This contemporary Australian garden closely connects with the native bushland beyond its boundaries
A sloping site is always a challenge. So too is a site that backs onto native vegetation because you want the new garden to sit seamlessly within its natural surrounds. This garden laid both challenges at the feet of its design team.
“The clients had a challenging brief. They wanted a landscape that connected with the rear of their newly renovated home as well as the surrounding environment – and it needed to complement their busy, highly social lifestyle,” explains Darin Bradbury, design manager for TLC Design.
“Using materials that were sympathetic to the native vegetation was a major requirement in the built landscape,” he continues. “The steep slope had to be tackled effectively to make the transition from the house to the entertaining area and the pool effortless. Major view lines had to be retained and an existing pool and paved area removed to make way for the new pool and landscape.”
To effect a smooth transition between the contemporary lines of the house and the natural vegetation beyond the property’s border, TLC Design used extensive planting of both native and exotic species to soften the perimeter of the pool area. The team also introduced natural materials into the landscape around the house.
“We used spotted gum, an Australian hardwood, for the decking, exposed aggregate concrete seeded with fine pebbles for the paving and local stone for the walling,” says Darin. “The new pool was clad in a small black ceramic tile to give it a lagoon feel that would sit more comfortably in the native bushland setting compared to a standard blue pool.”
For Darin, the pool-fence design is one of the standout elements. “Although the pool is surrounded by pool-compliant fencing, you barely even notice it in the landscape. Using plants such as Dianella ‘Breeze’ and other materials to break up the pool-fence lines contributes to the feeling that this pool is completely accessible,” he says.
Darin is also pleased he and the TLC Pool construction team were able to re-use the local slate paving from the old pool area in a variety of areas around the site. As the original pool and landscape were the work of iconic Australian landscape designer Gordon Ford, they wanted some of the site’s history to be kept intact.
“The main design challenge was the steep grade that fell away from the house. It’s always a challenge to retain view lines down a hill and to ensure that the garden at the bottom of the hill doesn’t feel cut-off. To counter the effect of the steep grade, we used broad steps that flow naturally, rather than progressing in straight lines, down from the house to the pool terrace.
“Maintaining view lines and directing pedestrian traffic further down into the garden was achieved using castella rock stacked stone walling running with the line of sight from the house. These blade walls were also incorporated into the pool fencing, visually breaking up the lines of the glass fence,” says Darin.
The plants were selected for their ability to thrive in difficult conditions and the planting themes change as you make your way around the garden. “The front garden is almost exclusively native. The most exposed areas around the house were planted with succulent species and the areas further down the hill, where there was more protection from the elements, were planted with ornamental exotics,” explains Darin.
For TLC Design, the goal was to create an outdoor space with a great sense of connection. What they delivered was a series of spaces that invite interaction and are used on a regular basis for both quiet family time and entertaining.