Journey of discovery: outdoor haven


Offering something new at each turn, this luxuriant outdoor haven is a treat for all of the senses

A steeply sloping block may be a challenge but it also presents an opportunity to create something truly amazing. The owners of this property looked to Nathan Boutros of Iconic Design & Landscaping to take the previously inaccessible lowest level of their rear garden and turn it into a gathering space — in short, a destination point. Moreover, it needed to be easy to access and the journey from the house down to the bottom of the garden an enriching sensory experience.

The bespoke tropical resort-style outdoor haven responds to the needs of the owners and the specifics of the site with precision, starting with the pavilion built at the garden’s lowermost level. Open on all sides and embraced by flourishing foliage, this is a place where the owners can unwind or entertain. The sense of connection with nature makes this space very special and the use of timber for the construction of the deck and pavilion adds to the visual warmth. Passage to the pavilion from the rear of the house is via a boardwalk-style series of timber platforms and steps. Before you reach the pavilion, however, there is a lounge deck where you can stop and rest. The deck is furnished with a modular sofa and matching coffee table and, thanks to the use of frameless glass fencing, provides an uninterrupted view of the layered garden.

One of the most arresting elements of the garden is the man-made rock water feature that cascades over several levels, terminating next to the pavilion where it cools the air and adds to the relaxed ambience. At one point, the water feature is traversed by a bridge with log posts connected by rope. These act as handrails and add to the authentic look and feel. Creating a rich, tropical-style environment that would look as natural as possible was essential. There are flourishing ferns and mass plantings of the strappy-leaved Lomandra longifolia ‘Tanika’ for a softening effect. For a splash of vibrant pinky-red colour, there is Cordyline fruticosa ‘Rubra’ while the large leaves of the Philodendron ‘Xanadu’ add a sense of abundance. For privacy and shade, there is ghost bamboo (Dendrocalamus minor var. amoenus).

As the garden and pavilion were to be used for entertaining at night, and there was a series of levels to be safely navigated, a carefully considered lighting scheme was imperative. This is extensive and includes lighting along the edge of the boardwalk platforms and steps, uplighting to plants and feature trees, underwater lighting in the tiered water feature along with tiki-style torches to add to the tropical resort vibe.

Iconic Design & Landscaping is a full-service landscape and swimming pool design and construction company based in the inner-Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction. Company owner, Nathan Boutros, oversees an experienced, qualified team that includes project managers, landscape artists, stonemasons, carpenters, bricklayers, builders and horticulturists who can cater to all your landscaping and pool needs.

For more information

Iconic Design & Landscaping

Photography by Danny Kildare

Originally in Outdoor Design & Living Magazine Issue 35

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