Aqua Gardening was founded in 1995 by Tony and Diane Loutit. It began as a small store on Pickering Street in Brisbane, and helped local gardeners with their needs. It was the first Hydroponic store in Brisbane to introduce the complementary areas of Aquaponics and Ponds. In 2014 Chris and Shiran Faast purchased Aqua Gardening from Tony and Diane.
Chris grew up in a self-sustainable house in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. His dad Heini had a passion for Aquaponics and together they built a large 5,000L Aquaponics system which was landscaped into their backyard. This fish tank was a large concrete pond complete with fish, ducks and turtles. The grow bed was created on top of an existing underground tank and was planted with all sorts of vegetables and herbs. It was topped up using rainwater and powered by solar power.
Chris and Shiran lived in a small apartment together in West End, Brisbane and realised it was time to grow their own food just like Chris’s dad had years before. The only problem is they didn’t have much space. They managed to gather a few tubs and put together a small Aquaponics system using the Aqua Gardening shop for some of their needs. The Aquaponics system grew a large amount of food in a tiny space on a balcony in the city and it even included fish. The system was so easy to run, almost effortless - this was the moment that Chris and Shiran realised they needed to buy Aqua Gardening.
"We wanted everyone to be able to grow food no matter where they lived or whether they were experienced gardeners or not."
After taking over the business in 2014, Chris and Shiran's first mission was to develop gardening techniques that anyone could use and then introduce them to the broader public. Chris has always had a passion for the outdoors and sustainability. At university Chris studied Mining Engineering. His background in engineering helped him design the kits that are on offer today. Shiran never really had a green thumb, but her years of experience in management and retail have helped bring the business to life.
In the past, Aquaponics was an area which had only been explored by DIY’s and adventurous people who spent days and weeks using trial and error methods. Over the years, Chris and Shiran transformed Aqua Gardening into a place where questions were answered, knowledge was given, and products were researched and developed so that anyone could grow using Aquaponics and Hydroponics.
In 2018 Aqua Gardening launched the Learning Hub, with hundreds of articles and videos to help out anyone who wants to grow food and fish with an Aquaponics system, build a beautiful pond or grow using Hydroponics. They established a leading Aquaponics website and were the first to research the need for supplements in an Aquaponics system. They created a range of Aquaponic products to make systems easier to maintain, and developed a number of complete Aquaponics kits so that anyone, no matter where they live, can start an Aquaponics system.
Aqua Gardening now has a new mission: “Empowering people to master their health by making gardening accessible, sustainable, successful & easy.”
In 2020 during COVID19, Aqua Gardening needed to change and innovate to survive and thrive in these new and uncertain times. The change saw them transition from one of the largest retail stores in Queensland, into a store with one of the best customer service experiences available. They realised over the years that the thing that customers valued the most was their advice. This resulted in the decision to create an in-store experience unlike any other seen before, focused entirely on the customer's needs.
The new Aqua Gardening store is an inspiring place, where community interaction, conversation and new ideas are encouraged.