Harbour-Side Haven

Harbour-Side Haven


generic_BGDI_thumbnail.jpgCapturing pristine views of Sydney Harbour, this high-rise outdoor living area is a stunner  
Story: Karen Booth

Many crave the convenience of high-rise living but are reluctant to forgo having some kind of garden — just as long as it’s easy to maintain! Neither do they want to be left behind in the outdoor entertaining stakes. The designers of the more upmarket apartment developments have begun taking this into consideration, making provision for somewhat larger, better oriented balconies.

With its wonderful view of Sydney Harbour and bushland hugging the far side of the bay, this apartment — which flows over two levels — is cocooned within a block boasting a residents-only marina — what more could you ask of waterfront living? 

A strong, contemporary palette of colours was chosen for the exterior finish of the apartment. The upper balcony serves the master bedroom while the lower balcony, with its sheltered courtyard, is accessed from the kitchen and dining room.

The owners travel frequently, so any outdoor design had to take maintenance matters into consideration and any plant material had to be hardy enough to survive with no attention at all for periods as long as one week. But when the owners are in town, they like to entertain, so the outdoor design had to cater for that, too.

And, finally, the design was not to draw the eye away from the impressive harbour and bushland views, so simplicity was to be the key.

The task of designing the outdoor spaces was given to Balcony Gardens Australia. To frame the seating area on the upper level and soften the bold colours and solid architecture of the building, the designers employed tapered square pots planted with agaves (Agave attenuata). Agaves are a hardy succulent with a bold architectural shape that works well in the kind of exposed drying conditions typically encountered on a balcony. To prevent soil erosion from wind, smooth river stones were placed around the base of each plant.

The large lower level balcony leads into a small courtyard that the designers turned into a special feature by manipulating perspective to make this outdoor room seem farther away than it really is, giving it an extra sense of privacy. This was achieved by placing pots at the entrance and attaching a trio of dry ripple plaques on the back wall.

The design theme is continued through the main outdoor dining/cooking area with its tapered square pots, potted agaves and river stones.