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Native plants are a priority
The West Australian

Landscape architects are looking to native species as they manage restricted water access in a drying climate.

There is a strong environmental focus at Austin Lakes, a housing development by the Satterley Group 80km south of Perth.

Senior landscape architect Michael Pearce said more than 90 per cent of all plants used in common areas at the development were native species.

"There's been a priority to use predominately native species with a high proportion of that being indigenous local species suited to the area," he said.

"In the Peel district there's a high salt content in the groundwater.

"It's just common sense for us to create a common landscape that is suited to local conditions and will last for a number of years without a huge amount of outside input."

Mr Pearce said the use of native species was common in new developments because of reduced water allocations.

"As Perth expands there's just a huge demand on water as these suburbs grow and develop," he said. "So from our point of view, from the local shire's point of view, who take over the works, they don't need to have the water resources to take care of such large areas of land in our drying climate."

The development includes a big artificial lake which is used to manage the development's water resources as well as providing environmental and recreation opportunities.

It also attracts a large number of water birds including swans during migratory periods.