Vertical gardens on multi-storey car parks to boost wellbeing

If you’re going to build something like a car park, why not make it beautiful?

This is the philosophy of Maitland’s Bob Dennerley, a craftsman with a passion for creativity and design.

Bob is urging the Hunter’s city planners and politicians to push for vertical gardens on multi-level car parks.

What Bob is trying to say, is that car parks are ugly. Hideous, even.

And who would disagree?

Many [or all] of them are concrete monstrosities often frequented by understandably moody commuters, struggling to get to work on time or desperate to get home.

Bob says vertical gardens have an “aesthetic value on people’s mental health”.

They could, for example, change the thoughts of commuters to “I can’t wait to go to work to see that beautiful car park”.

Car parks with vertical gardens could also attract more visitors and tourists to towns, he reckons.

“Vertical gardens are a relatively new concept around the world. They’re a way of softening the edges to car parks and the harshness of a lot of contemporary architecture.”

Bob reckons there’s never enough vegetation in urban areas.

“I see the urban environment as an extension of the natural environment,” he said.

He wants to see “harmonious streetscapes” in the region’s town centres.

Bob was recently reading a book that touched on the subject of “our sorry cities”.

“It’s so true. There are so many bad designs,” he said. 

“When commercialism runs rampant and developers are only there for how much money they can get out of the deal, what do you expect?”

Bob is interested in the effects of architecture and the urban environment on the “mental health of our community and society”.

“Aesthetics often go out the window when it comes to architecture,” he said, adding that there were exceptions.

“Good urban design and gardens have a profound effect on the human psyche on a subliminal level, on a moment-by-moment basis.

“They have an incredible effect on how you feel about yourself and where you live.”

Bob gave the example of Maitland, which he said was “progressing at a rate of knots”.

He works in Maitland’s town centre at his business, Dennerley Leather Designs. The town needs a multi-level car park.

“If you’re going to build one, why not build it in a way that people come to Maitland and go ‘wow, look at this’?”

He reckons a car park with a vertical garden would have social and economic benefits. That is, people will feel better about the town and spend more money in the area.

Got an idea about how to improve the urban environment and make our lives better? Tell us at

A beige Mitsubishi Magna at Terrigal.

A beige Mitsubishi Magna at Terrigal.

Grandma’s Beige Car

Speaking of ugly designs, we reckon the Mitsubishi Magna from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s was up there with the worse-looking vehicles we’ve come across. 

They got people from A to B, so they did a job. 

All we’re saying is, from our perspective, they weren’t easy on the eye. 

We hadn’t seen one of these vehicles for yonks. Then, out of the blue, we noticed one in a car park at Terrigal.

Terrigal is known as the most swanky place on the Central Coast, so it was a bit of a surprise to see an old Magna there.

Not only was it a Magna, it was beige.

How on earth were beige cars ever in fashion?

Considering it had P-plates, we reckon the Magna could be a hand-me-down from grandma.

Hoping For Rain

Out Kurri Kurri way, it’s so dry the folks are coughing up dust. 

Col Maybury calls it the “The Great Dry of 2018”, adding “our grass crunches underfoot”.

Col has a pond on his property with ornamental fish and a turtle. He’s been filling it up with town water to keep the fish alive. His latest Hunter Water bill cost $750. Ouch!

Nature is telling him the drought may soon break. 

“The monsoon rains are on the way and the apple box blooms and strident cicadas indicate rain in mid-February. I hope.”