Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents 172 INSITE WINTER
FROM LEFT Sculpture adds a point of interest and surprise to the
garden; Crassula ovata combines equally well with Phormium cookianum
'Maori Chief' or Chinese juniper and Kalanchoe pumila.
concern was that the design and position of
the pool would have the least physical impact
on the remainder of the garden, a challenge
in any garden. I try to take lawns or gardens
as close as I can to the body of water so that
the pool and garden are better unified.
In this garden, I wanted to cut the pool
into the site about 800mm higher than the
courtyard level. Having it any higher than
this would have created an uneasy energy,
and I wanted the pool to feel somewhat
grounded. e clients were happy with this
because it offered a good view of the children
in the pool. Cutting the pool into the site also
enabled the garden to envelop the pool more
effectively, especially as the pool was designed
with a narrow coping on three sides only. At
the back of the pool, a slate-clad wall rises
from the water, retaining layers of vegetation
behind. I chose these plants for their tough-
ness and durability. At the front of the bed is
a broad band of Crassula ovata, then a row of
New Zealand flax.
Sitting centrally with the pool, among the
layered vegetation, the Norfolk Island pine
makes a stately impression. Slate-coloured
mosaic pool tiles give the water a reflective
quality, mirroring the nearby vegetation and
further softening this sometimes severe
environment. Overhanging the narrow
coping on the eastern side of the pool and
breaking its line is a row of New Zealand
flax; this has the effect of further naturalising
the pool and connecting it with the living
green components of the garden. My intention
was to give this garden a fresh, stylised and
contemporary feel to reflect the house and its
furnishings while mixing the plants and
materials together in a more organic manner.
I combined limestone pavers with hardwood
timber so no one material would dominate.
e narrow steps from the courtyard reach
a generous timber landing that forms a split
level, giving access to the pool and stretching
west behind the banquette, where I designed
a timber pedestal to support a beautiful stone
sculpture. Five wide timber steps provide
access from the landing to the small rectan-
gular piece of lawn, which is made all the
more vibrant by white-rendered walls. e
higher level doglegs to the east, forming a
planted garden under the Norfolk Island pine.
Given the challenges of the site, I am very
pleased with the result. First, the proportions
of the terraces in the back garden and their
distinct functions create a nice balance.
Second, I think the choice of plants really
helps to make this garden work; we are
fortunate in Australia to be able to choose so
many plants that enhance our designs. More
than anything, this garden gives me the
confidence in my design process -- to allow
the physical and practical restraints to form
the basis of the design. ese restraints help
determine the 'bones' of the garden, while
the plants just pull the design together. I
Extract from Tr ue Form by Peter Fudge ($69.95,
Murdoch Books). Read more in Outdoor News,
p181. Extract has been edited for length.
Peter shares his top four coastal tips.
Designing and maintaining a garden by the water can
be challenging: quite often the land is exposed, cop-
ping the full brunt of gusty, salt-laden winds. So, when
designing your seaside garden, follow nature's lead and
create a magnificent garden that will not only frame
your view, but also protect your home. Find out which
indigenous plants grow in your area and plant a healthy
percentage of these. Not only are they more likely to
survive, but they will also support any native wildlife.
• As soil in coastal zones is often lacking in nutrients
and has poor waterholding capacity, choose plants
that thrive without soil improvement and mulch
beds to prevent moisture loss.
• Highlight rocks with plants. Snake vine, which flowers
best in full sun, will form a beautiful green and
golden groundcover around an outcrop.
• Introduce colour and form with foliage plants,
such as Agave attenuata, Yucca fi lamentosa or
• Most seaside gardens need a layering structure to
protect lower-lying plants. Using salt-tolerant plants,
plant a row of one species -- Grevillea 'Moonlight',
curry plant, Coprosma sp., for example -- to provide
a windbreak for the plants behind. Stagger the layers
according to height.
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