March 2025


Joby Blackman & Carolyn Blackman – Vivid Design in collaboration with Semken Landscaping



17 years ago, design principals Joby Blackman (Landscape Design background) and Carolyn Blackman (Horticultural background) formed Vivid Design. The focus of the combination of skills and influence is to design gardens that have equal emphasis on hard landscape design and planting design. The Vivid approach to landscape design is always contextual – with the architecture and surrounding environment being major influential factors in the finished design. The subtle weaving in of history, ‘stories’ or other more personal elements is also a particular design influence for Vivid.

Vivid Design’s gardens are designed to:
❖ Compliment and enhance the environment in which they are situated (including architecture of the buildings and surrounds)
❖ Reflect the needs of the client and ultimately those people that will use the space
❖ Meet achievable maintenance levels to ensure the gardens long-term success

Vivid Design’s clients include residential developments in Melbourne, Sydney and rural areas of Victoria. Commercial clients include Architects, Property Developers, Schools, Aged Care facilities, Cemeteries, corporations such as IMG, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Yates, Floriana, Oasis Horticulture, Citywide Service Solutions and the Australian Football League (AFL) for a major entertainment facility of the Grand Final each September (ongoing – past 8 years to date).

Vivid Design has designed over 30 exhibits at the Show over 25 years.


The Green Room.

A forest in your backyard? 

Imagine the feeling of sitting in a garden space, surrounded by trees,… it conjures the feelings of a tree house where one can disappear and retreat into the greenery… a tree house vibe…. but for grown-ups….

That’s the feeling that we are going for with this year’s Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Semken Landscaping and Vivid Design have a strong partnership and history at the garden show and join forces again this year to celebrate the Best of the Best 25th anniversary show.

As twice best in show winners over the event and with many gold medals over the history of the show, Carolyn and Joby at Vivid Design are known for plant use and highlighting the importance of greenery and planting combinations. Gardens provide immense value in our daily lives. Trees shade us and cool our buildings which can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels to cool buildings. Trees sequester carbon and that has a positive role in greenhouse emissions, plants can remove pollutants from the air, cleaning the air and providing oxygen.  Greenery is good for our mental health and wellbeing, proven time and time again with research. Town planners intuitively knew hundreds of years ago that setting aside space for trees and gardens to act as the ‘lungs of the city’ was a good idea for the city’s inhabitants…. the science backs that up more than ever. We aim to highlight the importance of trees in our environment even more and seek to empower people to plant trees in their own private spaces. 

Created with today’s home owners in mind this garden aims to inject a whole lot of greenery into a reduced space, and deal with the views to the neighbours! This garden has a strong feeling of structure with wonderful hedges of Miles Choice Bays to screen and create all important intimacy for softer, seasonal plantings within. Reliable trees hedges and shrubs provide the year-round structure and backdrop for softer, more whimsical plantings with seasonal punch.  A feature forest of trees (Carpinus betulus ‘fastigiata’, a known species for carbon monoxide pollution absorption)  cocoons the garden space and creates a feeling of immersion for people within the garden. A show-stopping modern take on the ancient art of espalier features as the planted architectural feature in the garden. It is  a modern trellis, graced with olives that has been grown by specialist espalier nursery Merrywood Plants. Layers of underplanting complete the scene with flowers to nurture the soul as well as the bee population. A sunken lawn creates opportunities for entertaining and play and the strong geometric curves in the garden link through from the espalier to the lawn adding a sense of rhythm, softness, less formality and generosity. The feature crazy pave references a mid-century vibe and is fused with planting so that the definition between garden and surface is purposefully blurred. As always, we aim to elevate the planting in the garden to smooch more than some ‘greenery at the end of the design process.’  We aim to integrate hardscape and softscape, weaving the plants into the architecture and giving the plants the absolute respect they deserve in the landscape design….

Plants are good for people, gardening is good for people, trees are good for the earth – we hope this garden inspires more people to transform their own spaces at home and share in the incredible value that gardens provide.

Designed by Vivid Design, Constructed By Semken Landscaping

See Vivid Design, as well as several other Best In Show designers all coming together for the 25th Anniversary of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.


Subscribe to receive all the latest information and exciting news about the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show via email.

Translate Website