Get some inspiration from the latest outdoor projects
01. Tropical oasis
Exceptional design, clever creation of multiple living spaces and quality landscaping that will stand the test of time make this garden in Coolum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast an absolute standout. The design sees different zones merge seamlessly through consistent use of natural materials, and a green, tropical planting palette enhancing the coastal vibe. From the kids’ retreat to vegetable gardens and the pool area with spectacular views towards the mountains and the ocean, every part of the land has been thoughtfully considered and utilised to the brim.
Hidden behind a screen of large palms and other plants, the space created for the family’s teenagers includes recycled timber seating around a firepit, synthetic grass for play and relaxation, undercover seating for reading and homework, and to top it off, a viewing platform accessed by a spiral staircase to check out the surf. Creating beautiful spaces that feel part of the house was a critical element of the design, treating the outside with as much care and precision as the indoors for effortless enjoyment.
With a 12m fall over the site and poor access, it was also essential to ensure quality of materials and construction for long-term liveability and sustainability. This was not lost on the team from Living Style Landscapes, who took the job seriously and made sure to use low-maintenance and long-lasting materials throughout, and installed a cloud-based smart irrigation system to support longevity of the garden. The planning and organising of the materials alone made the project a complex one, and while significant amounts of materials were carried by hand, the project could not have been possible without a 100-tonne crane with the height and distance to reach the back of the house from the road. It needed to be done only once, and what a magnificent result it is. Photography by Julien Bastien. livingstyleco.com.au
02. Heritage beauty
Heritage architecture and contemporary living come together in an elaborate canvas of perennial planting and repurposed materials at this 1880s Melbourne home. With its Regency-style columns and iron filigree detailing, the house needed a garden to match its stately grandeur. Paying homage to the home’s heritage, Ian Barker Gardens worked with existing garden features and landscape elements to maintain practicality and functionality, while enhancing the garden with thoughtful planting and landscape design elements.
Showcasing timeless beauty, the front garden was brought to life with a range of perennials, including Salvia and Sedum varieties, Iris, Echinacea purpurea, Geranium renardii, Verbena bonariensis and Nepeta faassenii, planted in generously sized 1300sqm garden beds. With the front door of the home located to the side, the challenge was to guide visitors to the entrance and also create a sense of arrival. To achieve this, the existing pathway was widened to give it scale, while a square opening was established outside the front door to act as an external foyer. Layered plantings of Boxed Hedge, Salvia and Camellia sasanqua also guide the eye up to the home’s facade.
In contrast, a more contemporary approach was applied to the backyard. The design is deliberately simple, with lawn, pool and outdoor entertaining room, and different sections linked to one another with large bluestone pavers. Once a stable, the outdoor entertaining room was meticulously restored in its original footprint, using the original brick and recycled beams. A huge sliding door made from recycled spotted gum and set on a metal slider allows the outdoor room to be enclosed, creating a more private space. Topped off with a pizza oven, there is no end to the new garden’s entertaining options, embracing the homeowners and visitors with a comforting feel that flows from being enveloped in nature. Photography by Claire Takacs and Erik Holt. landscape.net.au
03. Natural alignment
One of the best ways to create a relaxing outdoor space is to make it highly functional, low maintenance, and blending seamlessly with its surroundings. At this rural haven in Victoria, PTA Landscapes used hardwood timber, stone, gravel, non-slip textured granite pavers and gabion baskets containing granite rock to align with the rustic landscape and add visual interest to the design. The creation of separate levels and terraces improved the useability of what was previously a severe slope, and the design harmonises seamlessly with a stunning luxury outdoor pool.
Plants were chosen for their form and hardiness and include native grasses to mirror the surrounds, cycads for a strong structural element, Star Jasmine for colour and fragrance around the pool, and clusters of Bird of Paradise to give a stunning splash of colour when in bloom. The easy-care plants are irrigated by water harvested directly from the on-site dam, making looking after the garden effortless.
At night, it becomes a magical wonderland, with LED strip lighting under the hardwood stairs as well as bollard lighting. With a firepit and views across to the dam, this award-winning country garden is all about understated elegance for casual yet refined living. Photos by Patrick Redmond. ptalandscapes.com.au
04. Whimsical and romantic
A whimsical garden was an integral part of architect Beth George’s major refurbishment of a home in Subiaco, Perth, for her archaeologist sister. In this unique home, the intention was to create a bespoke garden for every room in the house to reflect different moods and sense of place. With the landscaping delivered to perfection by Banksia & Lime, each one of the gardens tells its own story, and together they form a rich narrative of family and history to be handed down through generations, with reminders of nostalgic special moments in the family’s life.
It’s a garden filled with colour and creativity, a daring landscape design that artfully incorporates a plethora of styles including succulent, minimalist, cottage and meadow. As part of the home’s renovation, a void was cut into the western edge and a light-filled courtyard was created, which is now boasting swathes of vibrant living colour and texture. There’s a pink, fluffy courtyard heart in a nod to the couple’s daughters, a backyard lawn for play, and a dramatic green, seasonally golden cascade from the upper balcony to add a soft textural layer to the hard surfaces of the home’s exterior.
Acknowledging its important role in biodiversity, the garden boasts a total of more than 70 different plant species in a mix of endemic, productive and exotic. Almost all of the mature trees were retained, while low-water plantings were preferred and proper irrigation installed.
This highly individualised landscape was achieved through close collaboration between the architect, client and landscape architect. Clever design, thoughtful plant composition and a bit of risk-taking has brought this eclectic garden to life as an adventurous, diverse place to play, explore and unwind. Photos by Benjamin Hosking. banksialime.com.au