Australia's Best Garden Designs for 2014

Our Gardening Expert, Charlie Albone, shares his favourite gardens from this year's Australian Garden Show. 

The Australian Garden Show Sydney has just been and although it was wet and muddy it was another great year with its’ combination of small and large gardens as well as the usual expected stands and stalls.  This year’s show seems more energetic than the inaugural year due to the site size being condensed and the number of smaller gardens increasing.

A couple of the show gardens really stood out of the brown muddy surrounds (there was constant rain during the build up and the show) and they were Myles Baldwin’s  ‘Open Woodland’ and Peta Donaldson’s ‘The Pavilion’.

Peta’s Pavilion shone out through the mud due to the use of its glossy white modern materials.  Peta used glossy bricks, polished concrete, ‘Glosswood’ roof lining boards a plunge pool, and a stainless steel fireplace to bounce the light around the space making it feel spacious and luxurious.

The entrance to the garden had Peta’s signature overlapping rectangles and squares as a staircase in polished concrete that added a great highlight to the muted mass planting around it.  Walking into the garden the focus of the garden was a great plunge pool by Australian Plunge pools that gave the whole space a resort style feel. 

If I had to be ultra critical of the design I would have top say the 3d panels that made up the rear wall of the pavilion could have been broken up with some greenery or shelving.  Although I loved the pattern and effect the panels gave I felt with all the other dominant whites and textures there needed to be a break somewhere.

Myles Balwin’s open woodland was my kind of garden with its natural open pavilion being a space to entertain in whilst having relaxed natural surrounds.  I spoke with Myles and he confessed the open cedar walls were (mildly) inspired by my own use of Cedar at last years show!  I loved the way the muted tones of the deco granite flooring complemented the cedar and paved surfaces in the pavilion.

The structure cantilevered out over a simple but large water feature that was not only a delight to look at from outside the garden but also a delight to be in and to look down upon the body of water from inside the pavilion.  Three simple waterspouts broke the hard stonewall to add movement to the design.

If I was to put on my critics hat I would have planted behind the pavilion more densely, to increase its intimacy, but its my understanding that the trees that were supposed to be used there are still living in a field under 2 foot of water!

I feel the biggest revelation at this years garden show was the small and balcony gardens, each a totally different style with it’s own points of inspiration for which I’m sure hundreds of people have been inspired by.  My special mentions go to Andrew Davies and Josh Harrison for their city gardens and Kate grace, Kim Earl, Adam Robinson and Rupert Baywill for their gold medal balcony gardens.

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1 comment
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Posted by Adele17Report
We need more gardening shows on Lifestyle, by more I mean any at all, its a very obvious hole in the programing.