Coasting along

Coasting along


By Diane Norris
Photography Patrick Redmond

Transformed in just four days, this coastal garden is a landscaping triumph.

garden renovations 

The first thing that captures the eye of visitors entering this beautifully landscaped property is the large peek-a-boo glass panel at the end of the crystal-blue swimming pool. Jessica Derrick of Style n’ Simplicity, who designed this landscape, was captivated by this amazing optical feature and made sure it remained the uninterrupted focal point from the moment she began drawing up plans for the new revamped garden.

The owners wanted a landscape filled with native plants, some of which were indigenous, that would harmonise with the surrounding area as well as give a coastal feel to their property at Blairgowrie, on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. And they wanted a small amount of lawn area to cater for their much loved dog, too.

However, constructing the landscape wasn’t a straightforward job. To start with, the garden was just a sloped mound of dirt. And the timing wasn’t ideal either as it needed to be done right before Christmas. Jessica initially suggested, because of the timeframe, that they place mulch over the whole outdoor space to keep the dust at bay and come back after the festive season to construct the garden.

It then occurred to her that the owner, Rod Layton of Layton Builders, had access to a bobcat. Perhaps this would enable the gardens to be shaped before mulching. Another little idea popped into her mind and that was while the bobcat was on-site the large granite rocks could be moved into place then the soil be manoeuvred around them.

With the help of Rod and his family, this garden transformation became a pre-Christmas makeover blitz. “It was a challenge, as I had no intention of even doing it as I was fully booked before Christmas but I didn’t want my clients to waste money by putting mulch down if we would have to rip it all up afterwards to excavate and shape the site,” says Jessica.

With a lot of sweat and determination, Jessica’s design was put into reality in just four days; a remarkable achievement.

The sloping front yard was moulded and tiered into the desired shape and a little lawn area created. There was a pathway required to lead from the gates to the steps near the deck through the slope. It is too steep for a continuous path, so the design was for steps along the length of the path to break it up allowing for easy walking. To do this and keep the natural bush feel of the garden, flat granite rocks were used for the steps.

The plants were to be native and, where possible, indigenous. These not only kept the natural coastal feel of the environment but also were conscious water-wise choices. “The theme was to make you feel like you were walking down a path to the beach, with plants coming out into the path so there was no definite border from the path to the garden beds,” says Jessica.

The main plantings included a range of striking kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos sp.), Westringia ‘Wynyabbie Gem’, Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii), Willow myrtle (Agonis flexuosa) and Swamp Foxtail (Pennisetum alopecuroides). Set amid the plantings are sculptural elements and feature rocks that add points of interest and textural contrast.

The stunning pool, with its amazing glass feature wall, remains the focal point of the landscape and has been further enhanced by the naturally sympathetic landscape design. All in all, this is a remarkable landscaping story. The owners and Jessica’s team worked hand in hand within a very limited timeframe to make a dream design become reality.