Resolving the challenges posed by multiple level changes, this garden makeover is a resounding success
Story: Georgia Harper, MAILDM
Photos: Patrick Redmond
This garden in the inner suburbs of Melbourne was suffering from many years of neglect and showing clear signs of deterioration. The new owners wanted to make a change. They have small children to cater for and entertaining is an important part of their life. The garden they inherited with the house did not allow easy and safe play for the kids — they were unable to keep an eye on them from the house — and the entertaining area adjacent to the house was cramped, damp and run-down-looking with uneven brick paving and rotten timber retaining walls.
The main issue was the layout of the garden: this was made up of many small levels and each was different, with no relationship or link to the next area. The overall effect was a very tired-looking, fragmented garden that seemed much smaller than it actually was.
The house itself had been renovated to a high standard, but the state of the garden really let it down. It was clear that we needed to establish some areas where children could play safely and where adults could entertain, and we needed to create a generally more open and modern feeling to the garden.
The area closest to the house was a very narrow paved area that was too cramped to be used for entertaining more than a few people at a time, so we pushed back the retaining wall towards the pool, opening up this area to a more usable size and creating an indoor-outdoor link in the process.
The area to the rear of the pool was re-levelled to slope gently from back to front, curving around behind the pool and rolling down toward the house. The perimeter was planted out to ensure privacy from neighbouring properties, keeping to low-maintenance and low-water-usage plants, a prerequisite of any garden makeover during these times of ongoing drought and ever-escalating water restrictions.
The pool itself was stripped and re-tiled — and we added a spa large enough to accommodate the whole family (plus a few friends). By adding water channels from the spa into the pool, we were able to link the two, creating the impression that both were built together. With frameless glass pool fencing, the whole garden is visible, making it appear even larger than it is, and the owners have a clear view to every corner of the garden to keep an eye on the kids.
The result has been very successful — a 70s relic transformed into a modern, stylish and family-friendly space. By carefully redesigning the garden to work as a whole, rather than as several small areas, the whole family can use the entire garden, with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy.