Coastal Chic

Coastal Chic


garden designs

Displaying great respect for indigenous plant species, this garden is truly Australian

Tucked behind sand dunes and cosseted by coastal tea tree scrub, this weekender on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is a place of retreat, far away from the pressures of city life.

The pavilion — a destination in its own right — has an extensive array of features because it is situated some distance from the house and needed to be largely self-contained. It is finished in the same exterior cladding as the home and houses a bar, sink, fridge, cupboards, seating, toilet and shower. The barbecue, with its weatherproof bench and mosaic splashback, is located to one side of the structure.

On the leeward side of the pavilion, where it is protected from the winds, the pool presents a commanding view. There is a similarly impressive view of the pool as you descend the timber steps from the front lawn and pass through the existing indigenous Melaleuca lanceolata (Moonah trees). Linking the pool to the pavilion is jarrah decking. The jarrah is being left to age, with the silver-grey tones giving the entire space a relaxed, coastal flavour.

The entertaining precinct comprises the pool, deck, dining area, pavilion and barbecue. This space is fenced with frameless glass for safety and because it enables the rest of the garden and lawn areas to be enjoyed by the children with or without supervision. The fence is largely invisible and thus the entertaining precinct seems to merge with the surrounding gardens, lawns and indigenous shrubbery.

The gardens and lawn areas are punctuated by existing Melaleuca lanceolata and the design has been based on preserving them and creating a new environment in which these elegant coastal trees play an integral role. Leptospermum laevigatum has also been preserved wherever possible.

Some existing shrubs, such as Myoporum insulare and Leptospermum myrsinoides, have been preserved and new specimens have also been planted to compensate for some unavoidable vegetation loss in order to accommodate the pool and pavilion. Allocasuarina littoralis and Allocasuarina verticillata have been used to provide screening and privacy and extensive plantings of Poa labillardieri, Patersonia occidentalis, Arthropodium strictum and Dianella revoluta provide tufted texture and interest.

An indigenous variety of Dianella brevicaulis has also been used for a formal tufted border planting effect. This allowed us to give some structure to the garden without being too obvious about it. This tufted theme has been continued with mass plantings of Lomandra longifolia.

Correa alba and Correa reflexa have been utilised to provide a softer contrast to the tufted plantings, with Leucophyta brownii and Goodenia ovata also acting as a gentle shrubby foil.

Using mainly local species was essential as the soil is extremely sandy and alkaline due to a limestone bedrock base, but that didn’t stop me from introducing New Zealand flaxes in specific positions. The sword-shaped leaves of the Phormium ‘Maori Surprise’ provide textural relief and the maroon and yellow colours add visual interest

The entire outdoor environment has been extensively lit for evening enjoyment and use. A combination of traditional low-voltage halogen and LED lights are integrated with the lighting of the pavilion and the pool to provide a sense of drama at night and enhance the mood for entertaining.

Project details
Landscape design by Scott Brown Landscape Design Phone (03) 9596 7244 (Brighton office) Phone (03) 9417 6654 (East Melbourne office)
Email Website Photography by Patrick Redmond