‘Our garden philosophy is to create a green sanctuary that evokes a sense of calm, and brings the wonder and character of plants and nature close into people’s homes’, landscape designer of Frances Hale of Peachy Green shares. Together with her team, Fran creates divinely lush, layered gardens, harnessing the rich natural resources unique to each garden – soil, aspect, climate, shade and native species.
Originally from New Zealand, Fran arrived in Melbourne almost 20 years ago, ‘to pursue a career in a city where design matters to people’, she explains. She knew she wanted to centre her future around something related to art and design, and wisely decided to realise that creativity in gardens – ’I thought it would be good for the soul’, she explains (seriously, who has the whole work/life balance thing figured out that early?), ‘although I’m not sure I knew at that stage quite how much I would grow to love working with nature’ she admits.
In 2011, Fran started her landscape design business, Peachy Green, first working out of her home, and steadily growing her practice to the ‘thriving little business’ it is today. Now, Fran and her team work from an exceedingly lovely workspace in Fairfield at the bottom of the new Nightingale 2.0 building, which she has recently decked out in layers of luxe textures and confident, bright bursts of soft peach and forest green (how fitting) with the help of Nick Harding at Ha Arch, as well as Hip V. Hype. ‘The office started as a dream of convenience – to ride the kids to school then roll downhill to the office’, Fran tells. ‘The sign popped up in my neighbourhood in the window of Nightingale 2.0, an organisation and movement that leads in such a positive direction for our cities and communities, it felt like the perfect home for Peachy Green.’
When I asked Fran what she wanted to achieve in a Peachy Green garden, her answer focused first on the emotive potential. ‘That feeling where you don’t need to go out, but would rather spend the day at home because it holds everything you need to rejuvenate’, she says. ‘To step out and experience the garden with all your senses in all the seasons is a joy, and I love seeing how happy a garden – or even a pot plant – makes people feel’.
This sentiment is naturally echoed in Fran’s relationships with clients. ‘When designing a garden that often follows a complex renovation or build, it is impossible not to get caught up in the significance of finishing off a long journey – sometimes many years in the dreaming/planning/making’, Fran muses. ‘Getting to the heart of what they really want to feel when they are in their garden creates the most rewarding outcomes for everyone’.