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 Swedish-Inspired Garden In Suburban Melbourne!

Gardens

Beauty meets practicality in this Swedish inspired garden, designed by Penny Starr Design.

Both the front and rear gardens of this Rosanna home have been redesigned, with family use in mind. The inspiration? An unlikely, international throwback – Ulf Nordfjell’s ‘The Daily Telegraph Garden’, winner of the best show garden at the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show!

17th August, 2020

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Amelia Barnes
Monday 17th August 2020

‘The garden feels tranquil, and while it always looks lush thanks to the evergreen plants, there’s always something happening to mark the seasons.’ – Penny Starr

When Penny Starr was engaged by a young couple to redesign their garden in Rosanna (12 kilometres north-east from the Melbourne CBD), their existing outdoor spaces had few notable features. ‘The garden was basically a blank canvas, with nothing worth saving, other than the gum tree in the front garden,’ Penny says.

The brief was to revitalise the garden in a ‘modern cottage’ style, that would also address the practical needs of the clients’ young family.

Being new parents, the clients were after a secure front yard, including a patio large enough for a pram. A sweeping driveway now leads to the house, adjoined by a densely planted perennial garden, and gravel void showcasing the towering lemon-scented gum.

The backyard design is equally focused on functionality, containing spaces for entertaining including a bluestone paved area directly off the kitchen and family areas. While curves define the front garden, straight lines feature in the back, such as in the new covered pergola. A lawn bordered by a lavender hedge and screening trees provides space for children to play.

Though it was designed around very practical needs, Penny’s design does not compromise on aesthetics. A green outlook has been created from every room in the house, with an overall look derived from acclaimed Swedish landscape designer Ulf Nordfjell’s ‘The Daily Telegraph Garden’, which won best show garden at the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show. Ulf’s English cottage meets Scandi minimalism aesthetic is particularly referenced in Penny’s material palette, which comprises black timber, white masonry, concrete and gravel, with contrasting purple, white and green foliage.

Among plants in this garden are forest pansy, winter glow ornamental pear for its long leaf hold, and a snow pear in the courtyard. Flowering perennials include irises, agapanthus, and Christmas lilies, while Buxus balls and a privet hedge provide structure. ‘Fences are softened with climbing plants such as star jasmine and Boston ivy,’ says Penny.

‘The garden feels tranquil, and while it always looks lush thanks to the evergreen plants, there’s always something happening to mark the seasons.’

See more of Penny Starr Design’s work here!

This Week

Interiors

The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

A good kitchen starts with observing these five rules, brought to you by Australian design and manufacturing kitchen brand Cantilever Interi...

Architecture

A Lean, Clean Renovation To A Grand Heritage Weatherboard

ioa Studio transforms a cavernous Victorian residence into a light, bright contemporary home - and adds an element of surprise!
Sasha Gattermayr
  18 hours ago

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Swoon-Worthy Luggage For The Perfect Weekend Escape

Local luggage experts July prep us for the summer of local travel with the slick new ‘Daybreak’ range.
Sponsored

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Architecture

A Sleek, Surprising Reworking Of A Victorian Cottage

A humble but innovative extension by Blair Smith Architecture has totally modernised this Victorian cottage in Brunswick.

Stays

This Revitalised Motel With Old Hollywood Vibes Is Byron Bay's Newest Design Destination

A little bit Los Angeles, a little bit Ibiza, this beautiful new accommodation in the heart of the Northern Rivers is a showcase of local de...
Sasha Gattermayr

Homes

Louella Boitel Gill's Loved And Layered Bungalow By The Beach

Interior and furniture designer Louella Boîtel-Gill has turned her former Airbnb in the Northern Rivers into an idyllic family home.
02:40

Small Business

Our (Free!) Small Business Summer School Is Here!

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? Small Business Consultant Fiona Killackey is here to guide you through how to get st...
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

News

A Starlight Summer Festival To Begin In Heide’s Sculpture Park

Get your socialising mojo back with this cultural program of dance events, music acts and Indigenous storytelling at Heide Museum of Modern
Sponsored

News

Colourful New Kids Books From A Legendary Local Illustrator

Artist Kat MacLeod teaches us our ABCs in this super cute range of books from Thames & Hudson.
Sasha Gattermayr
  15 hours ago

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

A lush lavender hedge in the back garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

An Earthy, Low Maintenance Garden In Victoria’s Macedon Ranges

Kathleen Murphy Landscape Design creates a robust yet welcoming garden that is contemporary in design, and responsive to its conditions. 

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 Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

This Week

Homes

Louella Boitel Gill's Loved And Layered Bungalow By The Beach

Interior and furniture designer Louella Boîtel-Gill has turned her former Airbnb in the Northern Rivers into an idyllic family home.

Furniture

The Tradie Brotherhood Behind Our Newest Furniture Obsession

Brothers Jack and Mark Fearon combine their experience as a plumber and boilermaker to create the most colourful, characterful furniture goi...
Sasha Gattermayr

News

A Starlight Summer Festival To Begin In Heide’s Sculpture Park

Get your socialising mojo back with this cultural program of dance events, music acts and Indigenous storytelling at Heide Museum of Modern
Sponsored
02:40

Small Business

Our (Free!) Small Business Summer School Is Here!

Got a burning business idea but no idea where to start? Small Business Consultant Fiona Killackey is here to guide you through how to get st...

Studio Visit

Dive Into The Colourful, Creative World of Melbourne's Designer-Of-The-Moment, Danielle Brustman

Know her name but not her story? Welcome to the vibrant world of designer Danielle Brustman, at her incredible studio in Collingwood Yards!
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Victorian Terrace That Plays Design Gymnastics!

Melbourne's colour masters Wowowa are back with another clever Victorian renovation!

News

Colourful New Kids Books From A Legendary Local Illustrator

Artist Kat MacLeod teaches us our ABCs in this super cute range of books from Thames & Hudson.
Sasha Gattermayr
  15 hours ago

Architecture

A Contemporary Beach House Designed By An Architect For Her Parents

The Bendalong Beach House by Madeleine Blanchfield provided such a serene escape for its owners, it became their full-time residence!
Amelia Barnes
  2 hours ago

Architecture

A Sleek, Surprising Reworking Of A Victorian Cottage

A humble but innovative extension by Blair Smith Architecture has totally modernised this Victorian cottage in Brunswick.

Stays

This Revitalised Motel With Old Hollywood Vibes Is Byron Bay's Newest Design Destination

A little bit Los Angeles, a little bit Ibiza, this beautiful new accommodation in the heart of the Northern Rivers is a showcase of local de...
Sasha Gattermayr

Interiors

The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

A good kitchen starts with observing these five rules, brought to you by Australian design and manufacturing kitchen brand Cantilever Interi...

Architecture

This Couple's Home Is Two Houses In One!

Coy Yiontis Architects have designed this home with separate areas for a couple who have been living together for 50 years. His and hers goa...

Architecture

A Lean, Clean Renovation To A Grand Heritage Weatherboard

ioa Studio transforms a cavernous Victorian residence into a light, bright contemporary home - and adds an element of surprise!
Sasha Gattermayr
  18 hours ago

News

Swoon-Worthy Luggage For The Perfect Weekend Escape

Local luggage experts July prep us for the summer of local travel with the slick new ‘Daybreak’ range.
Sponsored
42:51

Podcast

TDF Talks with Plant Designer, Jenna Holmes of Plant Mama

In this podcast conversation, Jenna of 'Plant Mama' and 'Pasta Mama' shares how she has built and grown two very different businesses from t...

Similar Stories

Gardens

An Earthy, Low Maintenance Garden In Victoria’s Macedon Ranges

A robust yet welcoming garden that is contemporary in design, and responsive to its conditions. 

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 Suburban Backyard Transformed Into A Lush Garden Retreat

Mud Office complements a modern Ivanhoe extension with this magnificent green retreat!
Sasha Gattermayr

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.