For landscape designer High Main of Spirit Level Designs, the goal of good garden design is for the landscape to feel almost ‘un-designed’.
‘I wanted to create a garden that feels as though it has always been there,’ says Hugh of this layered, lush garden in Bronte. Luckily, nature was already doing a lot of the work for him.
The steep site backs onto the Bronte Reserve, where a massive fig tree, enormous eucalypt and overhanging Blue Spruce co-exist happily. Altogether, this quirky mix of trees creates a surreal suburban landscape, that allows the architectural home to recede into the surrounding environment. Hugh’s brief for the garden was to aid this illusion.
The residence consists of two storeys stacked atop a street-facing garage, accessible via an external flight of stairs. Within it, there are two garden sections: one at the rear, accessible via the top-level lounge room; and one at the front, on top of the garage roof and accessible via the main bedroom.
‘The steepness of the site allows each section of the garden to have its own level, enhancing the unique atmosphere of each area,’ says Hugh. His responsibility was to ensure the garden connected meaningfully to each one. To do this, he devised a rich and layered palette containing a lot of foliage and silvery tones.
The white stucco render, concrete and pale acoya timber used to construct the house is reflected in the soft, silvery planting palette – which is made up of mother-in-law tongue, woolly torch cactus, liquorice plant and blue chalksticks. Lush green plants are then added to the composition for contrast and depth. Several mature trees in the rear garden were retained alongside a mature frangipani and crepe myrtle that Hugh’s team installed at the front.
‘I wanted to soften the crisp lines of the architecture with a very relaxed style of planting,’ says Hugh.‘It just so happens that silver and grey plants use less water. When creating these dreamy landscape with a soft palette, we are also creating environmentally sensitive garden.’
Architect Madeleine Blanchfield designed the house to ensure that the each room is connected to a part of the garden or surrounding landscape. The result is a delightfully verdant envelope that cushions the house in a soft embrace!
Love what you see? View more projects from Spirit Level Designs here.