Suburban Sanctuary

Suburban Sanctuary


garden designs

A low-maintenance design offers rest and respite for its busy owners

Words Rachel Falzon Photos Ron Tan

This resort-style outdoor entertaining area is the result of a makeover that saw a regular suburban backyard transformed into an extraordinary space, ready for the owners to entertain or relax in. Thanks to the expertise of Perth-based landscape designer Denise Staffa, of Outside In, every element in the garden has been evaluated and, where necessary, made over. The swimming pool was in desperate need of modernisation, so was refurbished from the inside out.

The waterline tiles were changed and the interior was resurfaced with Rainbow Quartz. A new timber deck was installed next to the pool, with the dark tones bringing in some colour and complementing the paving. It’s here that the geometric style of the landscape is most noticeable — sharp lines and different shapes combine to generate interest and shift the eye from one area to another. The timber theme has been continued throughout the design to tie it together and create a seamless flow — it has been used as a ceiling material as well as for the fence, decking and cabinetry in the outdoor kitchen.

At night, the pool area becomes a feature unto itself with lights installed within the decking to show off the pool’s shape and also to guide family and friends on those hot, balmy nights when a dip in the pool is a welcome indulgence. The redesign of the backyard involved the removal and replacement of a few of the old features. For example, an old water feature was taken out and a new design that’s quieter and complements the existing boundary walls was installed. The old garden also had planter boxes with overgrown pencil pines that bordered the pool; Denise felt they wasted space that could be better used, so the boxes were removed and the trees taken away. An outdoor shower is a great way to wash off pool chemicals after getting out of the water, or to quickly rinse off debris before jumping in.

The owners and Denise recognised the value of this existing feature and decided to give it a new look. The same waterline tiles that were used in the pool have been used as the backing to the shower, which glistens as the water trickles over it and shines when the light of the sun hits it. It has been set within a timber frame to tie in with the rest of the landscape. The pinnacle of the outdoor entertaining area is the custom-designed kitchen and adjacent undercover dining area.

This is the ideal place for the owners to while away many a sunny Sunday afternoon and a great place for friends and family to gather. The oneof- a-kind outdoor kitchen and table are from Tavoli Designs, as are the beautiful and fluid pieces of wall art that can be found on the boundary walls and gracing the granite water wall. To allow the owners to cook up a storm, three separate barbecue facilities have been installed along with their own cupboards, so there’s handy storage for often-used items. T

hese cooking outlets have been installed along the same wall so one chef can easily access and cook on more than one at a time, but are also a safe distance apart so more than one person can be using the facilities simultaneously. The contemporary furniture positioned around the pool was sourced from Inside Out Furniture and has been strategically positioned to make best advantage of the pool views.

While the low-maintenance, turf-free landscape will only require infrequent watering to the hardy potted plants, grass-themed ottomans in the pool area inject some much-needed greenery without the hassle of trimming and care. This amazing makeover shows that with the help of an experienced landscape designer, you can take a mundane suburban garden and convert it into a fascinating and functional setting.