Designing complex, unexpected landscapes with local materials


What is Transplant?

TransPlant is a research project led by MORF landskapsarkitektur AB, in collaboration with Hökerum Bygg and Svea fastigheterbostad AB.

Together we’re investigating new ways of using existing local flora to create beautiful and complex natural environments as a landscape is developed.


At the heart of this research is a problem

Current development and landscape design practices often ignore local resources in favour of generic, imported materials.

When a new neighbourhood is developed, the area is usually cleared, and valuable materials are lost. The resulting designs can feel sterile and uninspired. Disconnected.

We follow these current standards and practices because they’re clear, controlled, and well understood. There are no simple, tested and widely accepted alternatives available.

TransPlant explores new ways of working, allowing designers and developers to use existing landscapes as a source of inspiration and raw material.


If we can find new practices that make sense in the real world – that can be tested, developed and shared –an alternative emerges.

Working with existing resources as we build new spaces, leading to unexpected designs. A sense of movement. Some wildness. A complex beauty.

By working with surrounding ecosystems, we can create beautiful, nuanced designs that are both inspired by and a continuation of their landscapes. Spaces that change and develop as time goes by, exploring the interplay of nature and design as one becomes the other.


Our Approach

In order to design and build in this way, we must investigate innovative methods of moving, storing, and replanting trees, ground cover and soil – maintaining their health as a development is built.

We are currently working on a feasibility study, with the ultimate goal of creating a courtyard whose design is guided by and populated using local plants, trees and soil.

Our goal is to develop methods that will make this practice both scalable and sustainable, finding ways of working that can be used by developers and designers around the world.


Our current research is guided by these questions:

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What sizes of tree could survive a transplantation to a roof deck? 

What sizes are suitable for a roof deck considering weight and character, etc? 

What are the soil conditions, what equipment can be used to dig up/lift the trees?

Do the local pine trees have an anchoring root?

How can the transplanted trees be anchored?

Can the ground cover survive storage? 

How can the ground cover be handled? (lifted and brought to its final location)? 



What are the protentional gains of transplanting soil? 

How can the soil be transplanted? In blocks or as “loose” substrate? 

What are the restrictions for using natural soil on roof decks? 

How should the substrate used under the transplanted substrate and ground cover be engineered? 

How can we avoid weeds?



How can transplanted vegetation and substrate mange stormwater? 

How much water does transplanted vegetation need?

Is there a risk for water shortage, and how is that handled? 

Can the water be stored closer to the vegetation and not in need of pumps? 


Local inspiration

Designing in a way that respects the complexities of actual living ecosystems leads to spaces that feel surprising, balanced and connected.

Local resources

Rather than discarding valuable indigenous plant life, these practices allow us to use these as resources in developments.

Integrating surrounding wildlife

By using local flora and microbiology, we create stepping stones or corridors that reduce a development’s impact on the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife.

Supporting soil microbiology

Rather than using sterile and manufactured soils that have been stripped of structure, seed banks, mycelium and other important components, re-using local soils retains valuable microbiology.

Innovative approaches to stormwater

By integrating stormwater into the design as a natural resource, it becomes an integral element, rather than a threat.


News and updates

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With support from Uppsala kommun