Brendan tackles a little thing called 'sense of place'. Whether you live by the sea, nowhere near the sea or in the hubbub of the city, gardens should be an expression of how we interact with nature, a reflection of both our tastes and our times, they should ooze soul and most importantly, feel like they've been there forever.
Style Design Principles
In this case, the owners have asked for a tropical garden - but what exactly do they mean? Do they mean tropical Rainforest, with
deep lush vegetation, which is moist, damp, cool and dark? Or do they mean tropical island, with frangipani trees, hibiscus, gardenias, all bright and light? Brendan suggests that instead of asking "what theme do I want?", ask yourself, "who lives here?" and "where am I?"
Megan and Antony are a funky young couple who live in a recently-renovated 1930's style workman's cottage in an inner city industrial area. Brendan's aim is to transform the current space into a garden that considers the spirit of the neighbourhood, which is charged with energy, bold and exudes that inner city vibe. The garden must be a welcoming space as well as a sanctuary for Megan and Antony to escape to all year round, day and night.
- Because the garden is quite small you are very aware of the mismatched boundaries. One of the fences is in good condition, and although the other is new, it is uneven and just one too many textures for this small space. Brendan will clad this fence with HardiTex base sheets from James Hardie, which is then rendered, with an acrylic render from Dulux Acratex. The result is a boundary wall which now looks like a solid brick rendered wall, tying the yard to the house.
- To conceal the garage/carport and utility areas and act as backdrop to the garden, Brendan will construct two 2.2m high walls from besser block which is then rendered. As a feature, the walls include decorative besser blocks and coloured perspex, to give a stained glass effect.
- A 2m-long built-in seat will provide Antony and Megan with a reason to go out to the garden and a reason to stay in the garden. This is built of brick and also rendered.
- A ramp is built from a hardwood timber which serves as a gangway to take you from the house down to the back corner of the garden. As it extends into the garden it narrows giving the impression that the path is longer than it is.
- Planting bamboo at a staggered angle to the fence provides dappled shade and screening from the neighbours. Bamboo also provides a tropical feel. The bamboo is contained by galvanised troughs reflecting the suburbs industrial origins. The canna lilies also provide a tropical feel and are planted in resized storm water pipes.
- To satisfy Antony's request for lawn, Brendan introduces a tongue-in-cheek option in the form of turf circles. Made from rainwater tanks and set on castors for mobility, they introduce fun into the space as well as a sculptural element.
- By constructing the seat, planting beds, ramp and concrete on a diagonal angle to the boundaries, Brendan creates an optical illusion, one that appears to make the space seem larger. In fact, the only 90 degree angles are the garden boundaries.
- By using a clever palette of tropical plants, industrial materials and bold colours, Brendan has created a garden with a tropical feel without losing the sense of its inner city suburbs.
Bexley Caringbah Sand Supply
Australian Native Landscapes
Sydney Horticultural Irrigation & Turf Services
Specialist Mini-digger services
Metro Asset Services
177 Victoria Rd Marrickville 2204
Tel: 02 9564 3434
Australian Institute of Horticulture
Hy-way Sheetmetal and troughs
Besser Block Centre
James Hardie FRC Pipes
City Rainwater Tanks
Windsor Turf Supplies