Inner Sydney Oasis garden featuring lounge shower and vertical planting profile

This inner-Sydney oasis garden offers a tranquil escape


This delightful project is an inner-Sydney oasis garden that provides a spa-like experience amidst the hustle and bustle of urban living

Reminiscent of a spa retreat, this bijou inner-Sydney oasis garden refuge offers the ultimate luxury courtyard experience. Simon Munn and the Urban Garden Enrichment team were charged with building the new garden, designed by Steve Warner from OUTHOUSE design, and the result is picture-perfect.

“The landscape architect was commissioned to design a private garden oasis in a popular inner-city location. It is a very small space so it was imperative to achieve a balanced look that emphasised clean lines and seamlessly linked elements. Working with quality materials was equally important,” says Simon.

“The brief required an outdoor dining zone and a built-in barbecue with a benchtop linked to a bespoke built-in sunlounge. A low garden edge wall was designed as a visual link leading to a more secluded space with a raised sun lounge deck, tactile planting and sunken spa bath — a place of sanctuary in the middle of a bustling city.”

Many elements were curved and the site so small, each had to be precisely manufactured and every stage thoroughly planned and executed.

Urban Garden Enrichment’s list of construction accomplishments includes the concrete bench customised by Set in Steel for the installation of the barbecue, and the carpenter-built seat and under bench shelves and doors. Sharing equal prominence is the complex, built-on-site curved daybed and the customised accoya timber sunlounge with ambient lighting installed under the seat.

“The decking was customised to meet the curves around the spa and planter boxes and created so it could be removed for access to the spa services, drain outlet and irrigation inside the planter box,” adds Simon. “The customised metal planter boxes, and metal retaining wall around the spa were fabricated offsite by PO Box Designs and installed onsite, were an essential component of the design.

“Each travertine paver was cut individually offsite to create organically shaped stepping stones and glued to the prepared concrete blocks; the exposed render was then painted black. A customised sliding rail and hook was installed to store the spa cover.”

The planting palette is perfection itself. The landscape architect sourced a frangipani as a feature plant, which is complemented by five Cyathea cooperi tree ferns, each more than two metres tall, for privacy from the street above. “To create more privacy, assorted succulents were chosen for the upper wall area, and to add more greenery, stainless steel wire rope was bolted to the wall to encourage the growth of the Stephanotis floribunda,” says Simon. “Rhapis excelsa and bromeliads were retained and reused in the fresh planting.”

In the 2021 TLA Landscape Excellence Awards, this urban oasis won a top honour — Residential Landscape Construction of the Year — as well as Gold in the Residential Construction $50,000-$100,000 category. The project was also a finalist in the AILDM National Design Awards 2021.

For more information

Urban Garden Enrichment

This project is an entrant in the Outdoor Design 2022 NSW Landscaper of the Year Awards, celebrating residential design innovation and construction excellence. All entrants were featured in Outdoor Design Issue 42, with winners to be announced in Outdoor Design Issue 43.