With its formal lines and simple, sophisticated approach to planting, this modern formal garden has a look that will never date
With work already underway on the new home, Tom Fritsch, director of Vividgreen Landscapes was called in to design a garden that would complement the scale, architectural style and finish of the contemporary two-storey abode.
The owners sought a structured garden; one that would look good from every angle and require scant maintenance. What Tom delivered was a garden with a modern formal feel, a simple, logical layout and well-proportioned spaces, the view of which can be appreciated from both inside and outside of the home.
“I kept the lines clean and the number of hard surface materials to a minimum so the planting palette, with its mix of contrasting textures, shapes and colours would be the main point of interest,” explains Tom. “That said, it was important that the planting integrated sympathetically with the home, effectively framing and softening it.”
In selecting the trees, Tom considered how they could be used as a feature in their own right, to divide spaces or create balance and a sense of depth. Consideration was also given to the trees’ mature height and ease of maintenance.
“As the home is perched high on a corner block, I chose ‘Moss White’ silver birch trees for the front corner of the property. This gives privacy to the front living room windows from the street below yet still allows enough transparency for the home to be appreciated by passers-by,” explains Tom. “We then used the same birch trees in the pool area and side entrance for consistency, to divide up pathways and add height.”
To provide an impressive view through the floor-to-ceiling window in the home’s foyer, Tom chose a Japanese maple as the feature planting, drawn by its distinctive trunk and vibrant seasonal foliage. “As the garden bed is so close to the house, a small tree was needed and using a deciduous tree made sense as it would let more light filter into the home through the cooler months of the year,” says Tom.
“To offset the seasonal feature trees, add structure and screen the property, there are hedges of evergreen ficus, viburnum and Portuguese laurel, while ‘Little Gem’ and ‘Teddy Bear’ magnolias were used for their contrasting glossy green and brown foliage. To fill out the garden areas there are low shrubs and groundcovers of Canary Island ivy, ligularia, clivia, raphiolepsis, arthropodium and Japanese spurge.”
The planting stands out against a background of white rendered walls and Grey Granite paving. Says Tom, “From design through to construction we put a lot of effort into the planning and preparation of the hard surface areas to ensure the look was clean-lined and minimalist and the installation structurally sound.”
The home was already well served with lighting to entertaining areas, entranceways and pathways, but the Vividgreen Landscapes team did install garden spike and directional lighting to illuminate features such as the Japanese maple and the silver birch trees.
Positioned to provide a clear sightline to the swimming pool, the covered alfresco area was another key element of the design. It includes benchtops that run the full width of the wall, an outdoor fridge, sink, cabinetry, barbecue and rangehood. To achieve such an enduringly stylish end result, Vividgreen worked closely with the builder, Living Edge Group and the homeowners.
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