How to create a garden that reflects the way you live

Isabel Rundle of Outdoor Secrets explains how to create a garden that reflects the way you live when planning your next landscaping project

Isabel Rundle From Outdoor Secrets Explains How To Create A Garden That Reflects The Way You Live

How did you get your start?

I have always appreciated good design and had seen myself as a creative designer of some sort growing up. As a child I spent a lot of time outdoors and in my grandparents’ lush and beautiful garden, so a path in landscape design seemed natural. Post school I travelled to France and was inspired by French formal gardens, especially the garden of Versailles. After this, I decided to study landscape architecture and received a Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture) (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology.

What defines a well-designed garden?

I believe that every landscape should be a space that evokes a feeling of comfort for those using it and engages your interest, and it should be functional as well as beautiful. A well-designed landscape will have a carefully considered combination of materials, textures and colours that complement each other. It should also reflect how the clients intend to use the space for years to come, providing for their needs now and into the future.

What are the most important steps?

At Outdoor Secrets we recommend sitting with your partner and writing down your brief, your must-haves and your wish-list items so that your landscape designer has a clear idea of what you’re after and can make further suggestions and talk through your ideas, even if wife and husband don’t agree. As a source of design inspiration, you can use sites such as Pinterest and Houzz. Understanding both the client’s brief and the existing site conditions is the first step in the design process. How the client uses, or doesn’t use, the current space will also help inform the designer. Even knowing what a client doesn’t like or want allows us to narrow down some design ideas.

Do you specialise in a particular style?

I don’t have a specialty landscape style, however I am family focused with my designs. There are always new trends, so my style is forever changing to meet this. Natural landscapes are big right now, with a lot more native planting and organic elements being seen in backyard designs as well as childcare centres. The combinations of colour, texture, height, shape and scent are being arranged to create natural sensory gardens. I have also been seeing a lot of brick feature walls, paving and pizza ovens making a comeback. I think it comes back to bringing a bit of decorative aesthetic and designers repurposing old favourites.

How do you ensure a good outcome?

A detailed and accurate design brief and budget, combined with a good construction team and the use of specialised trades, equals a successful outcome on all our projects. It’s also important that the designer and client continue to communicate throughout the design and construction processes so that everyone remains on the same page and is working towards achieveing the same vision. Budget can be a difficult subject during a first meeting, however it’s one of the most important things to discuss and agree upon as it drives the outcome. If this isn’t communicated clearly upfront, it can lead to a litany of design changes and a compromised result.

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