A garden designed for people who love year-round outdoor entertaining
With an alfresco dining area, sunken spa, exotic plantings and warm ambient lighting, it’s difficult not to get into the holiday spirit and relax in this Melbourne garden retreat.
As the old garden was dull and uninviting, nothing less than a complete makeover was required. Keen to achieve the best result possible, the owners sought professional help, with credit for the design going to Gregg Chapman of Faulkner and Chapman Design and the kudos for the construction to Shawn Townsend and the team from Ashtown Landscapes.
Due to an uneven site, one of the first elements to be constructed was a curved Castlemaine stacked-stone wall. This is complemented by an area paved in random Castlemaine slate and surrounded by beds of pebbles. Providing a space where the owners can sit and enjoy the lush surrounds, the large paved area has an “off shoot” — a curved path that leads past a feature Japanese maple to the utilities area hidden behind timber screening.
Connecting the elevated seating area with the home’s integrated alfresco space is a path of large hand-selected Castlemaine steppers that wends its way through Palmetto buffalo lawn.
To enhance the owners’ enjoyment, a sunken spa with ironbark decking and built-in seating was installed. The rendered wall that acts as a backdrop to the spa matches the rendering used in the home’s alfresco area, helping to visually connect the two outdoor living spaces. This seamless transition from the alfresco area to the spa is further enhanced by the channel-set glass fence around the spa, which enables a clear and open view of the surroundings.
Further adding to the family’s enjoyment and enabling year-round use, the alfresco dining and lounge area features a Jetmaster outdoor fireplace for chilly evenings and a ceiling-mounted stainless-steel fan for hot sultry days. These crisply contemporary inclusions work in harmony with the warm natural tones of the ironbark decking and the matching timber-lined ceiling.
For maximum effect, the garden has been planted with an interesting mix of hardy plants. You will find pigmy date palms, bird of paradise, sago palms, liriope, yuccas, Alphonse Karr bamboo, Lomandra ‘Seascape’ and Michelia figo ‘Coco’, to name just a few. Goulburn ungraded pebbles were used as mulch for some of the garden beds located on the elevated platform at the rear of the garden; elsewhere, an organic mulch was used.
For easy maintenance and to ensure the plants remain healthy and lush looking, an automatic drip-irrigation system has been installed. Water for the irrigation system is provided by a rainwater tank. In addition, a clever rain sensor has been included so when it rains the system will not operate, saving precious water.
The garden is transformed at night through the extensive lighting system. Megabay bollards positioned around the paved seating area combine with uplights in the garden beds to create a whole new feeling, casting a warm glow over the entire space. The effect is enhanced by the use of Hunza brushed-chrome steplights and the ceiling lights in the alfresco dining and lounge area.
Landscape construction by Ashtown Landscapes Mobile 0411 355 232 (Shawn Townsend) Website www.ashtown.com.au Photography by Patrick Redmond