Garden symphony: outdoor design


Of dateless design and enduring elegance, this outdoor sanctuary is a contemporary classic

Gardens with a compelling classical undertone are always in favour. There is something timeless about them and they have a restrained elegance that ensures they transcend passing fads and changing trends.

This garden in Seaforth, north of Sydney, is a melodious mix of classic and contemporary notes that strike a pitch-perfect chord, thanks to the expertise of designer Matt Leacy, founder of Landart Landscapes + Pools.

“The homeowners’ brief was to create a functional, free-flowing space for the family and their friends,” explains Matt. “Places to play, swim and entertain were a necessity. In terms of the design, it has a lot of classic elements with a simple, refined palette of materials and plants. There are definitely contemporary elements as well, though.”

Creating a seamless indoor-outdoor transition, the home’s bifold doors open onto a dining area paved in classic travertine. From there, a sweeping set of steps ushers you to the upper terrace, where the main outdoor entertaining space, a fire pit retreat and a swimming pool await.

“The scale and proportions of the spaces are really comfortable,” says Matt. “I like the way we have created lots of rooms and spaces that feel completely connected to each other. There is a really comfortable transition between each space and the level change has been used to our advantage and almost goes unnoticed.”

Of special note is the way the pool spillover connects the lower area of the garden to the pool level. In doing so, the water is brought closer to the interior of the house so it can be appreciated from anywhere.

The entertaining spot includes a drinks bar with an integrated barbecue cooktop, sink and fridge. The benchtop is of white composite stone and the feature tile on the front of the bar is a cement tile, handmade in Morocco, from Popham Design.

Australian spotted gum hardwood was used for the decking. This helps to soften the look of the natural stone that was used extensively throughout the garden and around the pool.

“Pleached pears were used to create the visual framework of the garden and a divide between the main open entertaining space, the pool and the second larger grassed area. They also provide the scale needed for such a large space,” adds Matt.

These engaging avenues of pears contribute a quintessentially classic design element, the effect of which is beautifully enhanced at night by strategically placed uplights.

The most engaging gardens look as if they were “meant to be”. They are like a well-written symphony in which each integral element — water, plants, decor, lighting — is in perfect harmony, not just with each other, but with the home the garden envelops. Here, Matt Leacy of Landart has proven himself to be the most accomplished of garden composers.

For more information

Originally in Outdoor Design & Living, Volume 34

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