Dianella was named after the botanical title of a small blue lily, Dianella revoluta, which is a narrow-leafed plant which was plentiful in the area prior to residential development. Much of Dianella was subdivided in the 1880's but the sandy soil continued to hamper growth. Development of Dianella progressed rapidly during the boom years of the 1960's. Housing construction first occurred north from Walter Road and Grand Promenade, with St Andrews and Dress Circle Estates being the last major areas to be developed. The character of housing varies considerably and ranges from modest post-war homes to large, modern two storey dwellings. Most houses are single detached and are of brick construction, though there are a significant number of duplexes and villas as well as some older flats in the southern part of Dianella.
There are a number of small parks in Dianella and a large regional open space in the heart of the suburb provides a central focus for the community. Dianella Regional Open Space offers opportunities for many kinds of recreation and includes a community recreation centre, soccer field and tennis courts. Dianella Plaza is the major shopping centre in the suburb, with several smaller stores also catering for local needs. Education is provided by a number of primary schools as well as Mirrabooka Senior High School. Dianella also has a senior citizens' centre and public library, and contains the three commercial television stations operating in Perth.