The design approach with a new block is very different then when updating an existing garden. Projects that start with a blank canvas lack context and visual cues.
I feel that I need to build the story from scratch. To imagine a space that dose’t exist is a challenge. I was lucky to have clients that had strong ideas so we were able to build the story together. The plants they loved (figs and olives) were productive and others like the pencil pines were growing next door. We were able to develop a strong link between the house and the surrounding gardens- giving the vacant site a context. It is important to link the house with the street however the owners also wanted some privacy particularly from the dreaded door to door salesmen.
Vicki’s garden is one of my favourites; the garden is divided into three courtyards, each with their own feel and personality. Many of the plants have come from her mother’s garden and have a special meaning.
The large courtyard can be seen from the main rooms of the house, and during summer visitors are drawn to the garden by the bright colours of the bougainvillaea and climbing rose. This garden is designed with relaxed entertaining in mind, the two large outdoor settings in constant use for family gatherings and makeshift potting table.
This is a cheerful garden that is constantly changing; the rose and bougainvillaea remain, however every few years the perennials change giving a whole new look to the garden and keeping me on my toes. The two smaller courtyards are designed with a gentle flow – cool greens and grey and provide somewhere to unwind and relax and enjoy the fragrance of the Gardenia and the texture of the many varieties of Euphorbia featured in this part of the garden.
Built in the late 1840s, Chesterfield is one of Geelong's oldest surviving Georgian homes. The current owners, Marry-Jane and Chris, saved the home from the developer’s bulldozer and, over the past few years, have been peeling back some of the less endearing layers of history to reveal an elegant old girl and survivor of a bygone era. Chris and Mary-Jane see themselves as custodians of a piece of history. There is still much work to be done, and some ongoing and never-ending tasks, including the garden, are a labour of love and will continue to be a source of joy and inspiration as the work continues.
When I first met the owners of this two bedroom flat in a leafy bayside suburb, they were in the middle of major renovations. Most of the floor was missing and many of the walls were in various stages of migration. When they were finished there would be almost nothing left - apart from the front windows - to give any indication of its original 1960’s construction.
The brief was clear, they wanted a courtyard to complement the high spec interiors and their minimalist decor.
There are many things to consider when designing the garden of a Victorian era home. Do you work with the layers of history or start from scratch? Do you reconstruct a period garden or create a garden with a modern aesthetic? Faced with a crumbling 1950s concrete path, a "Victorian style" aluminium fence and unruly vegetation - the layers of history were not kind to this family home in Elsternwick. The decision was made for a complete overhaul of the front garden, to return the sense of place to the elegant Victorian architecture.
In Victorian times, a bold sense of arrival dominated the front gardens. We achieved this by replacing the diagonal 1950s path with a dark, honed concrete path leading straight to the front steps. To allow the garden to be viewed from the street, the aluminium "Victorian style" fence was replaced with brick pillars, using bricks common to the Victorian era. Between the brick pillars are steel slat inserts, providing a sense of security and giving a modern edge to the design.
When I first stepped on to this site in Hawthorn, I saw a beautiful Victorian home. It had been recently renovated, sympathetic to the period, and the property boundary was sporting a shiny new fence. But something was missing - the garden!