Picture perfect: an engaging European-style garden

Picture perfect: an engaging European-style garden


From every vantage point, this captivating European-style garden offers something to engage and delight the eye

Day or night, the outdoor spaces that envelope this Melbourne home present a picture of elegant simplicity and European élan. This is due to the construction expertise of Darren Willmott, director of DJ Landscapes & Pools, and his eye for design. When Darren came on board, the owner presented him with a design she had previously commissioned but as she felt it fell short of the mark, she looked to him to refine it.

“The client had a very clear and detailed picture in her head and provided lots of images of the look she was after,” explains Darren. “The resulting garden is of largely European design. It draws inspiration from the colour of Monet’s garden in Giverny, France and the colourful, rambling gardens of Spain. In particular, a lot of the planting is inspired by what I saw last summer in the garden of the Prado Museum in Madrid.”

For the plants, which give the garden both structure and interest, Darren looked to Warners Nurseries and Pinewood Nursery. Darren’s team planted more than 80 Waterhousea floribunda (weeping lilly pillies) around the perimeter of the property. In the rear garden, crepe myrtles were used as feature trees along with a single jacaranda, while in the front garden, a row of Acer palmatum ‘Ozakazuki’ (a Japanese maple with vivid autumn colours) draw the eye. The trees are complemented by mass plantings of gardenias, salvias, Agastache ‘Blue Boa’, convolvulus and Trachelospermum asiaticum.

With an eye to sustainability, DJ Landscapes installed a 20,000-litre underground rainwater tank to provide water for the Wi-Fi-controlled irrigation system, which was supplied by Smart Water Wantirna.

For most of the hardscape elements, DJ Landscapes looked to Bamstone, who supplied the bluestone that features throughout. ”Sawn bluestone was used for the paving, feature steps and drop-downs around the swimming pool while bluestone cladding was used on the pool wall. This was complemented by the use of Castlemaine slate walls and stepping pavers,” says Darren.
The alfresco area is a standout feature of the project. It is equipped with a barbecue and heating, offers a magnificent view of the garden and is accessed via a sweeping staircase upon which sits a water feature.

The decorative elements were selected with care and sourced from Water Features Direct. This includes the water feature on the staircase leading up to the alfresco and the feature pots around the pool and lower courtyard. To highlight the plants and decorative elements at night, there are more than 75 lights. These were all supplied by Gardens at Night and are Bluetooth-controlled.
For DJ Landscapes, this was a challenging yet rewarding project. “The site had very limited access and all materials were brought in over a 1600mm wall. We also had to incorporate the structure of the existing garden with the new garden and levels,” says Darren. “To achieve the result we did, we had a team of six people who worked on all aspects of the paving, concreting, plant selection and installation, fencing, lighting and irrigation.”

Created to perfectly complement the custom-built abode by Stonehaven Homes, this is a European-style garden that will only improve with age. Says Darren, “The areas of planted colour will take 12 months to flourish but when that happens, the whole garden will be awash with beautiful, bright blooms.”

For more information

D.J Landscapes