A recently completed JJL project, we were approached by these clients to assist them with not only beautifying, but also resolving issues around a difficult sloping block that gave way rapidly over a short distance in the rear garden; making it almost unusable in its existing state. Since purchasing this inner eastern Melbourne home around 3 years ago, this had been an ongoing frustrating issue that the owners had struggled with and had debated over the direction of possible solutions, contemplating the option of installing a pool amongst other concepts.
Maximising the use of space was a key priority, and so in collaboration we settled upon the construction of layered terraces that enable varying levels of functional use and would also be complementary to the client’s personal preference for a more formal and structured classical style of garden.
The house opens out onto a newly extended multipurpose outdoor living and dining area. The addition of shutters, outdoor heating and a ceiling fan above the covered dining space ensure its continued use and enjoyment year round. Widened and extended steps lead down to a second, significantly larger, outdoor zone that lends itself to function as an uncovered extension for outdoor entertainment.
Raised planter boxes and verdigris coloured pots surround this area, balancing the expanse of blue stone paving and creating striking features of interest. Buxus japonica and Westringia spheres of alternating size are planted in mass, creating an undulating sea of green foliage in addition to a formal structural element. Along the rear wall of the house and the rendered side boundary wall Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) is trained onto an overlapping diamond grid of wires –providing as they grow, a rising lush green wall that softens the dominant architectural features of this home and makes the yard feel more enclosed and inviting. Each identical pot is composed of an additional cluster of Buxus japonica spheres; a Pencil pine for compact vertical height; and Dichondra ‘silver falls’ that cascades down over the sides.
The steepest slope of the block drops away before the rear boundary fence line, along of which was an existing row of Pyrus calleryana: as healthy established trees, these were retained to provide an excellent green screen for privacy from the neighbours. This sudden drop was leveled by building a deck from the base of the paved middle zone around the trees, and up to the fence line.
Looking back at the starting point, the finished product has resulted in a complete transformation of this rear garden – allowing the clients to now enjoy their beautiful outdoor space!