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The Greatest Gardens Of 2020

Gardens

It’s safe to say that 2020 was the year almost EVERYONE was happy to have a green space to retreat to – and if they didn’t, looking at others’ was (hopefully) the next best thing!

These are the outdoor oases that gave us calm and serenity in a year we spent locked inside. From rooftop pools to centuries-old acreages, suburban backyards and sprawling regional paradises – we love each and every one of these pockets of private wilderness!

6th January, 2021

The gardens at Picardy by Bruce and Marian Somes. Photo – Sue Stubbs.

The gardens at Picardy by Bruce and Marian Somes. Photo – Sue Stubbs.

The gardens at Picardy by Bruce and Marian Somes. Photo – Sue Stubbs.

Sasha Gattermayr
Wednesday 6th January 2021

A French Provincial Dreamland In West Gippsland, Inspired By Monet’s Giverny Garden!

You’d be forgiven for thinking this house was in Normandy, because that’s exactly where owners Bryce and Marian Somes want to transport you. Inspired by Monet’s Giverny, the Somes have been tending to this 26-acre plot in West Gippsland as an homage to the great European gardens of the fin-de-siecle. Named Picardy, the gardens are in constant bloom throughout the year, with different sections designed to flower in different seasons – and the pair of francophiles are constantly adding new parts!

Revisit the original story here.

A Dreamy, Generous Coastal Garden

The Mollymook garden by Dangar Barin Smith is so incredible, it’s become a tourist destination! Townsfolk and visitors alike come to marvel at the landscape, which wraps around the home (designed by MCK Architects) and contains a mix of tropical and native plantings. The best part? The absence of a fence-line – which means the lush vegetation rolls out into the ocean via a garden path that leads visitors straight down to the beach. Dreams!

Revisit the original story here.

A Landscape Designer’s Own Ever-Changing Garden

Of course, we would be remiss not to include the winner of the Landscape Design category of our very own TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2020 – Kathleen Murphy!

The landscape designer’s own studio garden in the Macedon Ranges is as much a place for family relaxation as it is for experimenting with new plants. Designed to frame the mountain views as well as create a verdant green vista when viewed from the house, layers of robust, textured plantings are complemented by pockets of delicate flowerings. Practically perfect in every way.

Revisit the original story here.

‘At the end of the day my greatest satisfaction is looking out over what has been created and the feeling of calmness it evokes,’ says Sam. Photo – Kim Selby.

Being her own space, the garden is a constant work in progress! Photo – Simon Griffiths.

A Landscape Designer’s Own Sumptuous Green Wonderland

Sam Crawford has been working on her garden in Clarkefield for the last eight years. A trained horticulturalist and landscape designer (under Kathleen Murphy!), when her husband inherited his family property Sam scored the enormous garden. She set about transforming it into a highly original landscape, incorporating native plantings and her own ideas into a traditional country garden model. It’s a bona-fide paradise!

Revisit the original story here.

A Majestic Restoration For A Legendary Heritage Garden

Allegedly designed by William Guilfoyle in the 1860s (the creator of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria himself!), this one-acre property in the Melbourne suburb of Deepdene required the perfect landscapers to undertake the historic restoration project. Ian Barker Gardens were up for the job, taking care to preserve the original plantings (some of which were over a century and a half old!) and rework a sympathetic layout with painstaking faithfulness to the original design. It’s even listed on the National Heritage Trust!

Revisit the original story here.

It’s never lonely in Lily’s garden! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lily Langham’s garden in Daylesford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lily is fascinated by the relationships between plants and insects. ‘I go down to the garden at night to see what moths are pollinating what plant!’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

An Artist’s Blissful Garden Wonderland In Daylesford

Artist and garden designer Lily Langham has been tending to her 100 acres of sprawling bushland for the last 13 years. Her artistic sensibilities inform her garden design – resulting in a meandering, intuitive and utterly delightful dreamscape. Expect the unexpected in this place: a rogue pumpkin rolled across the path, a ramshackle caravan, sheds patched together from mismatched sheets of corrugated iron. Our columnist Georgina Reid of The Planthunter sums it up better than we can:

‘It’s rare to see a garden that sits so gently on the landscape. It’s like it’s having a conversation with the soil; it couldn’t be anywhere else but here. It feels true to exactly where it is.’

Revisit the original story here.

A Miraculous Floating Garden + Pool in Brisbane

Now THIS is a pool with a view! A collaboration between Kieron Gait Architects and Dan Young Landscape Design, the renovation to this suburban Brisbane terrace flipped the ‘family home’ stereotype on its head and delivered a pool and garden masterfully integrated with the mountainous landscape beyond. Rough rock, native grasses and even the hint of a tropical canopy make it a standout. The artfully masqueraded car-port draped with a curtain of creepers reminds us of a Bond villain’s lair… in the most sophisticated way possible!

Revisit the original story here.

 

Jac Semmler’s Frankston garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Jac Semmler’s Frankston garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Jac Semmler’s Frankston garden. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

A Self-Confessed Crazy Plant Lady’s Suburban Garden

Unusually located at the front of her home rather than the rear, this botanical laboratory in Frankston is the place Jac Semmler of The Diggers Club lets her freak flag fly. The self-confessed ‘crazy plant lady’ tests out all her ideas here in her own literal backyard, cultivating a terrain filled with whimsy, texture and randomness. It’s a beloved neighbourhood garden – one tended with emotion, love and sheer curiosity. Just like Jac, this place has SO much personality!

Revisit the original story here.

A Luscious Inner Suburban Garden With An Enormous Ethereal Lagoon (In Northcote!)

The fairytale-style garden by Sam Cox looks like it could be in regional Victoria, not buried in suburban Melbourne! The centrepiece is the swimming hole: a boulder-lined, natural water lagoon that consumes the back half of the garden. Beyond the boundary line, towering natural gums conjure the illusion of bushland which, in the middle of a city, is the best of both worlds!

Revisit the original story here.

 

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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.

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