Garden ideas for a traditional home


With formal gardens, a tennis court, swimming pool and outdoor rooms, this traditional home’s garden design impresses

When the owners of this large estate in Sydney’s lower north shore undertook extensive home renovations, it seemed only natural they would work on the property’s external areas too. A series of stunning outdoor rooms and gardens were designed to provide the finishing touches to this high-quality period residence.

A Total Concept Landscape Architects & Swimming Pool Designers were commissioned to design the extensive external areas of the vast Sydney property to incorporate a swimming pool, a tennis court, a poolside cabana and courtyards, all set within traditional lawns and gardens.

“The external areas of this property were very dilapidated. This allowed us to start the project from scratch with no preconceived ideas. We were able to design the spaces and created a series of external rooms based around a main feature including pool and cabana areas, tennis court, formal lawn, maze garden, water court and covered entertaining decks. Pathways, archways, sentinel plants and detailed traditional entry gates link the outdoor rooms and seamlessly integrate with the architectural designed residence,” explains John from A Total Concept.

John’s team at A Total Concept were able to negotiate this controversial proposal for the owners, saving them the cost, time and uncertainty of the Land and Environment Court.

“We undertake a lot of large complex projects where negotiation is needed with local authorities and our success rate for approval is high due to our experience … we are known by most councils as providing a quality product that reassures them with some of our more controversial proposals,” says John.

“The entire rear of the property fell away from the residence and was an unusable space. We proposed to level this area to both make the space usable and, at the same time, make it relate to the residence by placing three main external components including tennis court, formal lawn plus pool and cabana within it.”

This main external complex is utilised by the homeowners for entertaining both friends and business associates. The swimming pool is not only great for leisure time, but helps as a place to exercise after enjoying the many feasts laid out in the traditional poolside cabana.

This cabana has been designed with built-in cabinetry incorporating sink, wine fridge and bar plus a bathroom facility with shower, toilet and basin.

The swimming pool features Italian glass tiles, which contrast beautifully with the surrounding sandstone paving. These elements also complement the porcelain tile used inside the poolside cabana and the dappled greens of the gardens and lawns.

The formal lawn areas between the pool, house and court are surrounded by formal border plants of Buxus japonica ‘Japanese Box’ and Buxus sempervirens ‘English Box’. These, together with hedges of Michelia figo ‘Port Wine Magnolia’ and deciduous trees such as Sapium sebiferum ‘Chinese Tallow’, create a soft transition between the areas.

The traditional water and maze garden entertains both children and adults alike. A simple brick pathway and Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Mondo Grass’ border creates the maze, which has an elegant antique water urn set into a simple yet eloquent brick-coped reflective pond at its centre. Opposing traditional benches offer resting points for supervising adults or perhaps a quiet reflective external space.

The large rear covered timber verandah and smaller more intimate entertaining deck are well integrated with the external spaces and provide weatherproof sitting and entertaining areas. Each deck area has a different theme and feel with planting and lighting used to differentiate the spaces.

Traditional English-style garden plants, suitable for use in the Australian environment, have been utilised as formal planting avenues of trees, hedges and borders, and traditional brick paving of the entry path, driveway and paths elsewhere on the property integrate each space to the next room and complement the style of the home. Eclectic infill plantings of Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ and ‘Black Knight’, Anemone multifida ‘Cutleaf Anemone’, Anemone nemorosa ‘Wood Anemone’ and Agapanthus orientalis ‘Lily of the Nile’ give each room an individual feel.

At night time, the tennis court is lit with spotlights, the poolside cabana is well lit with LED downlighting in the ceiling for functional purposes which, together with energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the swimming pool and garden areas, create an interesting play of shadows, highlights and mood.

The residence’s smart home system is connected to a quality internal and external sound system as well as the landscape lights, irrigation, swimming pool heater, lights and spa jets.

This seamless outdoor renovation links stunning rooms, entertainment areas and gardens in a sophisticated style befitting this traditional, elegant home — a beautiful environment for the owners of this abode that no doubt adds immeasurably to the lifestyle amenity and value of the property.


For more information

A Total Concept Landscape Architects & Swimming Pool Designers



Originally from Outdoor Rooms magazine, Volume 22

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