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

A Verdant Garden In Fitzroy North

Gardens

In 2013, which feels like approximately 200 years ago, we featured the stunning North Fitzroy home of real estate agent Peter Stephens, and metalworker Anna Charlesworth.

Today, we venture back for a closer look at the couple’s beautiful and insanely lush inner city garden, created by landscape designer Amanda Oliver.

2nd July, 2018

What an incredible room! Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) creates an incredible green curtain to frame the view into the garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Landscape designer Amanda Oliver has created a lush and abundant garden for Peter Stephens and Anna Charlesworth’s Fitzroy North home. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The front garden is an eclectic mix of hydrangeas, clipped germander (Teucrium fruticans) and succulents in vintage concrete pots. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

All views from Anna and Peter’s house are green! The concrete BBQ bench, covered in creeping fig (Ficus pumila) doubles as a pool storage box. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

The pool is embraced by lush planting. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Peter Stephens and Anna Charlesworth at home. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

A cluster of vintage concrete pot with succulents such as fan aloe (Aloe plicatilis) and jade plant (Crassula spp) provide textural interest in the garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Georgina Reid
Monday 2nd July 2018

‘My work is very much plant driven and primarily based on foliage, form and structure’ – Amanda Oliver.

The client, the architecture and the site. These are the most important elements of a garden design project. Understanding the needs and desires of a client; respecting the ecological and cultural history of the land the garden sits on, and creating spaces that both enhance and reflect the architecture of the home are essential to any successful garden design project. This Fitzroy North garden, owned by real estate agent Peter Stephens and metalworker Anna Charlesworth, and designed by Melbourne landscape designer Amanda Oliver, ticks all these boxes.

Amanda was engaged to design and install the garden in 2011 following extensive renovations to the property by architects Meacham Nockles McQualter. Her brief was open: ‘Peter and Anna used to be my neighbours, and when they moved into this house they asked me to create a garden for them. They very much trusted me to do what I wanted, and what I thought was right.’ Amanda worked closely with the architects, creating a lush and textural planting design referencing the properties historic bones and contemporary extension.

On entering the property, the home’s mint green façade provides a gentle backdrop to an entry garden designed around an existing prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) ‘It was the only plant left after the renovations’, says Amanda. ‘The planting design of the front garden is inspired by it. It’s a nod to the history of the house and the garden.’ Old concrete pots filled with sculptural plants such as fan aloe (Aloe plicatilis) and house leek (Aeonium arborescens) are nestled amongst clipped germander (Teucrium fruticans) balls and pink hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). An angels trumpet (Brugmansia spp.) frames the eclectic space.

A pathway down the side boundary fence leads to home’s new front door. ‘From the front door, the house opens up to a completely different space, and garden. It’s nice when people first see it – they look at the front garden and think they’ve seen it all. Then they go out the back and say, ‘oh wow!’.

A pocket-sized pool nestles at the rear of the backyard, engulfed by abundant, textural planting. Green drips from the rear of the house in the form of Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Its vigorous growth requires occasional haircuts from Amanda and her team, but she suggests it’s well worth the effort for the verdant feeling it evokes.

The rear garden is a gorgeous, tranquil space that complements and enhances the contemporary architecture of the house’s rear extension. The plant palette is lush and textural, and eclectic. Feather grass (Miscanthus transmorrisonensis) mix with burgundy cannas, succulents grow alongside dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Siberica’). ‘My work is very much plant driven and primarily based on foliage, form and structure’ Amanda explains. Whilst she has her plant favourites (currently Miscanthus transmorrisoniensis), Amanda’s planting designs always respond to the site and client – ‘I try to approach each garden differently’.

Amanda’s work in this garden speaks for itself. It’s beautiful. Peter and Anna love it, and Amanda feels a deep connection to this project. Last year, over summer, she even spent a week staying at the house whilst Peter and Anna were away. ‘It was really lovely. It was so nice to see it at all times of the day. I really enjoyed it and thought, ‘oh, I am quite clever’, but also thought I really should make more of an effort with my own home garden.’ You’re not the only one, Amanda.

Read more stories from Georgina Reid on The Planthunter.

This Week

45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry
  9 hours ago

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

Owen Harris

A lush rooftop garden in inner city Fitzroy.

Gardens

Jenny Rose Innes, Serial Renovator And Garden Maker

A luscious and full residential garden in Bowral that's only four years old!
Georgina Reid

This Week

45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Architect Penelope Seidler

This national icon reflects on her early life, working with her husband Harry in the 60s/70s, and her proudest achievement to date!

Architecture

The Best Of The Island – Here Are The 2019 Tasmanian Architecture Award Winners!

Our southernmost state may be small, but it packs a big architectural punch.
Miriam McGarry

News

Time Travel To The Quintessential 1970s Motel In Melbourne

Tim Ross and Kit Warhurst bring their hilarious, nostalgia-infused live show to a classic Melbourne motel next month.

News

Moments From Nature Captured In Exquisite Detail

Following a devastating diagnosis two years ago, graphic designer Shelley Heaney embarked upon a new project encouraging us to connect to th...

Architecture

A Stacked Home In St Kilda For Every Family Member

Matt Gibson Architecture and Design team up with clients DDB Design on a long-term living solution for multiple generations!

Homes

A Home With A Warm Hart

The eclectic and soothing home of doula Sunni Hart and family.

News

Mangkaja x Gorman = Perfection

Clear space in your wardrobe right now, Gorman’s first collaboration with Indigenous artists is going to fly off the shelves!
Miriam McGarry
  9 hours ago

In Print

Take A Gander At Australia's Iconic Art Deco Pubs

A new book, documenting how a nation’s love of a cold beer, led to an architectural phenomenon!
Elle Murrell

Studio Visit

The Seafaring Painter Pushing The Boundaries Of Maritime Art

A sail and studio visit with one-of-a-kind artist Gemma Rasdall, as her new body of work is unveiled in Sydney.
Elle Murrell

Art

A New Art Collaboration At Raes on Wategos

The iconic Byron Bay hotel launches its first Artist in Residence program, with French-Australian painter Stanislas (Stan) Piechaczek.

News

Sunday Life Drawing Classes In Seriously Lush Surrounds

Fitzroy-based creatives Ladies of Leisure team up with artist Lani Mitchell for a dreamy life drawing series in July!
Miriam McGarry
2:22

We, The Brave

Turning A Passion For Photography Into A Career, With Eve Wilson

Eve Wilson shares her courageous career journey, from photographer’s assistant, to leading lifestyle photographer. In partnership with MYO...

News

An Exhibition Celebrating Humankind's Giant Leap

Geelong Gallery is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with a captivating showcase, bringing together artistic responses
Elle Murrell

Architecture

Avoiding The Coastal Cliché, With Mid Century Flair

A Portsea home gets a contemporary revamp, from Studio Esteta.
Miriam McGarry

Creative People

When Art Meets Music - 15 Stand-Out Album Covers Featuring Australian Art

From Ken Done to Brett Whiteley, Stephen Baker to Luke Sciberras, discover the Australian artists behind some iconic album art!
Elle Murrell

Similar Stories

Gardens

Owen Harris

A lush rooftop garden in inner city Fitzroy.

Gardens

Jenny Rose Innes, Serial Renovator And Garden Maker

A luscious and full residential garden in Bowral that's only four years old!
Georgina Reid