A Japanese Inspired Green Garden Dream

A simple brief can be a beautiful thing – and there are few briefs more simple that ‘I have a garden that is not really working, can you help?’

Spirit Level Designs took this brief and ran with it, translating the minimalist Japanese aesthetic of the Bellevue Hill home into a lush and luxurious garden. Sandstone and smokebush mingle to create a space of serenity, with a vibrant splash of turquoise with a paradise pool.

Miriam McGarry

The Bellevue Hill Garden, by Spirit Level Designs, and architecture by Casey Brown. Photo – Jason Busch.

Green and silver and grey offer a soft organic balance against the Sydney sandstone. Photo – Jason Busch.

The home opens out to the backyard, welcoming the outside in. Photo – Jason Busch.

The bowls were carefully selected by the owner. Photo – Jason Busch.

Photo – Jason Busch.

The brilliant turquoise splash of the pool. Photo – Jason Busch.

Photo – Jason Busch.

Plenty of room to recline around the pool. Photo – Jason Busch.

The glow of smoke bush. Photo – Jason Busch.

Miriam McGarry
22nd of October 2019

This garden in Bellevue Hill by Spirit Level Design started with a very simple and clear brief from the client. Director Hugh Main describes how the first engagement with this owner came with the succinct statement ‘I have a garden that is not really working, can you help?’ From this humble request, the landscape designers brought the garden to life, to reflect the Japanese minimalism of the home, with an Australian twist.

Hugh explains that the design of the garden reflects the restraint of the home, but with softened edges, and nestled into the hillside. He describes ‘we have translated elements from a zen garden, and created a space that is tranquil and quiet.’ In addition to reflecting the mood of the architecture in the garden, the design encourages connection between inside and outside with expansive doors that connect the outdoors with the dining room, living room and kitchen. Hugh highlights ‘once the doors are open, it feels as though each room has its own framed view of the garden.’

In the garden, local sandstone is used for all paving and walls, softened by organic farms of planting. The garden is entered by walking through sandstone walls to a courtyard of smoke bush and ivy. Moving through the home and into the backyard, the space opens out to the glow of a turquoise pool, and ‘the garden wraps around the space, offering privacy and intrigue’. Hugh describes how the recurring forms of grey, silver and green ‘blur the lines between the house, pool and the property boundaries.’

The design offers plenty of space to lounge on the daybeds by the pool, or have a drink of the terrace outside the bedroom and enjoy the view over the garden, rich with Helychrisum petiolare, Raphiolepis intermedia, Raphiolepis Oriental Pearl and Elaeagnus pungens. The green, grey and silver foliage of these plants shimmers together, providing a serene outdoor experience.

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