Resort style living can be achieved with a rear garden much like this


If you crave a little resort-style luxury, this landscape is sure to inspire

On a picturesque large block in Wonga Park, situated on the cusp of the Yarra Ranges in Victoria, landscape designer David Franklin knew he needed to create something “epic”. He decided to go the resort style living route, creating a garden that would, he says, “make you question why you would ever need to go on holidays again”.

“This is a big property, hence it had to have a grand entrance. There is a big, sweeping driveway bordered with a classic country-style planting palette and Castlemaine slate stonework that we hand-chipped. Moving to the rear garden, I flipped the switch, creating a modern resort-style entertaining area and a monster swimming pool and spa for major wow factor.”

The rear garden offers myriad places to relax or entertain, starting with a new extension to the covered deck at the rear of the home. This area boasts a barbecue integrated into a “floating” concrete benchtop and, nearby, a breakfast bar overlooking the pool where you can share a drink or enjoy a casual meal.

This part of the deck also offers a bird’s-eye view of the pergola daybed, firepit area and the poolside lounging deck, out of which grows a pair of palms in true resort style living. This area was highlighted by a merbau timber-clad planter box filled with Strelitzia nicolai and Dichondra repens ‘Silver Falls’, which houses a brass strip detail that David chose to add to the glitz and glamour of the resort style.

Then there is the bright and bold new pool and spa, built by Franklin Pools Australia. “The old pool wasn’t really practical and the spa didn’t work spatially, so we built a new one,” says David. “I decided to include a much bigger circular spa with an overflow edge within the new pool and clad it with bright-blue Bisazza glass mosaic tiles for a high-class finish. This spa is the best size for entertaining at any level.”

Material selection is key and here, for the hardscape elements, David favoured natural materials. “For richness of colour and visual interest, we used a mix of Castlemaine slate crazy paving and wall cladding with a sawn basalt,” he says. “The Castlemaine slate adds a nice colour tone that matches the facade of the house, while the bluestone adds a more modern feel out towards the rear garden. For durability and ease of maintenance for our client, we used merbau timber for the decking.”

As in all of David’s gardens, the plants play a crucial role in creating structure and scale. In the front garden, an avenue of Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’ line the driveway, Pyrus ‘Capital’ surround the water feature, while a large Phoenix canariensis leads the eye towards the firepit and pool area. For a Hollywood resort-style living feel in the rear garden, David opted for tropical plants such as Strelitzia nicolai, Dichondra repens and Gardenia ‘Radicans’. Betula pendula ‘Moss White’ are scattered throughout the design to allow dappled shade to combat the summer heat.

Capping it all off, David couldn’t allow this design to lose impact once the sun goes down. Like any holiday resort, big-impact lighting was pivotal to the design, highlighting the best features within the garden. From uplighting the feature trees to adding lights to the pool, spa and paths, not to mention the strip lighting for the bench seat near the firepit area, this sure is the place to be on hot summer nights.


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