Outdoor Oasis

Outdoor Oasis


garden designs

A low-maintenance outdoor entertaining space for a busy, modern family

Modern backyards have become very much an extension of the home, as is the case with this contemporary outdoor entertaining area in Perth, created by designer Denise Staffa of Outside In. Stepping out through bi-fold doors at the rear of the home, guests are immediately struck by the transformation: what was once a barren yard has been turned into a magnificent alfresco entertaining space.

In this backyard oasis, many design features vie for attention but the one that garners the most comments is the raised deck and daybed tucked into one corner of the yard. This area is perfect for unwinding at the end of a long, hard day at work or for relaxing with friends with a cool drink.

For the decking, daybed and timber slat screening (which hides the shed), Denise chose batu timber. To create a seamless transition from house to garden, she decided to paint the parapet wall a rich plum colour to match an accent colour used on the house — this reaffirms the backyard as an extension of the home and turns the wall into a focal point.

“The parapet wall was definitely the starting point for the design,” says Denise. “I worked everything around this. It created a great backdrop to what was really just a paddock of weeds when I arrived.”

The main entertaining zone is under the covered pergola that extends from the back of the house. The focal point of this area is a water feature. The interesting mix of contrasting materials used in its creation — stacked stone, timber, pebbles and aluminium — has created a wonderful textured effect enhanced at night by lighting.

When selecting plants to establish the garden beds, Denise chose different heights and colours to add interest and depth to the project. Some were chosen for specific purposes while others are purely decorative. Hibiscus tiliaceous ‘Rubra’ has been used for screening and to add colour. Rhoeo spathacea (also known as Moses in the Cradle) was planted as an accent border, providing deep purples and greens that tie in with the colour of the parapet wall. To give the garden a mature look, advanced frangipanis have been used in the lawn area where the family’s much-loved dog, a King Charles Cocker Spaniel, loves to play. And to give definition to the path that leads to the shed, there is a series of terrazzo planters filled with herbs.

The fences were there before the revamp but have been painted grey to blend into the new design, which incorporates oyster-grey washed aggregate concrete paving. Eventually, the hibiscus will grow to mask the fence lines and give the backyard a feeling of enclosure.

As the owners frequently entertain, lighting was imperative to the design. At night the outdoor areas come alive with well-placed up-lighting, which is used to highlight certain plants and the textured stone backdrop of the water feature.

Finishing touches, such as the brightly coloured pots and cushions, a contemporary artwork on the parapet wall and metalwork birds, mean the homeowners’ personalities can shine through the design, giving the outdoor areas an individual look and a homely feel that make them ideal for entertaining or just relaxing with friends.

Project details
Landscape design and construction by Outside In (Showroom/Office) 370/A Canning Highway, Como WA 6152 Phone (08) 9450 4922 Email enquiry@outsidein.net.au
Website www.outsidein.net.au Photography by Ron Tan