This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

David Rosetzky and Sean Meilak

Gardens

Whilst proper winter temperatures have well and truly set in, and Melbourne’s trees are beginning to look decidedly bare this week, you’ll be pleased to know we still have a couple of beautiful local gardens up our sleeves to get us through these gloomy and not-very-green winter months.

We are particularly excited about this one – a super tiny but lusciously leafy garden in Brunswick, belonging to artist David Rosetzky and his partner, artist Sean Meilak. Such an incredible use of a small outdoor space!

Our gardens columnist Georgina Reid gives us the full story.

8th June, 2015

The Brunswick garden of David Rosetzky and his partner Sean Meilak is tiny yet overflowing with a wide variety of plantlife. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Before moving to Brunswick we had a small courtyard filled with a variety of potted plants mostly grown from cuttings, bulbs and rhizomes – it was this odd assortment of plants that formed the starting point for our garden design’, says David. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Although it’s a very small garden, we have tried to create depth through the use of different textures, shapes and colours. In winter the structure of the cacti and other succulents become more of a feature, whereas in the spring and summer the Echinacea’s, salvias, and flowering herbs give the garden an abundant wild effect’, says David.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

This abundant garden is tied together visually through the use of a very simple materials palette – bluestone gravel, terracotta pots, and minimal paving. This both creates a sense of continuity and cohesion, as well as allowing the plants to take centre stage. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

A tightly clipped creeping fig (Ficus pumila) provides a great backdrop to the garden. The white metal table originally belonged to David’s grandmother, and the river stones in the dry stone wall were from his late Father’s garden.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Sean Meilak (on left) and David Rosetzky in their gorgeous little Brunswick garden. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Front garden.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lucy often says that artists have the best houses. Well, I think artists are up there in the garden stakes as well. This gorgeous little garden in Brunswick is a case in point.

David Rosetzky, a visual artist, and his partner, artist Sean Meilak bought the property around 10 years ago. When they moved in the rear garden was covered entirely in concrete with a hills hoist in the centre, taking up most of the usable space. While the house needed renovation, the two eschewed it for the garden – starting work on it as soon as they moved in. They said sayonara to the hills hoist, pulled up the concrete slab, and the plants marched in.

Both men are keen plant collectors, and had amassed a bunch of loved pot plants in their previous residence. ‘Many of our plants had been propagated and shared from the gardens of our friends and family, so they held sentimental value for us,’ says David. These plants formed the starting point for their new Brunswick garden.

The space is tiny, just 4×6 metres! Rather than seeing size as a constraint, the pair saw it as a challenge – to try and fit in as many of the plants they loved in a cohesive, and functional way. ‘Its scale and our obsession with collecting plants were the main challenges,’ Sean says. Informing the design was Sean’s love of the informality of Mediterranean courtyard gardens, and they way they effortlessly mix fruit trees, ornamentals, and edibles in small spaces.

The garden consists of a large central area covered in bluestone gravel surrounded by layer upon layer of plants. ‘The bluestone gravel was both practical and affordable, and its blue/grey colour contrasted well with the terracotta pots and the foliage of the plants’ says David. Speaking of terracotta pots, there must be hundreds of them in this tiny garden – filled with all sorts of plants from Echinacea to cactus, herbs to succulents and all sorts of other good stuff in-between. The pots frame the central open area, softening the boundaries of the space and providing serious visual interest.

And on the boundaries – have you ever seen a garden with better boundary covering?! This garden is absolutely dripping with the best climbers ever. All visible walls are covered with climbers like Virginia creeper, creeping fig, jasmine and more. The atmosphere these plants create is invaluable within such a small space. People, let me tell you this – Climbing plants are the best. They’re cheaper and way more attractive than tall walls, vertical garden systems and screens. If you want to screen your neighbours, hide your ugly boundary fence, or make your garden feel more enticing, grow some patience and grow a climbing plant. You can thank me later.

It’s obvious this garden brings David and Sean incredible joy. Both are passionate plant lovers, and both work in the garden together. They use the space in many ways, from quiet contemplation, meditation, to entertaining. David says, ‘it’s intimate scale and peaceful atmosphere creates the perfect space to savour the company of close friends and family.’ And even though it’s tiny, the pair still manage to keep adding new plants here and there. What else could you ask of a garden?

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Cascading, Compact Garden That Envelopes This Sydney Home

Greenery spills in from every angle in this suburban garden designed by Bell Landscapes!
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Landscape Designer’s Relaxed Family Garden in Elwood

Kate Patterson of KPLA took her time designing her own backyard, but it was worth the wait!
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Lush, Layered Family Garden in Hawthorn

Kate Seddon Landscape Design update a Hawthorn backyard, with spectacular results.

This Week

Modernist Australia

A Fond Farewell To Modernist Australia!

Going, going... GONE! We bid a sad adieu to Trish Callan, and look back at some highlights from Modernist Australia, the website that raised...
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Fab Face Masks Made By Women From Refugee Backgrounds In Melbourne

Second Stitch is a homewares and fashion enterprise offering training certificates and employment to women from refugee, migrant, and asylum...

Architecture

A Gloriously Verdant Inner-City Extension

BKK Architects design a contemporary addition around its luscious, sprawling garden for a pair of self-declared introverts in North Fitzroy....
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

The Epic Contemporary Revival Of A Pre-Federation Homestead

An 1839 Georgian-era mansion in Tasmania undergoes a specialist update and sympathetic extension by Cumulus Studio.
Sasha Gattermayr
  2 hours ago

Sustainable Homes

An Unbelievably Energy Efficient 100-Year-Old Workers’ Cottage!

With the expertise of Altereco Design, this cute cottage in Yarraville is now an ultra sustainable homed home, powered predominantly by sola...
Amelia Barnes
  10 hours ago

On The Market

Permaculture Expert Ben Shaw's Gorgeous Geelong Home (+ Garden!) Hits The Market

A 1920s house with Geelong's best suburban garden (we're calling it!) created by permaculture expert Ben Shaw is up for sale.

Regional

A Micro Flower Farm In Trentham, Decades In The Making

A florist devoted to holistic botanical living has transformed this dilapidated miner's cottage into boutique accommodation - with its own f...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Totally Transfixing Concrete Retreat

This contemporary family home in Kew by Architects EAT is totally secluded, yet bright, breezy and open!
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Seljak Brand Releases A New Wool Blanket Made From Recycled Jumpers

The pioneering Australian label releases a new recycled blanket spun from old woollen jumpers and garments.

TDF Design Awards

Presenting The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020 Residential Architecture Finalists!

From an off-the-grid cottage to a sustainable urban commune, these are the best residential architecture projects in Australia.
Lucy Feagins

Art

TDF Collect Presents 'Devotions' By Lucy Roleff

The much-anticipated debut solo show from the Melbourne realist painter is here!

Homes

A Quirky, Contemporary Harbourside Penthouse, For Stylish Downsizers!

The Neutral Bay penthouse apartment of Tracy and Peter Fleming, renovated by their son Jono Fleming with Strutt Studios.

News

An Exhibition Weaving The Past, Present + Future Of First Nations Textiles

Distinguished textile artist Elisa Carmichael reimagines traditional weaving practices in today’s contemporary context.

Shopping

A Sunny New Range Of Planters From Capra Designs

Capra Designs debuts a new collection of planters inspired by ancient Roman architecture.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

Two Buildings + Two Courtyard Gardens = One Clever Inner City Home

This Fitzroy North house by Rob Kennon Architects turns the traditional house and backyard model on its head!

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Cascading, Compact Garden That Envelopes This Sydney Home

Greenery spills in from every angle in this suburban garden designed by Bell Landscapes!
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Landscape Designer’s Relaxed Family Garden in Elwood

Kate Patterson of KPLA took her time designing her own backyard, but it was worth the wait!
Sasha Gattermayr

Gardens

A Lush, Layered Family Garden in Hawthorn

Kate Seddon Landscape Design update a Hawthorn backyard, with spectacular results.