This narrow Perth garden is proof positive you can have it all
Story: Karen Booth
Photos: Ron Tan
From the outdoor shower and above-ground spa to the in-built daybed and multi-level water feature, this long and lean outdoor space manages to incorporate everything you need to entertain in style.
Designed by Janine Mendel of CultivArt for a professional Perth couple who are avid entertainers, the crisp, clean layout makes the best possible use of the limited space. The strength of the design lies in the simple geometry, which is appealing because the proportions are aesthetically pleasing.
Explains Janine: “The owners wanted a sleek, contemporary garden that incorporated a water feature using the same Kimberley quartzite cladding that had been used as a feature on the front façade of the house. They also wanted an above-ground spa, built in and fenced as inconspicuously as possible, with an outdoor shower located nearby.” Because of their love of entertaining, they asked Janine to also find a way to include a built-in daybed as well as a more formal eating area.
“The space was limited, particularly in the spa area, so a covered pavilion that abutted the roof was required,” says Janine. “The owners particularly wanted an above-ground spa that would look like part of the designed landscape, not just an afterthought. We managed to achieve this, but with the fencing, seating around the spa and limited access, it was a bit of a challenge.”
The double reservoired water feature — which can be enjoyed when sitting in the garden or from inside the home — is the focal point of Janine’s canny, space-maximising design. The water runs over a polished black granite face that’s embedded in the quartzite backdrop. This sits proud of the wall behind, creating a multi-layered effect.
The main feature trees are a frangipani (Plumeria acutifolia) by the spa and outdoor shower and a Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) at the other end near the decking. Protecting the spa is a perimeter planting of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica).
Sago palms (Cycas revolute) sit either side of the water feature and a row of cordylines (Cordyline australis sp.) nestle against the rear wall. Species used for underplanting include the ever-reliable Moses in the cradle (Rhoeo discolour compacta) and the strappy-leafed giant turf lily (Liriope ‘Evergreen Giant’).
The hard landscaping materials were selected with equal care. This includes the warm-toned batu timber used for the decking, the sophisticated Midnight Sky Stylestone pavers boasting a lovely terrazzo finish and the white river pebbles used for contrast. Cocooning the space are retaining walls of rendered painted brick.
All in all, this is a simple, contemporary space with strong, clean lines that makes the best of its long, narrow proportions while keeping faith with the architecture of the house.