This Surrey Hills project won “Landscape of the Year 2021” in several categories. The Judges’ comment was “Showing beautiful and clever use of space, this project combines traditional and modern elements to reflect the architecture”. This project is “the Melding of Eras”. It captures the balance of the owner’s desire to create something that has a slightly informal present edge with the necessity to marry the style to the architecture of a Victorian era façade.
Surrey Hills VIC
The brief was to construct a delightful garden with a modern cottage feel that created a welcoming atmosphere to match the picturesque period home but would also blend with a back modern extension. The owners of the property knew they didn’t want the typical straight path and formal hedges but still wished to meld the classic façade with a slightly more relaxed take on a formal design.
The journey starts from a typical period style timber front gate, where you are then met with the ‘ALBA’ random paving designed to offer a beautiful colour palette that leads you past a calming water feature. We wanted to create a space which delivers a sense of profound charm without it feeling too formal. The way we achieved this thru the hardscape was to still use materials that are reminiscent with the Victorian era but in a way that establishes a more informal feel. The large rectangular crazy paving pads that lead you to the veranda were designed to have cut outs in edges for planting pocket. The pavers were laid with exceptional detail maintaining small grout lines and clean cuts. By not creating a solid path it gives a more organic relaxed feel and allows the creeping thyme to grow between. The original home had a timber veranda but convincing the client to use a high quality 600 x300 bluestone paver gave the home more of a grandeur /stately presence. When we did the exposed aggregate driveway a lot of consideration went into the planning of the control joints to produce a quality finish that will withstand the elements.
Carefully considered soft-scaping including setting a tone of round formations was created with sphered choice of planting paired with the contemporary circular water-feature, gives a hint of that modern-day style. Buxus sempervirens, teucrium fruticans and westringia’s clipped into spheres immediately speaks formal but pairing it with creeping thyme and lush ground covers brings it back to a delightful soft cottage feel. The feature tree, crepe myrtle is positioned as a focal from front door and to obscure from a busy main road. A wide range of various plantings in groups gives a sudden impact as well as offering great textured foliage, flowers, and season colour. All species carefully chosen due to their suitability of a west facing afternoon blazing sun which was one of our design challenges, these had to be able to cope.
For functionality the design incorporated a lawn area as the owners are parents to two dogs that love to lay in the sun. At night, path and water feature lighting cast a nice silhouette on the facade of the house, flickering with the bubbling water.
The back yard takes on a completely different atmosphere with modern architectural beams and an imposing gum tree. In keeping with the balance of front yard, the same grey/green colour palette was used with planting. Species such as banksias and grass trees incorporated to blend with the existing gum. A gravel path with steppingstones gives a more natural rustic style.
The project wasn’t without obstacles, the design required council planning permit, compromises with choices of materials and design elements were made to gain approval. for example, the front pedestrian gate design was originally set back for appeal, but council rejected.