Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 24 Autumn 2010 Contents INSITE AUTUMN 179
egularly featuring on the
Australian Institute of Landscape
Design and Managers' awards list,
Secret Gardens of Sydney is lauded
for its beautiful, yet user-friendly, gardens.
So, it comes as no surprise that when director
Matthew Cantwell turned his creative hand
to his own garden, a multi-level space that
caters for children and adults evolved.
He and his family had bought a property
in the Sydney suburb of Randwick in 2004
with plenty of potential inside and out. As
the renovations began inside, Matthew
turned his attention to the outdoors. With
his business entering its 16th year, he had
plenty of inspiration to draw upon during
the design process.
However, presented with a desolate
concrete mass and no established trees to
incorporate into the design, Matthew's cup
of inspiration runneth over.
"I was designing my garden just about
every day in the year leading up to the
renovation and I was designing a different
garden every day," Matthew says. "Yeah,
I was the world's worst client, and when it
came to the crunch, the latest design that
was on board when it came time to build
was the winning design."
Matthew did have some guidelines,
however, and they were thanks to his
growing family. During the design phase,
Matthew and his wife Rochelle (Secret
Gardens of Sydney general manager)
discovered their young son was due to
receive not one, but two new siblings. e
garden design quickly evolved to provide
for three children.
"So much of the design is about the
children," says Matthew. "It wasn't a big
space, so it was important the design was
interactive, so we decided to go the opposite
approach to many of our clients by creating
levels." (Matthew has found clients usually
ask for levelled off designs and lots of lawn
when children are being catered for.)
WATER WORLD: The Secret Gardens of Sydney custom-
designed water feature welcomes guests from the front courtyard.
PLAY TIME: (below)The children's indoor play area is regularly
opened up to a bamboo-lined fence that screens neighbours.
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