A garden design to welcome and offer easy flow to the property


This luxuriant award-winning garden embodies the special character of its distinctive woodland locale

This stunning coastal garden was designed for a family with three children and four dogs. They wanted an outdoor space for entertaining, but more importantly, they wanted a garden that would merge seamlessly with its surrounds in the Mount Eliza Woodland area on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. When the clients approached garden designer Alison Watson of Outdoor Designs, they asked her to create a design that would pay homage to the area and cater to the family’s love of spending time outdoors relaxing or socialising.

“They sought a garden with a casual, timeless coastal feel. The front garden was to be welcoming, open to form a connection to the natural surroundings, and include a new driveway using the existing crossover,” says Alison.

“The clients also wanted an entertaining space that could cope with busy family living as well as special places to sit and gather as a family or with friends — spaces where peace, quiet and calm could be enjoyed. Plantings were to be low maintenance, unirrigated, and incorporate the owners’ favourite colour — pink.

“Additionally, the design was to make sense of the existing levels and retain them in an attractive manner while allowing for an easy flow around the property.”

Local natural stone and gravel was chosen to fill the gabion walls and surface the pathways and the Quiet Courtyard, a space created to establish a connection to the land and provide a sense of place. “The Quiet Courtyard, with its bold, sculptural feature Corten steel panelling and minimal planting, was designed to create a private and beautiful view from the clients’ bathroom and dining area. It’s a therapeutic space to be in and to view from inside,” explains Alison.

The alfresco area’s footprint was extended past the eaves of the home to allow for large gatherings next to the interior living areas. A large fire pit zone with built-in gabion bench seating sits opposite the alfresco area and connects to the pool area.

The planting palette mainly features Australian natives supplement by some Mediterranean species. “In the front garden, matching Brachychiton populneus x acerifolius ‘Bella Pink’ feature trees were placed on either side of the driveway,” says Alison. “These trees, when in flower, feature the clients’ favourite colour (pink) and put on a beautiful show from the street. Correa alba low hedging frames the bluestone and exposed aggregate front path. Swathes of Poa labillardieri ‘Eskdale’ and clipped Westringa fruticose ‘Wynabbie Gem’ contribute evergreen structure while interest is provided by swathes of seasonal flowering groundcovers.

“In the Quiet Courtyard, planting was selected to tolerate the gravel-garden conditions. With this in mind, we used Grevillea rosamarinifolia ‘Scarlet Sprite’ and Euphorbia characias subsp. Wulfenii together with several succulent varieties and a feature tree, Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’.”

Planting in the Pink Meadow (side garden) and White Meadow (back garden), was chosen to provide beautiful seasonal views. You will spy Gaura lindheimeri ‘Belleza Dark Pink’, Agastache ‘Sweet Lil’ and Chamelaucium x verticodia ‘Paddy’s Pink’ in the Pink Meadow and Gaura lindheimeri ‘White’ and Lagerstroemia indica ‘Natchez’ in the White Meadow.

The luxuriant garden won Gold in the 2020 AILDM National Landscape Design Awards’ Plantscape category. The judges commented on the “excellent presentation of plant choices for the woodland garden the client was seeking” and noted that “the Quiet Courtyard is particularly lovely and a pleasing contrast to the more densely planted areas”.


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Outdoor Designs