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 Perfect Family Garden In Camberwell

Gardens

We feature a host of architecturally extended homes, so it’s a joy to highlight a designed garden that responds so thoughtfully to a renovation.

Not overdone, nor too sparing, this outdoor oasis Ian Barker has created to complement a family home in Camberwell is just perfect!

4th December, 2018

Lush, perennial planting augments an enticing and beautiful family garden. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

A mix of textural grassy planting including Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Poa ‘Eskdale’ and Miscanthus ‘Klein Fontaine’) separates the lawn and tennis court areas. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

Lush, perennial planting augments an enticing and beautiful family garden. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

The sculptural form of the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) contrasts beautifully with the fine, textural grasses in this Camberwell garden. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

The sculptural steel gateway defines the transition between the front, more formal garden, and the wilder rear garden. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

An outdoor pavilion designed by Herbert and Howes connects seamlessly with the lush garden designed by Ian Barker Gardens. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

‘The garden was designed for kids to run through,’ Ian Barker says. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

Full, flowery and romantic planting in the front garden borders includes Helenium ‘Mahogany’, Aster x frikartii Monc, Rudbeckia cvs. and Iris germanica ‘Saturn’. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

Full, flowery and romantic planting in the front garden borders. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

Bluestone stepping stones engulfed by Viola hederaceae. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

A pink flowering crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

A raised, wet-edge pool is separated from the tennis court with a retractable net – a neat use of space. Photo – Claire Takacs, courtesy of Ian Barker Gardens.

Georgina Reid
Tuesday 4th December 2018

‘We’re not fussed about trends, we’re not driven by that… The garden design has to suit the house. It has to be a good marriage.’ – Ian Barker.

Over-cooked. It’s a word landscape designer Ian Barker tells me he ends up using often. It’s not a description I often associate with the design of gardens but I love it – it says a lot. There’s little worse than over-cooked design (or cake, for that matter). This garden, surrounding a gorgeous old home in the Melbourne suburb of Camberwell, is, according to Ian, baked to perfection.

Ian and his team at Ian Barker Gardens were engaged by the owners of the property in 2015 to design and build a garden for their large family in 2015. Responding to new additions to this gorgeous old home by architects Herbert and Howes, the garden’s lines are simple and elegant. ‘We really toned down the garden,’ Ian says. ‘It’s restrained, yet it has a huge impact.’ Part of the success of the garden, according to Ian, is its relationship with the architecture. ‘Without the backdrop of the pavilion, the garden wouldn’t look anywhere near as good as it does today’, he says.

At the front of the property, the garden is relatively formal, echoing the balance and symmetry of the home’s façade, with clipped box hedges and two pyramid box topiaries framing the front door. ‘Once you get away from the front entrance, the garden gets quite wild’, Ian says. There’s the children’s play area, a woodland garden, a formal lawn framed by grass gardens and more. The clients have four children and according to Ian, ‘The garden was designed for kids to run through. They run through the woodland, through the door linking the old and new elements of the property, and out onto the lawn at the back.’

The loose planting was very much encouraged by Ian’s clients. Whilst the simple lines of the space, and the connection between the architecture, old and new, were important to Ian and his team, his client wanted wild. ‘Our client said, “the wilder the better”.’

Wild in this garden means loose, atmospheric planting combinations of grasses like Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Poa ‘Eskdale’ and Miscanthus ‘Klein Fontaine’. It also means seasonality – something that these lush and full images don’t quite capture. In winter, Ian’s team cut back the perennials, and grassy plantings are chopped hard to the ground. ‘All you see is dirt. Our clients wholeheartedly accept this. I can’t stress enough how wonderful the clients are. They’re extraordinarily trusting.’

A canopy of mature trees and a great balance between hard landscaping and lush planting lends a sense of depth and timelessness to this garden. It doesn’t look it, but it’s actually only two years old! It is a garden that, like the house it surrounds, is destined to get better with age. ‘We’re not fussed about trends, we’re not driven by that,’ Ian says. ‘The garden design has to suit the house. It has to be a good marriage. Once we get that right, we try hard to soften it. We’ll put green in wherever we can. So, our gardens just get better and better over the years.’ And this garden, according to Ian, is pretty darn special. ‘I think this is one of our best.’

This Week

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li
  15 hours ago

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...
51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

The Bondi Garden Of Landscape Designer William Dangar

The well-known landscape designer's abundant Sydney garden - encased in lush foliage!
Georgina Reid

Gardens

Wriedt Garden in Eaglemont

An ever-evolving project, this garden is the result of a 25 year collaboration between garden designer Sharon Harris and her client.
Georgina Reid

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

51:47

Podcast

Country Road’s Managing Director On The Stickiness Of Sustainable Fashion, On TDF Talks

In this podcast conversation, Elle Roseby talks leading one of the country’s most iconic brands through a new age in the fashion industry....

News

Get Luxe Designer Furniture For Up To 15% Off!

Designer furniture retailer DOMO is discounting in-stock and custom items from HC28 + HC28 Cosmopolitan.
Sponsored

Interiors

A Joyful Home, Full Of Whimsy + Glamour

Scalloped edges and vibrant colours have elevated this Sydney terrace by Arent&Pyke.

Interiors

11 Mirrors That Are Having A Moment!

Lauren Li's edit of her favourite mirrors out there right now, to take your space to the next level!
Lauren Li
  15 hours ago

Interiors

A Glam ’60s-Inspired Makeover For A Drab Suburban Home

Kaiko Design transform a forgettable suburban space into a ritzy family residence, with big personality!

Architecture

A New Zealand Villa Built For Hosting

Architecture firm Maud creates a home for a family of hospitality professionals, built around a generous kitchen, outdoor room + pétanque g...

Homes

A Remarkable Family Home Transformation

Maddie and Mike Witter transformed a mould-ridden, dilapidated house into a bright and breezy family home for six!

TDF Design Awards

The Most Fabulous New Furniture Designs In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021

There is no shortage of innovation and inspiration from the Furniture Design finalists In The TDF + Laminex Design Awards this year!
Lucy Feagins
  7 hours ago

News

Delicious New Bed Linen From A Local Fave

Melbourne-based bed linen stars, The Sheet Society, launches a moody new winter range ripe for mixing + matching.
Sponsored

Gardens

A WOW-Factor 'Secret Garden' In Blairgowrie

Ian Barker Gardens creates a private outdoor sanctuary on the Mornington Peninsula.

On The Market

A Light + Bright Beachside Home Hits The Market

This property in Sunrise Beach, Noosa is a full time home that feels like a holiday home - and it’s ready for new inhabitants!

Architecture

Everything You Need To Know About Working With An Architect

Four of Australia's best architects answer your frequently asked questions, from what an architect does, to how much they cost!

News

An Online Super Store + Subscription Service For All-Natural Goodies

GoodnessMe carries over 3,000 products from snacks to ready-made meals – with samples delivered to your door every month!
Sponsored

Interiors

A Before-And-After Interior Renovation That’ll Knock Your Socks Off!

AMA Studio Interiors transforms a rustic, wood-panelled cottage on the NSW Central Coast into dreamy family retreat.

Architecture

A Modernist-Inspired Seaside Home

This adaptable, Victorian seaside home designed by Nest Architects and Placement blurs the line between modernism and contemporary design. ...

Similar Stories

Gardens

The Bondi Garden Of Landscape Designer William Dangar

The well-known landscape designer's abundant Sydney garden - encased in lush foliage!
Georgina Reid

Gardens

Wriedt Garden in Eaglemont

A 25 year collaboration between garden designer Sharon Harris and her client.
Georgina Reid

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.