A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

Grand residential gardens are commonly surrounded by a high fence for residents’ privacy, but not this one! 

Designed by Dangar Barin Smith, the deep front garden of this property in Mollymook, NSW, actively contributes to its streetscape, so much so, it has become an inadvertent tourist attraction!

Amelia Barnes

A coastal-style garden by Dangar Barin Smith accompanies this house by MCK Architects in Mollymook, NSW. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

The house turns its back on the street to face the ocean in the east, allowing for a west-facing garden that adds to the streetscape. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Giant tree aloes were procured by succulent growers Architectural By Nature. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Photo – Prue Ruscoe


There’s no fence surrounding the street-facing west garden, allowing passersby to also appreciate the space. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

The garden and house blend seamlessly. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Ocean views from the property. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

‘The garden is a lush layered composition of exotic plants that blend into the native surrounds,’ says landscape designer William Dangar. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Photo – Prue Ruscoe

A private outdoor dining area. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Native bush land sits before the ocean. Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Photo – Prue Ruscoe

Amelia Barnes
21st of September 2020

Large residential sites provide the opportunity to create expansive gardens that not only benefit residents, but the wider community. 

This garden project in Mollymook, on the NSW South Coast, is one example. Located on a site formerly occupied by four houses, the property features an exceptionally wide and deep street frontage, allowing space for a generous garden. On top of that, the accompanying house is oriented away from the street towards the ocean in the east, thereby affording the owners privacy, without the need for a fence around the west-facing garden. ‘This presented a fantastic landscape opportunity, as the garden was not interrupted by a physical barrier,’ says William Dangar, founding director of landscape practice Dangar Barin Smith. ‘The front door is also discreetly positioned within the arrangement, which negated the need for a front fence.’

The original brief from the client was to create a tropical garden to complement the expansive resort-like home by MCK Architects. With the guidance of Dangar Barin Smith however, this morphed into a coastal-style garden with large leafed plants and palms. ‘The garden is a lush, layered composition of exotic plants that blend into the native surrounds,’ says William. ‘The frontage of the property is very deep, so texture, foliage form and colour were important to reward the street elevation.’

One of the garden’s most striking elements are the giant granite boulders inserted throughout the landscape. ‘They were positioned on both sides of the site, and are an unusual yet subtle feature,’ says William. These boulders, paired with large tree aloes, give the impression of a mature garden, despite this being an entirely new build. The plant palette also includes mature strelitzia, frangipani and kentia palms. 

The success of this project is evident in its popularity, having become somewhat of a tourist attraction in the coastal town. ‘What amazes me about this project is how it connects to both the locals and the tourist community. It has become by default a tourist attraction to the town,’ says William. ‘Every time I visit there is alway a few people stopped out the front taking it all in.’

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