Outdoor design

A new outlook: rear garden


This reimagined rear garden has given a growing young family a fresh perspective and a new lease on life

The owners of this home in Box Hill North, east of Melbourne, turned to Inge Jabara of Inge Jabara Landscapes to design a multi-functional, multi-generational garden that would give the family a fresh perspective and an enhanced outdoor lifestyle.

Wide bifold doors opening the home to the rear garden created a seamless indoor-outdoor flow, an essential element for the homeowners. Ensuring the outlook from inside the home was something special was just as important, as was designing spaces that could cater for small children and adults alike.

More specifically, the brief was to design a garden that was easy to use. There was to be a swimming pool and spa area, a lawn where the children could play, a stylish deck for entertaining and, overall, a greater degree of privacy from neighbours. The style was left to Inge, who came up with a design that is contemporary and pared-back, with a formal English undertone that references the home’s brick exterior.

The fully-tiled, solar-heated pool, designed by Inge Jabara and built by Access Pools, is controlled by a Wi-Fi pad inside the house and stands 1.2m above the original ground level. It includes a raised spa, also solar-heated, with a polished concrete seat on two sides. The pool surrounds are paved in bluestone, its sophisticated grey tones complementing the concrete seat and contrasting the warm hues of the spotted gum decking at the far end of the pool area.

A feature screen of treated pine slats extends part-way along one side of the pool; on the other side, and along the section that connects with the elevated deck at the rear of the residence, glass fencing keeps the area protected while ensuring unobstructed views.

The other part of the garden is taken up by an expanse of lawn that provides the children with a soft and safe surface for outdoor games. Access to the lawn and the pool is via a set of concrete steps that lead down from the covered deck that flows from the rear of the house, giving the family the quintessential indoor-outdoor living space.

Newly created garden beds border the lawn. There is bamboo to screen the boundary, a Japanese maple as a feature tree, a box hedge by the steps that will be tiered as it grows, jasmine as a fragrant border, and feathery miscanthus for interest and softness. In choosing the plants, consideration was given to the existing brush fence and the need to integrate into the new design.

The existing deck was revitalised, with the Inge Jabara Landscapes’ construction team sanding back and re-staining the original decking boards and extending it out to the boundary to maximise the space and create a new outdoor entertaining area.

Landscape lighting, sourced by Gardens at Night, was placed in the garden beds and alongside the steps, and the pool lighting was upgraded to be multi-coloured. This works in harmony with the deck lighting to make this garden an inviting space to use at night, as well as a beautiful vista to behold when looking out from the house.

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Originally in Outdoor Design & Living, Volume 33