A Northern Beaches garden that blends coastal views with understated design


This simple, carefully considered northern beaches design makes the most of the home’s coastal location and prized beach views

This property, located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, offers to-die-for coastal views from the front, which is why the swimming pool and an entertaining area were located there. To take advantage of the cooling shade and provide respite from the strong north-easterly winds in summer, a second, more sheltered entertaining area was located to the rear of the property. All entertaining areas and gardens, along with the new pool, were designed and project-managed by John Storch of A Total Concept, an award-winning company specialising in landscape architecture and swimming pool design.

“The secluded entertaining area was set adjacent to the indoor gym and has a strong visual link to the lounge and kitchen; also the pool at the opposite side of the home,” explains John. “It was designed as a broad sunken area that incorporates existing masonry walls and recycled hardwood timber palisade walls that act as informal seating. There’s also matching recycled hardwood timber decking , a fire pit, lighting for night time use and the entire area is surrounded by hardy native gardens.”

From the home, garage and lawn areas, the entertaining space is accessed via wide timber steps which are illuminated after dark by concealed strip lighting. The steps also provide overflow seating and reference the the recycled hardwood timber decking used within the sunken outdoor room.

In the front garden, the existing pool was demolished and replaced with a rectangular pool with an infinity edge. A paved entertaining area was also built. Says John, “This is surrounded by simple garden areas that, together with the use of paving in a similar tone to the flooring inside the home, ensure that new and old spaces are well integrated.

“In this part of the garden, the intent was to create an easy flow from the home to the outdoor areas with clean-lined, understated design. It was important that we didn’t detract from the main feature, that being the views of Manly and Shelly Beaches.”

The pool is lit with energy-efficient LED lighting. “The washes of light and dancing shadows create an appealing ambience and are a strong visual feature that can be appreciated at night when the beaches are not seen,” says John. For ease of use, all of the electrical elements of the project, such as the garden lights, irrigation system and the pool lights and heating, are linked to the home’s smart switching system.

“The dappled blue of the glass tiles used on the interior surface of the geometrically shaped pool is reflected by the sparkling water and contrasts beautifully with the soft greys of the limestone used in the paved entertaining area — also the greys in the foliage of some of the plants,” he adds.

The gardens contain an eclectic mix of robust coastal plant species, many of them Australian natives. The list includes bromeliads in various shades of grey, Senecio rowleyanus (known to many as string of pearls), Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, Senecio ‘Chalk Sticks’, Carpobrotus glaucescens, Yucca elephantipes ‘Silver Spears’, Crassula ovata ‘Blue Bird’, Senecio serpens, Kalanchoe thrysiflora and Rhaphiolepis ‘Snow Maiden’.

In summing up, John says, “The visual simplicity of the design and the subtle use of quality materials unifies the project and sets the components well into the surrounding landscaped gardens to provide two stunning outdoor rooms and a contemporary new pool. The end result is a beautifully integrated lifestyle and entertaining complex for the owners of this property. “
A Total Concept is an established, award-winning design and management practice specialising in the integration of beautiful and functional pools, gardens and cabanas for projects ranging from simple family homes to elaborate residential properties; also boutique and resort-style developments. For this project, John and the team at A Total Concept have succeeded in creating an exquisite outdoor environment for the homeowners — one that maximises its natural surroundings, reflects the practice’s philosophy of “A Total Concept” and adds immeasurably to the lifestyle amenity and value of the property.

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