Soils for Landscape Development, Selection, Specification and Validation


Simon Leake and Elke Haege have been awarded the 2015 Australian Institute of Horticulture AIH Secretary’s Award, and the 2014 Excellence in Research and Communication Award from the Australian Institute for Landscape Architecture (AILA) for their work with this book.

Soils for Landscape Development provides a clear, practical and systematic template for specifying landscape soils based on scientific criteria. The soil specifications provide essential information and a universally applicable method for landscape architects and designers, specification writers, landscape contractors and soil supply companies to ensure quality and fit-for-purpose soils. A strong emphasis is placed on reducing environmental impacts by reuse of on-site soil, promoting appropriate minimal soil intervention, and using recycled products.

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A ready reference to landscape soils to inform and promote sound reasoning for client understanding and satisfaction. The Soil Approach Method promotes consideration of existing site resources and outlines steps to take to minimise costs through soil reuse and to use site soil analysis and edaphic considerations to inform and promote sustainable design. A Site Soil Characterisation and Investigation Specification providing a method by which site-won soils should be characterised and can then be used to form part of the performance specification. Thus the performance specification process is not confined to the use of purchased imported soils. Performance Based Specifications – where a compulsory specification is given outlining the ranges of physical and chemical properties essential for the performance criteria to meet the landscape treatment. A set of Design Drivers to improve the adaptation of landscape to place and hence success rates and provide optimum landscape performance. Verification and Quality Assurance Specification – steps and guidelines to enable clear, standard industry accepted processes over the quality of the product, certification requirements, construction process, and correct supply of specified landscape soils and mulches. – See more at:

About the authors

Simon Leake & Elke Haege are winners of the 2015 AIH (Australian Institute of Horticulture) Literature Award and winners of the 2014 AILA NSW (Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture NSW) Research and Development Award) for their publication: Soils for Landscape Development: Selection, Specification and Validation, CSIRO Publishing, 2014.
Elke is a registered landscape architect and consulting arborist. Elke is passionate about the sustainable development of natural systems in urban environments.
Simon is a certified professional soil scientist. Simon’s particular interest lies in urban soil science.
For further in-depth information not provided in this handbook, refer to the publication: Leake S & Haege E (2014) Soils for Landscape Development: Selection, Specification and Validation. CSIRO Publishing, Australia. The example soil specification numbering referred to in this handbook matches the codes and numbering found in Leake & Haege (2014).


Design development process and the soil approach
Understanding soils for landscape developments
Soil design
Guidance to using the soil performance specifications
The performance specifications
Site investigation/analysis
Preparatory soil works
Soils for turf and lawns
Soils for gardens and mass planting
On slab media
Specialist soils
Validation specifications
Appendix A: Technical information, sampling and test methods
Appendix B: Forms and templates
Appendix C: Soil rooting volumes
Glossary of industry terms
Additional Information

Simon Leake and Elke Haege 2014



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Colour photographs, Illustrations – See more at:

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