Hidden away, this award-winning inner-Brisbane landscape is a delightful surprise — a multi-level outdoor oasis perfect for entertaining
For some designers, a sloping site is a problem. For others, it’s an exciting opportunity to be imaginative and create something truly unique. From the first moment landscape architect Isabel Rundle and the team from Outdoor Secrets set foot on this property in Paddington, an affluent inner-Brisbane suburb, the ideas started to flow. She began to envisage a contemporary, multi-level design with abundant planting, which is exactly what the clients had in mind.
“The clients wanted to have multiple usable areas for entertaining and relaxing while being able to look out onto a background of lush tropical plants,” explains Isabel. “It was also important to retain the existing planting at the bottom of the property, which provides a luxuriant green outlook from the swimming pool and firepit area and acts as natural screening from neighbours.
“There are two main feature spaces within this landscape,” continues Isabel. “The first level is the pool area, which, when you’re in the space, feels as it if extends out into the backdrop of tropical plants. Surrounded by decking, this is a functional leisure space for relaxing and pool play. The next level down brings you to the firepit/conversation area where a honed and polished concrete bench is the feature. LED strip lighting under the L-shaped bench creates the illusion that it is floating and adds to the appeal of the area.” To complement the industrial aesthetic of the concrete bench, there is a steel Goanna firepit from Yagoona Design Australia.
Great care was taken with the selection of hardscaping materials. Rendered and painted block walls were used for the retaining, chosen for their longevity and aesthetic appeal. Coloured concrete was used for the path from the house, and honed decorative aggregate concrete for the firepit area. This ties back into the polished concrete aggregate flooring in the house.
To ensure longevity and low maintenance, eco-friendly composite timber was used for the decking around the pool, while high-quality Platinum granite tiles, which work beautifully with the pool’s Pebblecrete interior and mosaic waterline tiles, was employed for the coping. Allowing clear sight lines, the pool is wrapped in frameless glass fencing. To build the pool, Outdoor Secrets called on Noble Pools. This was due to the difficulty of having to build four metres out of the ground, a process that required extensive engineering, steel and concrete.
The family wanted to use all areas of the garden both day and night, so multicolour LED lights have been used in the pool. There is strip lighting underneath the bench seat in the firepit area, and exterior LED stainless-steel step lights have been used on the stairs.
The new plants were chosen to add a tropical flourish, blend with the surrounds and work in harmony with the plants that were retained at the rear of the garden. Just some of the plants used include Plumeria pudica (hammer head frangipani), Beaucarnea recurvate (ponytail palm), Alpinia nutans (dwarf cardamom), Cordyline fruticosa ‘Compacta’, Philodendron ‘Xanadu’ and Dichondra repens (kidney weed). To add more entertaining options, there are outdoor speakers in the garden beds.
Despite the tricky site access, Outdoor Secrets was able to transform a once unusable landscape into a multifunctional space for the young family — and, in the process, win for themselves three awards in the 2018 Landscape Queensland Construction Excellence Awards. They received the Residential Landscape Construction of the Year award and took out first place in both the Residential $150,001-$250,000 and Residential Design & Construct $100,001-$250,000 categories.
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