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A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Gardens

To say this garden has undergone a transformation would be an understatement.

What was recently a large, barren plot accompanying a newly-built home in Kenthurst (39 kilometres north-west of Sydney’s CBD) is now an absolutely thriving garden for its elderly owner.

The client’s brief can be boiled down to four key elements – accessibility, refuge, social opportunity, and views – but their main request was for flowers! The resulting design by Outdoor Establishments combines seasonal colour, mature trees, and bird-attracting species, delineated by stone walls and paved areas featuring textural travertine from Eco Outdoor, to create multiple zones for eating, lounging and enjoying the garden. The perfect outcome for an extended family who love to entertain!

8th June, 2021

It’s hard to imagine now, but as recently as 2017, this Kenthurst site was almost barren. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Outdoor Establishments transformed the 3160m square metre garden on a 4000 square metre block for the elderly property owner. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

At the top of the client’s brief – all the flowers! Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

‘The entire landscape (except maintenance access to the onsite stormwater detention) was designed with no stairs, wide opening and manageable gradients for walker and wheelchair access. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Most of the plants were installed over an 11 month period in 2018, whole large trees were crane lifted in. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Low walls and seating opportunities are located at roughly 20 metre intervals. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Retaining walls throughout are made from sandstone and concrete. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Shrubs in the plant palette include Rhaphiolepis; Pittosporum ‘Miss Muffet’; Buxus; Crassula Bluebird; Rosemary officinalis; Anigozanthos (Kangaroo paw), Carissa Desert Star; Correa alba; Westringia fruticosa; Salvia ‘Santa Barbara‘; Leucadendron; Kalanchoe and many more. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Selections of bougainvillea, olive trees and magnolia were mixed with other iconic species, such as roses, crepe myrtles, citrus, salvia, agave and other appropriate exotics and natives. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

There were limited trees remaining on the site before this project, all of which were retained A row of mature gum trees runs along the street front (on council land). Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

The garden allows the owner to continue her passion for gardening and cut flowers. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Given the many influences at play, the completed garden features no overriding style. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Classic topiary elements are mixed with flowering natives, deciduous weeping trees are paired with sculptural succulents, and Australian sandstone meets recycled hardwood. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Recycled Australian hardwoods were used for the decks, pergolas. Kotti Outdoor Dining Chair available from Eco Outdoor. Photos – Natalie Hunfalvay

Trees range from Syzygium to Lagerstroemia; Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear’; Magnolia x soulangeana; Albizia; Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’; olive; Melaleuca; and Callistemon. Photos – Natalie Hunfalvay

Various shaded and open entertaining zones are designed to accommodate large groups. Photos – Natalie Hunfalvay

A fire pit area is one of the many entertaining zones. Photos – Natalie Hunfalvay

‘She wanted the garden to embody elements of her life in Australia as well as her Italian/Mediterranean heritage that would eventually be left for her family to enjoy,’ says Matthew Hook, director of Outdoor Establishments, about the owner. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

The scale and depth of what’s been achieved here is truly incredible, and is a credit to Outdoor Establishment’s vision, the owner’s passion, and her daughter who managed the entire project.  Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

As the garden sits on former farming land, concrete and steel were also incorporated in a nod to its history. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Ground covers in the project include Trachelospermum ‘Flat Mat’; Juniperus ‘Blue Rug’; Senecio serpens; Chrysocephalum apiculatum ‘Desert Flame’; Viola hederacea; and Rosemary officinalis ‘Prostratus.’ Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Mature gum trees outside the property boundary. Photo – Natalie Hunfalvay

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 8th June 2021

‘It was essential to ensure she had colour with every change of season…She wanted the garden to embody elements of her life in Australia as well as her Italian/Mediterranean heritage.’ – Matthew Hook

Some of us dream our whole lives of having the perfect garden. It’s taken decades and decades for the owner of this Kenthurst property to create hers, but we daresay it’s been worth the wait.

Given the client’s age, creating a space she could enjoy straight away was the priority. ‘She didn’t have years and years to wait for the gardens to establish. We understood we were assisting to create her legacy garden,’ says Trystan Graham, director of Outdoor Establishments.

The inspiration for the project was the client herself – a woman with a passion for gardens, who has lived most of her life in Sydney’s Hills, and enjoys the area’s aesthetic. Outdoor Establishments worked closely with her to develop the layout of the garden, select materials, and curate the planting palette. At the top of her brief – all the flowers! 

‘It was essential to ensure she had colour with every change of season…She wanted the garden to embody elements of her life in Australia as well as her Italian/Mediterranean heritage that would eventually be left for her family to enjoy,’ says Matthew Hook, director of Outdoor Establishments.

Given the many influences at play, the completed garden features no overriding style. Classic topiary elements are mixed with flowering natives, deciduous weeping trees are paired with sculptural succulents, and Australian sandstone meets recycled hardwood. Most of these plants were installed over an 11 month period in 2018, including large trees that were crane lifted in.

Throughout the 3160 square metre garden (on a 4000 square metre block), are various shaded and open entertaining zones to accommodate large groups. Each of these spaces are accessible with gentle ramps and plenty of seating opportunities for the owner, her daughter, and their regular extended family guests. 

‘The entire landscape (except maintenance access to the onsite stormwater detention) was designed with no stairs, wide openings, and manageable gradients for walker and wheelchair access. Low walls and seating opportunities are located at roughly 20 metre intervals,’ says Trystan. 

‘The Hills district is also known for being very hot in summer, so we ensured views from within the home out into the garden were planned, so the client would get the benefits of the garden from inside.’

Tying all these garden spaces together is the consistent application of Scala® Travertine natural stone flooring tiles from Eco Outdoor, which lend a soft, textural quality to the paved areas throughout. 

The value placed on residential landscapes has increased during the pandemic, ‘particularly for the elderly who have been completely isolated from the world,’ as Matthew notes. The owner of this property feels fortunate to have access to this private garden that allows space to enjoy on her own; social time with her family; continuing her passion for gardening and cut flowers; growing her own food; safety and security; and engaging with nature.

The scale and depth of what’s been achieved here is truly incredible, and is a credit to Outdoor Establishment’s vision, the owner’s passion, and her daughter who managed the entire project.  

‘We feel the project isn’t really ever complete, as we maintain it weekly, and are always tinkering in the garden with the owner,’ says Trystan. A legacy project indeed!

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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.

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.