A Lush + Functional Queensland Courtyard

The owners of this architecturally designed home in St Lucia, Brisbane have lived here for more than two decades. In the time since, the home (originally designed by revered Queensland architectural firm Donovan Hill – now Partners Hill) has aged gracefully, but the garden required fresh attention.

So, recently, the homeowners engaged landscape architect Dan Young to redesign the central courtyard to suit the family’s changing needs. The result is a garden that matches the rhythms and materials of the residence, and strikes the crucial balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. It’s a sub-tropical beauty!

Sasha Gattermayr

Looking back at the house from the raised green area which is laid with Luca Crazy Paving from Eco Outdoor .Photo – Andy Macpherson.

Luca Crazy Paving from Eco Outdoor was used in the raised garden bed. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

The new garden informs the materiality and volumes of the house. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

The garden strikes a fine balance between aesthetic and functional. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

Deciduous trees provide shade in summer and allow sun to enter the house during winter. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

Decking services the main doors and entry points to the courtyard while concrete steps lead up to the crazy paved green area. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

Three sides of the garden are edged by the house, while the fourth is bordered by the perimeter fence. Photo – Andy Macpherson.

How good is that crazy paving?! Photo – Andy Macpherson.

Sasha Gattermayr
13th of July 2021

The key to a great courtyard is a balance between built forms and planted greenery. This maxim is proved true in the case of the Y3 Garden by landscape architect Dan Young.

‘The clients were looking for a reasonably low maintenance garden that would screen some neighbouring dwellings, and also discourage their dogs from digging in the garden,’ says Dan. ‘Finding a balance between planting density and traversability was the most important consideration.’

This was especially true given the placement of the garden in relation to the architecture. Sitting at the centre of the property, the house wraps around the garden on three sides, and the boundary line fences it in on the fourth. This leaves the garden at the heart of the property, providing a green outlook to all communal parts of the house as well as a thoroughfare from one side to the other. 

As such, the design had to reconcile these competing aesthetic and utilitarian demands. Decking skirts the perimeter to transition doors and entry-points to the denser parts of the garden. A raised garden bed sits in the middle, housing layered green plantings and deciduous trees that provide shade in summer and light in winter. This raised level is serviced by concrete steps, which lead up to the crazy-paved path that winds its way through the greenery. 

‘The planting palette was composed broadly to draw from the grey tones of ageing timber, and pushed into hues of green that are deliberately non-tropical. We felt that the vividness of a sub-tropical palette would perhaps be overwhelming in an area with uninhibited morning and midday sun,’ says Dan. ‘For the hard paving surfaces, we selected Luca Crazy Paving from Eco Outdoor for its naturalistic form and how it complements the overall garden tones.’

The final garden is a relaxed, low-maintenance space that makes the most of its position in a transitional zone. The result is a lush, versatile outdoor space that will service this house and its residents for many years to come!

This project is shortlisted in the TDF + Laminex Design Awards 2021, in the Landscape Design Category – proudly supported by Eco Outdoor.

See more projects from Dan Young Landscape here

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