects. Tropical landscape enthusiasts should take the opportunity to have a look while it's still available. (August 2016)

Suppliers of Balinese-style plants, accessories or services to Qld

May include online suppliers. For the most up-to-date information on plants in stock, opening hours, prices etc, be sure to visit the seller's website or contact the business directly.

Note that some products may only be suitable for use under cover, while others may be strictly for outdoor use only. Be sure to check with the supplier regarding the suitability of any item for its intended purpose. For the most up-to-date information on opening hours, items in stock, prices etc, be sure to contact the business directly. The following list may include online retailers and mail order suppliers.


Lot 4, Grassdale Street,
Buccan, Qld, 4207
(visits by appointment)
Ph: (07) 5546 3902
Mob: 0414 329 807

Bali by Design can help make your tropical garden dreams come true with hand carved statues, pedestals, lanterns, pots and water features such as hand-carved limestone water walls.

A range of authentic Balinese gazebos are on display, but special designs can be ordered in styles and sizes customised to your individual needs and taste.

Pictures, homewares and jewellery are also available. Many examples of the range can be viewed online at the WEBSITE.

Bali By Design are direct importers, so please phone for an appointment, or to simply discuss your requirements.


Ph: (07) 3219 5454
Mob: 0418 746 180
Bring a touch of Bali to your garden or home with a statue or other accessory from Island Imports. Quality hand-carved artifacts in lava stone, sandstone and paris stone are a speciality.

Balinese timber lanterns and other lanterns suitable for garden lighting (12 volt), plus pots in terracotta or stone are also available.

Custom-made items or other special orders can be arranged - just contact Rene or Carolyn to discuss your requirements.

View examples of the range online at the Island Imports WEBSITE, where you'll also see pictures of "Taman Air", Rene & Carolyns' beautiful tropical garden on Brisbane's southside.


37 Hardys Rd
Mudgeeraba, Qld. 4213
Ph: (07) 555 91905
Mob: 0418 880 181
illustration Nationwide Thatch provides a range of shade structures to glamorise your outdoor entertaining areas, including African lapas (African-style round or oval thatched gazebos), Balinese pavilions and thatched umbrellas. We service the entire Gold Coast & Brisbane areas.

Do it yourself with a DIY gazebo kit or roofing products. Balinese and African style thatching or wooden shingles are available.

Installation can also be arranged for you. Balinese pavilions can be custom-made to any size for domestic or commercial applications.

Visit Nationwide Thatch's WEBSITE for ideas and inspiration, plus more information about its range of quality shade structures.


Mob: 0419 204 154

illustration Let Tropical Living help you create a tranquil tropical lifestyle at your place with beautiful garden art, decorative pots, water features and more.

Value-for-money is a high priority, from the latest hand-carved limestone designs to the budget range of molded pieces.

Special requests, wholesale orders and commercial projects also catered for. Based south of Brisbane, goods can be delivered throughout SE Qld.

Extend the tropical theme inside your home with Tropical Living's exotic homewares. Shoes, bags and jewellery, too! View the entire range at the WEBSITE


gazebo Exotic Thatch supplies a variety of quality African Cape Reed thatch products Australia-wide.

Thatched umbrellas are an easy way to add tropical flair and provide a much cooler shade than typical canvas umbrellas.

Thatched gazebos not only look good but provide shelter for your outdoor entertaining area or spa. Available in DIY kit form. Installation can also be arranged for customers in Brisbane and Sydney metropolitan areas.

Thatch tiles can be purchased separately for your own building projects.

Visit the Exotic Thatch WEBSITE, for pictures, information, and to locate your nearest sales representative.


P O Box 3383,
Robina Town Centre Qld 4230
ph: (07) 5572 7710

flags Offerings Online offer you beautiful Balinese products with all the convenience of online ordering.

Bali Flags, or Umbul Umbuls, are a speciality. New shipments are arriving constantly. A variety of colours is available including white wedding flags.

Visit the Offerings Online WEBSITE to find out more, and explore the range of imported Balinese homewares, clothing, jewellery and gifts.

Incorporating Eumundi Palms

1073 Browns Creek Road,
Eerwah Vale
via Eumundi Qld 4562
Ph: (07) 5442 8492
hut Sunshine Coast Gardener's Paradise lives up to its name with over 200,000 plants from "tubes" to "super advanced" in stock.

Select from indoor and outdoor plants including ferns, rainforest plants, cycads and sun-hardened palms. Be sure to visit the Botanical Palm Garden featuring some eighty different species of palms, including rare varieties.

For a Balinese-style garden, the centre can supply thatched huts, decorative figures, pots and water features.

For more information, visit the Sunshine Coast Gardener's Paradise WEBSITE


Use Balinese celebration flags (umbal umbals) from h..Art of Bali to add a touch of Bali to your landscape... Or, create a spectacular backdrop to your garden or beach ceremony and capture the spirituality of a Traditional Balinese wedding.

We are the beach wedding specialists with our hire range now including HUGE bamboo pergola, bamboo tee pees and more.....many options available to create a truly unique day. Have your wedding or party guests sign your celebration flag for an extra special keepsake...

Flags for sale in a range of sizes and gorgeous colours...Easily posted Australia-wide.

Clothing, shoes, art, jewellery and home wares also available. Visit the h..Art of Bali WEBSITE for more information.


Garden Ideas Service
A personalised information service for Australians (particularly Queensland residents) who need a little extra help planning their own Balinese-inspired garden or other garden themes. Emphasis on plants and low-cost ideas.

Find out more here: Garden Ideas Service

For the most up-to-date information on opening hours, items in stock, prices etc, be sure to contact the business directly. The above list may include online retailers and mail order suppliers.

Other suppliers may also offer tropical-style items within their range. Here are some other pages you may wish to check:
Individual plants via the links on the "Balinese" plants page. Check also the main Nursery Guide at this site for a garden centre near you.

If you still can't find what you need, the webmaster may be able to assist personally: Contact Info

Advertise Now! If you're a supplier of Balinese-style garden accessories in Qld, you can advertise on this page. Suitable businesses for this page include suppliers of carved figures, pots, flags, stone products, carved or thatched lanterns, thatched huts, Balinese gazebos or pavilions, thatched or shingle roofing, screening & fencing, etc appropriate for Balinese Gardens (Australian-made or imports). Products must be available for sale to the general public anywhere in in Qld including Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, North and Central Qld, as well as Brisbame. Businesses which specialise in design, installation or construction of Balinese style gardens may also wish to advertise here. Information for advertisers

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Balinese garden design - overview

The Balinese garden is in some ways like an outdoor living room (or rooms): well decorated with plants but with much more for the people who live there to use and to contemplate.

1. Outdoor living areas, including thatched pavillions and pergolas. These will not only look good but help you enjoy using you garden. Linked with enticing pathways, stairs, bridges and combined with paving and groundcovers, you may even be able to dispense with the lawn altogether.

2. Plants with tropical style - palms and cycads, clumping bamboos, lush and/or brightly colored foliage, flamboyant flowers. Modern interpretations of regional styles incorporate plants from all over the world if they have the "look".

3. Decorative ornaments: stone statues, doors, gates, wall panels, plaques, decorative containers, lanterns, temple flags, furniture, ceremonial umbrellas. One or two decorative pieces will transform a fairly ordinary collection of tropical plants into a "Balinese garden". (Or, by adding Polynesian artifacts, create a Pacific Island style)

4. Water features. Can range from a small urn to a formal pond to a spectacular rock waterfall.

5. Paths throughout the garden encourage exploration. Large paving squares separated by decorative gravel or miniature groundcovers (or used to create stepping stones across a pond) is a popular theme. Areas of ground can be covered in this way for decorative effect and occasional foot traffic.

6. Outdoor lighting will dramatically highlight garden features as well as faciliate night-time entertaining. It may be possible to have lighting installed in some decorative lanterns.

7. A wide verandah or covered patio given a Balinese makeover provides more space for indoor/outdoor living, and a transition between garden and house. Extend the theme further into the house with Balinese furniture and other decorator items.

Some of these aspects are discussed in more detail below.


sketch bali lantern
(Looking for places to buy garden lanterns? Check the suppliers section)

A popular way to add a Balinese touch to a garden is with a traditional thatched wooden lantern. The black fibre thatching looks like hair drawn up into a ponytail. These may be sold as "hairy lanterns".

Alternatively, some lanterns may have a shingle "roof". Decorative lamps carved from stone or cast in stone-effect materials in a variety of designs can also suit a resort-style garden and may be more durable than timber.

If you're intending to have lights installed in your lanterns, be sure that they are actually suitable for that purpose and, of course, observe all the usual precautions with respect to electricity.

Flags and Umbrellas

sketch bali flag
(Looking for places to buy Balinese flags or umbrellas? Check the suppliers section)

Long tapering pennants, called umbul umbuls, are held upright on tall poles. You may have seen them decorating homes and businesses. They're another way of adding a Balinese touch to a tropical garden without making major changes.

They're also becoming popular for adding a splash of colour to any outdoor scene (with or without a corporate logo). In white, they can also be used to decorate the scene of an outdoor wedding

More information about umbul umbuls here: Balinese flags

Fabric covered temple umbrellas (tedung) like those used for ceremonial purposes in Bali can also be used to decorate outdoor areas including Balinese-style wedding ceremonies.

Statues, Carvings, Decorative Pots

(Looking for places to buy Asian style garden ornaments? Check the suppliers section)

Much traditional Balinese art has a religious basis. Religious practice in Bali is primarily a form of Hinduism, but influenced by Buddhism and other, more ancient, traditions. Hence the variety of symbolism seen expressed on garden statuary and other artifacts.

Plant and animal motifs, plus more modern, stylised creations are also produced by contemporary Balinese artisans and are available from many importers.

Such artwork can be added to your garden as free standing statues, wallmounted plaques, plant pots or as part of a water feature.

Water features

(Looking for places to buy Balinese-style water features? Check the suppliers section)

Water adds an extra dimension to any garden, and the Balinese-style garden is no exception.

Even small bowls can become evocative symbols of the East with a frangipani or two floated on the surface. Larger containers can be planted up as miniature water gardens. Compliment big ponds or pools with a water spout in the form of a fish, frog or deity.

To take your garden to the next level, create a piece of mountain rainforest with naturalistic streams, pools and waterfalls with real or artificial rocks. For some, the ultimate water feature is a swimming pool with landscaped surrounds. (Large or small, ensure water features don't become hazards for children, or breeding spots for mosquitoes!)

Outdoor structures

(Looking for gazebo materials, kits or builders? Check the suppliers section)

Tropical-look outdoor structures fit for a resort are commercially available in Australia in a wide variety of styles, materials and sizes. Simple square or rectangular thatched pavillions modelled after the bale benongs or bales of Bali are very popular and enhance the garden both aesthetically and practically. Open on all sides or semi enclosed, they offer shelter from sunshine or rain while allowing air circulation and views of the garden.

Bali grass (alang alang) is a traditional straw, but brushwood or reed materials are also commercially available for a thatch roof. Besides the tropical look, one of the advantages of a thick thatching material is insulation against heat from the sun.

The shaggy style of thatching is generally the most suitable for a Balinese or Pacific theme, while the neatly trimmed tiered thatching sometimes seen on the market is more appropriate for an African style gazebo (which is usually round or oval as well). Either would add pizzazz and utility to a tropical garden, however.

A thatched umbrella is another way to add that "grass hut" look, especially if you have limited space or perhaps can't afford the price of a more substantial structure. Or, how about a garden seat or hammock with its own thatched roof?

While less tropical-looking than thatch, wooden shingles (sirap) or terracotta tiles are alternatives which are also used in Bali and Indonesia. Decorative teracotta roof ornamaments at the apex (crown motif) and corners will truly add and exotic Asian look to such a roofline.

Bales may also be found listed commercially as bali huts, gazebos or pavillions. Similar structures may be sold under a variety of other names, depending on the cultural influence. More about such structures (bures, fales, nipa huts, tiki huts, palapas, cabanas, salas) from Asia, Pacific Islands and other tropical cultures here: More on tropical structures.

Some companies offer thatch treated with fire retardants. If you want your own grass hut, ask your supplier about this and other issues such as insect and rot resistance, wind resistance and UV stability. This applies to synthetic substitutes as well as natural materials.

Many such materials are now on the market in Qld, even entire structures in DIY kit form. Or consider a custom-made structure. (check the suppliers section.) Before construction, be sure to check with local authorities to find out what permits or licences may be necessary.

Fences, Panels, Screening

(Looking for suppliers? Check the suppliers section)

Plants are one way to hide unattractive views or utilities that distract from the secluded resort-style ambience you may be trying to create. However, you may have to wait for them to grow, the coverage may not be adequate, or the spot may simply be unsuitable for planting. On the other hand, a fence constructed with bamboo, reed or similar material provides instant screening while adding to to the tropical theme, although it is likely to be more expensive. To makeover existing fences, walls or even the undersides of patio roofs with tropical flair, there are a range of screening products in panels or rolls. If you need to have a new fence constructed, take a look at options based on reed, bamboo or brushwood to compliment a tropical-look garden. (see discussion on thatching above for more about materials).


More about plants and planting here: Plants for Balinese style Gardens
Quick Tricks
Add a Balinese statue. Big enough to make a statement = instant effect.

Decorate stone figures with tropical flowers like hibiscus, frangipani or allamanda for special occasions. Place blossoms behind the ears or in their hands, as if they were alive. You can also "dress" them with cloth.

Pop a spiky accent plant into a large terracotta container or stone planter. Again, needs to be large and bold enough impact.

Quick Tricks
Create a small temporary water feature by filling a stone-effect or terracotta bowl or urn with water and floating a few frangipani on the top.

Mini Glossary
Here's a very brief (non-expert) guide to some unfamiliar words you may encounter when shopping for Balinese accessories :

air - water
alang alang - thatching grass
andong - cordyline
Bagong - a comical character of folklore
Barong - a lion-like character (fights the evil Rangda)
bale - a building
cempaka - Michelia champaca
cempaka putih - Michelia alba
Dewi Sri - goddess of rice (prosperity)
Ganesha - Hindu god with the head of an elephant
Hanuman - Hindu god with the form of a monkey
jepun - frangipani (Plumeria)
kepuh - Sterculia foetida
mimpi - dream
Rangda - evil witch or female demon character
rimba - forest
sari - essence
taman - garden or park

sketch bali gates
Create a sense of enclosure and entice the visitor to discover what lies deyond with an arch or decorative gates. Split temple gates are represented at above. An arch modelled after bale architecture below.
sketch bali gates

Quick Trick
Use bamboo, brush or reed screening to cover unattractive fences or walls, or to screen the compost bin, sheds, or utility areas.

Quick Trick
Advanced trees and shrubs in large containers are an easy and non-permanent way to add more palms or frangipani to the scene, even where planting in the ground would not be possible. Disguise pots with groundcovers and other plants. Plain black plastic blends into the shadows as well as anything. Depending on how you look after these plants, you might get several years in a pot. Unless you isolate them from the ground, however, they could take root through drainage holes, or roots of nearby trees could invade from the ground up.



More Online Information

Be sure also check out the websites in the suppliers section above, because they also have lots of great information, ideas and pictures.


Bali Garden A Melbourne garden inspired by Bali. (More photographs of Bali also at this site)

Buddhism & Gardens Resource The Religious Education and Environment Programme
The Garden at Rimbun Dahan near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A Roberto Burle Marx garden in Kuala Lumpur at the Tropical Gardening blog, Malaysia
Buddhist Temple Garden Nan Tien Temple Garden. The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Mike Newman's Pages check out the photo albums and pond pages for Bali pictures
Bali - a photoset on Flickr An album of lovely pictures by "pinhole" with some inspirational garden/outdoor shots
Bali (Indonesia) photo album by wpoerner at the Webshots website containing many views of Bali, including gardens
A Bangkok house garden photo "by GomiGirl". Check out the rest of her Flickr sets for more photos of Thailand
Spirit House in Chiang Saen, Thailand. Part of a photo album by Photo of wpoerner wpoerner at the Webshots website
Thai Houses 3 Page at ThaiWorldView discussing Thai spirit houses and other aspects of Thai homes and gardens. Many more pictures of Thailand on the rest of the site
Divinity in Bud Story at the Human Flower Project about the use of Jasmine as offerings in Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia
Bali Gardens An Auckland region garden at the Gardens to Visit website, New Zealand

Learn More about Bali, Indonesia and SE Asia:
The following links are for those wishing to pursue greater authenticiy in their landscapes. An internet search on Bali or many other popular holiday localities will return a lot of travel-related sites, but below the emphasis is on sites of a less commercial nature which may be otherwise difficult to discover.
ASEAN National Flowers Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Canberra, Australia. In the "About The Embassy" section, you'll find some cultural information under "Balai Budaya and Surrounds"
Australian Museum Collections - Asia, Africa, Americas Australian Museum Online. Images of selected objects from Bali and elsewhere, including Balinese paintings from the Forge Collection
Indonesia Photo Archive Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Bamboo, People and the Environment Proceedings of the Vth International Bamboo Workshop and the IV International Bamboo Congress, Volume 4. (includes "Bamboo in Balinese Rituals")
Travels with Bill Take a look at his Bali photo album
Our Bali Honeymoon A Canadian couple share their photos with us
Adventures in Indonesia Lots of photos (mostly of Bali) with commentary, by Australian Steve Gill
Traditional Models of the Indonesian House Non-Western Architecture, University of Idaho
The Traditional Acehnese House Project Design Studio, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington
SEAsite website, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University USA. This site provides information on various aspects of language and culture on several SE Asian regions, including art and architecture
Thai Architecture Non-Western Architecture, University of Idaho A "photographic survey of Asia's architectural heritage". Many countries including Indonesia and Thailand are included
Rimbun Dahan homepage Malaysian art and architecture
Spiny Babbler Museum, Nepal. Information about traditional Nepalese arts

Learn More about Pacific/Polynesian culture:
These links have been moved to a new page which will deal in more detail with a garden style more influenced by tropical Pacific Islands or Polynesian culture: Pacific Island themes

These links have been moved to a new page, here: Materials. They've been selected to provide background information on some of the materials that you're likely to come across when shopping for screens, gazebos, outdoor furniture and so on for your tropical garden (tropical timbers, thatching, bamboo etc.)

On other pages:
Tropical gardens More ideas for tropical-style gardens
Tropilocus Tropical lifestyle ideas



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