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Brian and Trish Perkins


Today our gardens columnist Georgina Reid shares with us another beautifully considered Melbourne garden.

Drawing on the mid century aesthetic of his clients’ home, landscape designer Cameron Paterson of  Grounded Gardens has created a relaxed, low maintenance garden which owners Brian and Trish Perkins adore.

29th June, 2015
Georgina Reid
Monday 29th June 2015

There’s nothing like strong architecture to draw from when designing a garden. It can contribute greatly to a garden’s sense of place, providing a clear framework and direction and informing all aspects of the design process – from material and plant selection, to layout and detailing. This 1960’s home in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak is a great example of a highly resolved connection between the architecture of house and garden.

Brian and Trish Perkins bought their property around six years ago, undertaking extensive renovations prior to moving in. They enlisted Cameron Paterson of
Grounded Gardens to design and build the garden. ‘Cameron had worked with us for several years on our old house in Malvern. He has a great eye and I completely trust him with design,’ Trish says.

The design brief was for a relaxed, low maintenance garden drawing on the modernist architecture of the house. Cameron achieved this through selecting plants well suited to the microclimate they’re planted within – meaning they’ll thrive without requiring too much attention. ‘I wanted the garden to feel relaxed and easy. I chose plants that would effortlessly thrive in their environment, as well as plants that would contrast well in terms of foliage, texture and scale.’

The materials selected by Cameron also contribute to the modernist feel of this garden. Large stone boulders amongst clumps of native plants, slate crazy paving, and decomposed granite pathways provide a simple, earthy backdrop to the space, and clearly reference a mid century aesthetic.

Environmental sensitivity was another important factor influencing the design of this garden. ‘We try to be as self sufficient as we can regarding water and electricity,’ says Trish. ‘We’ve installed water tanks, grey water systems, solar heating and solar hot water, and the garden is primarily watered from the recycled shower and laundry water. We also have a compost bin that feeds the garden.’

This is a wonderful garden. Not only is it sympathetic to both the architecture of the house and the wider environment, its also incredibly beautiful and practical. And, most importantly, it’s loved by both client and designer! ‘I can honestly say that when my wife and I design a garden for our future home, it will be very much like this one,’ says Cameron. And Trish says, ‘Our favourite thing about the garden is the way it connects the house with the earth, it’s a marriage made in heaven.’

Slate crazy paving is used as a practical and functional surface for the courtyard garden. Tio Collection dining table and chairs by Mass Productions.  Garden designed by Grounded Gardens. Photo – Annette O’Brien for The Design Files.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email