This innovative design won us a Highly Commended in the Australian Institute of Landscape Designers & Managers 2011 National Awards
The client had previously engaged another Landscape Designer, the Design of box hedges flowing lawns & rose gardens & was not relevant to the Clients Design Brief.
The explicit Brief asked for a low maintenance, strikingly modern garden that reflected the sharp edged, angular lines of the home. There was to be a limited number of hard landscape components used in correspondingly geometrical “blocks” & lineal banding as a reflection of the materials & finishes of the building. The client stated “ do the most unique design as a reaction to the architecture of the home, go as modern as you can, then go some more”. This was not to be a “meat & three veggies”” design.
The Clients enthusiasm & vision for the project was supported by his exacting eye for details, & love of hard, masonry construction. The planting was to play a supportive role only, be low maintenance, & retain a visual presence all year. This man was a builder not a gardener!
Lastly, there was a requirement that the garden be a quintessentially Melbourne garden – this aspect in particular involved some discussion with client as to what a “Melbourne Garden” meant to him.
The project was a subsequently a somewhat daunting challenge for the Designer, who has a preference for planting & horticulturally based gardens.
The front fence was designed as a series of 3 low “blocks, the central rendered block anchored too either side with veneered basalt slabs, grain matched & mitred edges to concrete block walls. The paving is a concrete modular unit, with either a homed or exposed texture aggregate finish depending on the intended traffic. This paving is broken into blocks with long lengths of similarly grain matched basalt slabs inserted in random angular bands. Some of these bands lead into vertical elements of sawn face / rock edge basalt shards “growing” out of rendered masonry boundary & portico entry walls. This same thick sawn basalt material, some weighing up to two tons were positioned in the garden as horizontal “outcrops” this time “growing” out of the stone bands that continue out from the paving into the garden proper. To source these slabs a visit was made by the designer & client to a basalt quarry some 300 kilometers west of Melbourne to hand select the basalt shards used extensively throughout the project.
The planting here is repeated use of limited species, & selected to be low water use. Non-fruiting “Swan Hill” variety olives to provide screening to adjacent properties [Hymenosporum flavum fulfill a similar role to the shaded sideway], Pennisetum “Nafray” to soften the massive stone block with feathery foliage & swaying movement of the seed heads, & ground cover of Convolvulus cenorum & massed Acacia “Mini Cog”.
To provide privacy & a noise barrier from adjacent property alfresco living, & a strong visual element to the north facing floor to ceiling windows from the home’s interior a 20 metre long 2 metre high rendered brick wall was constructed along the north boundary. This was rendered & finished in a plain white, with lighting bos strips set into the face & illuminated with hidden strip lighting. Low basalt shards positioned in the foreground give a feeling of scale & “ground” the structure
The alfresco living space adjacent to the patio has a fully equipped kitchen, & overlooks the rear pool space. We supplied a design for 6 large planters, these were copper clad to link to the finish of the portico over the rear bi-fold doors. Planted with select non-fruiting standard olives, these lead the eye to the glass mosaic clad feature wall to the pool’s end. The coping to the pool, with concealed strip lighting to under, & a large seating bench were also designed by us & fabricated by the owner on site. Privacy was assured a by a lightweight timber wall designed to recede visually & provide a simple back drop to pool & planting.
The horizontal plane of the pool patio paving is linked to the home in a similar manner as used to the front of the home; in this case the bands are white exposed aggregate concrete the mix being the same as used in the hand ground & polished concrete pylons in the house structure.
A lawn area was edged in this same banding, blending the hard & soft horizontal planes of paving & drought tolerant lawn.
Planting to the rear garden was similarly restrained & drought hardy, using low planting of Limmonium perezii, Rosemary “Blue Lagoon” & Beschoneria yucciodes, height against the rear of the home was achieved with Cordalyne stricta.
In conjunction with our lighting supplier, an extensive lighting layout was developed with multiple switching options to the planting, pool, planters, shards & vertical elements.
The result is a stunning, highly detailed & precisely executed garden & built exterior spaces complimenting the strong architectural elements of the home - & a very happy client who has had their design brief not only met , but in their own words, “exceeded”!
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