Australian Style

Australian Style

Last Updated: 16 Oct 2015
Jessica Rule

Australia has some of the most eye-catching gardens in the world thanks to our outstanding climate and penchant for living outdoors. Get all the creative cues you need from these awe-inspiring designs.

Gold standard

Nathan Burkett Design's garden design, Equilibrium, won one of three Gold awards at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS). Designed and constructed by Nathan, it features a cantilevered timber pergola, framing and defining an alfresco zone with an oversized fireplace and seating area. Two additional 'living pergolas', created from pleached plane trees (Platanus orientalis) with foliage coaxed along the contours of a horizontal wire trellis, reflect the shape of the pergola structure above. Perennial plants were used in blocks of colour and texture for interest.
Nathan Burkett Design (03) 9095 8344,

Vine intervention

Nestled a couple of blocks back from the South Fremantle waterfront, a peaceful and stylish courtyard by Acanthus Green landscapers perfectly complements the existing home. A casual relaxation spot with the capacity to entertain larger numbers, it offers 72sqm of seating area, a small barbecue, storage provisions, and a shed. The deck size was dictated by the size of the lounge suite from InWHITE, and raised planters were included to create extra seating without the clutter of excess furniture. Greenery includes Boston ivy to soften the walls, and Chinese star jasmine for its fragrance over summer. Meyer lemon and Tahitian lime trees pair with purple wisteria, native violet, olive and deciduous trees to create shade in summer. An open timber pergola, meanwhile, is well lit by Hunza lighting. Existing boundary walls were built from recycled bricks, and the recycled timber garden shed doors pay homage to the history and age of the area.
Acanthus Green 0403 192 775,

Photography Tim Turner

Squared away

This modern courtyard in Bronte had a full redesign by Good Manors, who created a private coastal oasis. The owners wanted a place to entertain, allowing the internal living area to integrate outside. Expansive glass doors open up the home to its outdoor terrace space, so the owners can soak up the beauty and natural aesthetic of their low-maintenance garden all year round. The garden was designed with a 60s twist to harmonise with the home's retro interior decor. Striking spotted gum hardwood decking extends upwards through the space as a timber staircase, cleverly using levels to create an elevated deck overlooking the courtyard. The top platform of the garden features bougainvillea, frangipani and star jasmine climbing through the fencing, while Diachondra Silver Falls, Raphiolepsis Oriental Pearl and Beschorneria (Mexican lily) have been installed around the pool. Feature plantings of Magnolia x alba and potted Crassula succulents add interest. The mineral magnesium pool is a marvel, with bluestone step treads on the interior that contrast beautifully against the surrounding pavers and exquisite Bisazza mosaic tiles.
Good Manors (02) 9818 3377,

Photography Tim Turner

High life

Perfect for intimate drinks on a summer's evening, or partying into the night, this coastal rooftop garden in Bondi was transformed from a barren, windswept space into a modern outdoor entertainer by Think Outside Gardens. It comes complete with floating, built-in lounge, daybed and bar. The design is simple yet bold using a limited palette of strong colours and materials similar to the contemporary interior of the residence. Striking elements include the timber deck from Midcoast Timber Centre, curving up in a wave shape, and the apple-green colour of the wall behind. Furnishings and plants (from Alpine Nurseries) in the same green or bright white further add to the fresh, eye-popping composition.
Think Outside Gardens (02) 9380 7957,

Industrial Evolution

This 56sqm inner courtyard within a warehouse space in Clovelly, Sydney, was rendered lush and wild by its eye-catching renovation. The modernisation of the internal courtyard pool area, included a new barbecue and bar-fridge housed in cabinetry. Serviced by controlled irrigation, plants in pots and hanging from the beams added lush greenery to soften the industrial ambience. Large-format mirrors create the illusion of space, while custom-made curved-stone pool coping was installed to corners. Other tiling includes sealed Torino granite and Buffalo granite cobblestones. Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata) grounds the planting, while other plants used include variegated peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), Sansevieria trifasciata (mother-in-law's tongue), Sansevieria uganda, Vriesea hieroglyphica (king of the bromeliads), Nephrolepis exaltata (Boston fern), Neomarica gracilis (walking iris), Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. Shaferi, Rhipsalis capilliformis, Hoya carnosa (wax plant) grown on wirework, Nematanthus glabra (goldfish plant), Philodendron cannifolium (flask philodendron), Sedum morganianum (donkey's tail) and Licuala ramsayi (Australian fan palm).
Secret Gardens of Sydney (02) 9314 5333,

Jungle Nook

This tropical delight by Jesse Bennett Architect sits high on a rainforest ridge in Cairns, calling the wild its back garden. It embraces the beauty of living with the tropics, showing no fear of the environment. Jesse's use of an earth roof garden controls the median temperature of the house and creates a Mediterranean mounded roof plaza on the top of the dwelling. Non-native Papua New Guinea rosewood was used for all the window and door framing, for its hard-wearing properties, while the majority of plants used in the landscape design are native and in keeping with the mid-century references in the house design – they have strong lines and clear pattern and structure to them.
Jesse Bennett Architect 0417 548 049,

Minimal design, maximum results

COS Design's clients wanted to make the most of their space in leafy Park Orchards, Victoria, by creating an outdoor living area, extending the house into the garden, and maximising views. They also needed the design to fit in with the look of their recently renovated home, which they describe as minimal, sleek and sophisticated. These lines were used to create symmetry from internal vistas, while a balance to the hard landscaping included the soft elements of Hornbeams, ornamental plums, Japanese maple, Murraya hedge, gardenias, and dwarf green mondo grass. A series of bluestone steppers abut the pool edging with buxus spheres, and a lush spacious lawn has been placed where the original pool used to sit, creating an abundance of space for children to romp. Hornbeams are strategically placed in the centre of the lawn to create a formal structural view from the internal vistas.
COS Design (03) 9889 3329,

Stone cold cool

Space Landscape Designs took an open and bare, sloping backyard in Sydney and gave it some much-needed character, with dry-stack sandstone retaining walls, a wet-edge pool and curved feature wall. The impact of the new design is achieved through the use of natural products such as pebbles, timber and stone from Eco Outdoor, contrasting with a modern pool design. The sloping lawn was transformed into three distinct entertaining levels for the owner's enjoyment. A timber walkway was introduced to connect the two main levels, and the robust material palette was softened by the curves of the paving, path and feature wall. The main focal point of the design is the curved sandstone wall with a timber bench seat, offset by decomposed granite flooring and wide granite-tiled stairs, which link the upper and lower tiers of the garden. The position of the relaxed seating area allows the garden's owners to enjoy all angles of this stunning new design.
Space Landscape Designs (02) 9905 7870,

Urban chic

In this Camberwell property, Out from the Blue created the shape of the pool around two existing mature English and silky oak trees. The pool carefully skims around the outskirts of the tree root-zones, creating an interesting and unusual shape; curvy, yet contemporary. It features Bisazza glass mosaic pool tiles to one wall only, complemented by ceramic pool tiles throughout the rest of the pool, maximising visual impact yet keeping cost to a minimum. The pool deck, garden beds, alfresco roof structure and the barbecue benchtop mirror these curved lines, breaking up the rear garden space into several separate areas. Even the frameless glass pool fencing incorporates custom curved pieces, button-fixed to the side of the floating concrete pool deck. A 'river' of planting separates the contemporary alfresco dining space from the raised pool terrace, and water trickles slowly down a rough-textured, black granite water wall to the rear of the pool. For entertaining guests, the design combines a cantilevered benchtop with built-in timber cabinetry beneath, and a stainless steel sink, barbecue and fridge – the perfect outdoor dining set-up.
Out From The Blue (03) 9855 1950,

Clean slate

Rolling Stone Landscapes found a blank canvas ready to be filled when they first saw this Randwick residence. The rear yard provided opportunity to create an urban oasis from scratch, so the team began by adding some creative garden landscaping. Working with an existing pool and rear deck, they added an outdoor barbecue with fridge and bench space for alfresco entertaining. A water feature provides interest and movement within the yard, drawing you outside. Timber, porcelain tiles, grass and an assorted plant palette all help to create an interesting and textured space that's a pleasure to be in.
Rolling Stone Landscapes (02) 9651 5002,

Make a splash

One of Melbourne's finest properties, on the Brighton Esplanade, got the luxurious landscape setting it deserves, thanks to Out from the Blue. An infinity pool and spa are beautifully integrated with the outdoor entertaining area and fully equipped outdoor kitchen. With easy access from the living areas of the home, the pool terrace is slightly raised from a lush green apron of lawn on the lower level, and presents itself from all angles as a classic statement in the garden. A swimout bench orients itself on the eastern side of the pool to face the afternoon sun but also faces the lawn terrace and house to encourage conversation and interaction. The pool coping separating the pool and spa on the upper terrace is a solid piece of limestone which has been waterjet-cut to create a slot window for the spillway. Innovative construction means the height of the pool water and wet-edge detail can be experienced in full glory when viewed from inside the home.
Out From The Blue (03) 9855 1950,

Level best

A sloping site in Castle Cove enabled Landart to create an inviting landscape. The adventurous homeowners sought their very own private, tranquil retreat in which to entertain and lounge while watching their children play in the pool. Raising the pool out of the ground brought up the levels along the back boundary, making it more in line with the house. Using the existing floor level, Landart designed a sunken entertaining space that offers interest thanks to the level change, while instilling intimacy and privacy from the neighbours, and a clear connection to the pool and spa.
Landart Landscapes?(02) 9958 0462,

Old-school charm

A distinctive 1970s character pervades the resort-style swimming pool and luxe cabana of this Nedlands design by Tim Davies Landscaping. A five metre-long bench was added when the pool was refurbished so the family can watch movies from the pool, projected onto the recycled brick wall. A 40mm charcoal mosaic waterline adds the finishing touches linking the pool with the surrounding large-format bluestone pavers and adjacent steel structure. The cabana features a contemporary, semi-industrial character with its 150mm universal beams surrounding the overhead shelter and cantilevered timber deck below. The overhang creates a seating-height edge as well, which lights up at night. The colour scheme is ambient, with muted tones allowing artwork, furniture and soft furnishings to shine through. The pool pavilion deck comprises narrow (60mm) spotted gum boards, specially sourced to create a 'matchstick' effect and reflect the aluminium battens. A grassed area continues on the raised level, with bold plantings of citrus, French lavender, star jasmine, rosemary and thyme filling garden beds on the boundary lines. A creeper softens the height difference from pool to patio and adds an interesting aspect at night when lights shine down from the floating deck's edge.
Tim Davies Landscaping (08) 9441 0200,

Resort Style

This clean, sharp, modern take on a resort-style garden was created by COS Design on one of the most difficult sites around. Positioned in the Port Phillip Bay region, this unique position offers magnificent views with a series of functional zones across tiered levels, for entertaining large numbers, and general weekend family time. The pool, beautifully built by The Pool Place, maximises the views and becomes an architectural feature of the pedestrian entry. The spa doubles as a reflection pond and connects the northern courtyard pond to the front yard. A forest of maples (part of the landscaping by Hamilton Landscapes) separates the zones, and a timber bench floats off the spa's low nib wall to the rear, acting as an informal seat. The result offers a structural but well-balanced design with form and function.
COS Design (03) 9889 3329,

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