A largely neutral palette boasts accents of vibrant red to create a striking aesthetic
Words: Rachel Falzon
Photos: Patrick Redmond
With a contemporary-style residence demanding attention from the street, the owners wanted to transform their flat, rather dull front and rear gardens into something that would better suit the home. The revamp, completed by Pindara Landscaping & Design, had to complement the distinctive architecture of the house, which meant the use of a mixed palette of materials.
To add interest, a series of garden beds at varying heights were installed, effectively creating separate zones that feel like part of the whole. For example, there are built-up planter boxes and timber bench seating has been incorporated, which easily transitions from the ground via timber decking steps that serve as platforms.
There are several areas where family and friends can sit to take best advantage of the sun and shade, depending on the weather — from the undercover entertaining area to the courtyard-style table and chairs. The layout encourages the family and any visitors to wander the landscape thanks to the seamless flow from one area to another — and from front garden to rear garden.
Splashes of vibrant red can be seen around the landscape and accessories have been chosen to keep with the colour theme. Modern metal features and a panel of coloured glass contribute to the contrast with the natural tones of the timber and stone. The gardens have a certain sense of drama that achieves a unique look.
A busy lifestyle calls for a low-maintenance landscape — somewhere the owners can enjoy spending time rather than maintain it. That’s why they opted for artificial grass in both front and rear gardens. The owners didn’t want to have to do any weeding or mowing but they did want some patches of green, hence the use of artificial turf. The green of these modestly sized patches of lawn contributes to the wonderful contrast of colours, materials and textures that together make a strong impression.
In the rear garden, there wasn’t a lot of room for an entertaining area, so built-in seating was considered the best option. To add interest and variety, a coloured glass feature panel, industrial aluminium cladding, a fountain and wall plaque (the latter two pieces made of metal) were included in the landscape’s design. The metal inclusions harmonise with the sheetmetal capping that was used for the painted cement sheet fencing.
The plants selected provide architectural elements and strong features. Choosing to place the most interesting plants close to a single-coloured wall meant the plants became highlighted, drawing the eye.
The built-up planter boxes host aloes and yuccas, both noted for their striking strappy leaves. There are bold, tropical-looking cycads in the raised-brick, acrylic-rendered planters, as well as a fabulous dragon tree and senkaki maples.
For screening along the fences there is a hedge of lilly pilly. To add movement at ground level there are low-growing grasses such as Carex ‘Frosty Curls’ and blue fescue, while for medium-height interest there is Astelia ‘Silver Spear’, Cordyline ‘Sundance’ and Phormium ‘Apple Green’.
Integrating the large crepe myrtle tree that stood in the middle of the backyard into the contemporary design proved to be a challenging task, but a successful resolution was achieved and the look of the rear garden is now seamless.
Large stones have been used as mulch in the garden beds; these ensure weeds are a thing of the past and help to keep water from evaporating from the soil while adding whites, creams and greys that also tie in with the neutral colours of the walls and planters.
For flooring, granite paving was chosen. Pindara opted for large-format (1000mm x 500mm) Niro Granite pavers with an attractive flamed finish. Granite is a hard-wearing, durable stone and in this project it proved to be the perfect complement to the contemporary landscape design, which is sure to see many people come and go for years to come.