Designed in 2015, this Armadale project has gradually developed with a few alterations and some recent additions into a space that is truly special. While connected in a cohesive design that complements the renovated Victorian home, its surroundings and the owners’ lifestyle, the front and rear gardens have two distinctly different purposes and moods.
The rear garden is built on a suspended slab, which elevates what would have otherwise been a gentle downward sloping block to form a single level across home interior and exterior. Connecting the house with the freestanding rear garage and pool area, this space is flexible and overtly functional. As it primarily for outdoor entertaining and child’s play, a simple space with an expanse of lawn and narrow boundary planter boxes were desired to soften the dominant architectural features and create the impression of a series of outdoor rooms.
Each of the rear garden beds are framed by a low hedge of Buxus japonica, creating unity throughout the space and providing a formal clipped aesthetic. Syzygium austral ‘Brush Cherry’ provides a lush green backdrop and privacy along the boundary fencing. Star jasmine on the side of garage, adds some much needed greenery and depth to the pool area, its scented mass of white flowers providing seasonal delight in summer. A line of pots positioned along the verandah columns break up the hard expanse of tiling and paving between the house and pool; each features a single standard Buxus, which is contrasted with a unique assortment of delightful succulents of varying forms and colours that mound and spill over the pot sides.
In contrast to the functional rear, the expansive front yard provided us an opportunity to entertain our creativity – allowing for larger plants with bigger impact and a planting scheme with more depth and nuance. Inspired by the idea of a sense of journey and discovery, deep curved garden beds were established to allow for pockets of unique planting combinations that emerge and disappear from sight as you move through the space. With a base tone of rich greens, the principal design features of the garden include contrasting texture and repetition to make a bold statement, create tension and add interest. A dramatic entrance pot additionally serves as a key feature to complement the grand architectural entrance.
The structural forms of Buxus japonica and Westringia fruticosa spheres are planted en masse creating a striking key visual as a whole. Contrasting with this mass of clipped foliage, looser plant specimens of varying heights were included; a ground cover of prostrate rosemary spills over the garden beds; Miscanthus grasses in the rear establish a soft backdrop with a fluid form that flexes in the wind and brings the space to life. A number of tree specimens including Prunus lusitanica, Japanese maples and Acer Fairview flame add some much needed green verticals. The feathery foliage of the maples is delicate and provides delightful autumnal hues. Adding another layer to the planting scheme, established Furcraeas provide a sharp architectural juxtaposition to the surrounding soft leafy-green foliage.
A sense of change and seasonality is enhanced by loose plantings of a selection of flowering plant specimens and herbaceous perennials, including Sedum ‘autumn joy’, orange Clivia, purple Wisteria, white Hydrangeas and a pink flowering cherry blossom tree.