Suburban Garden

A Serene Courtyard Garden Inside A Spectacular Converted Bakery

Attracting the birds and the bees was a central part of the vision for this Sydney home’s intriguing garden.

The heritage building in Newtown was originally a corner shop and bakery warehouse that dates back to the early 1900s. Today, it’s a converted five-bedroom residence designed around a peaceful courtyard by The Garden Social.

Clever landscaping celebrates the property’s rich, industrial textures with soft layers of greenery that successfully bring nature back to its densely urban setting.

Christina Karras

Inside The Bakery‘s flourishing garden by The Garden Social! Photo – Anson Smart


The amazing Newtown home was originally a bakery and corner store. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The existing pool overtook the space and the client suggested reducing the size of it to give space back to the garden itself,’ The Garden Social director Asher Cole says. Photo – Anson Smart

South Coast Gardens handled the unique landscape installation. Photo – Anson Smart

The materials of mesh, limestone and pebbles were selected for their simplicity. Photo – Anson Smart

‘Due to the height of the enclosing walls this garden needed scale to visually grab you from every angle,’ Ashe says. Photo – Anson Smart

Evergreen elements like Yucca plants, tall ornamental grasses and crawlers envelope the harsh concrete setting. Photo – Anson Smart

Green vistas await beyond the expansive dining room. Photo – Anson Smart

‘The addition of a grove of olives allowed us to break down the rectangular nature of the setting and create a sense of intimacy that draws you into the space.’ Photo – Anson Smart

A variety of cacti and large, leafy pot plants including monstera and peperomia argyreia add to the balcony. Photo – Anson Smart

A large monstera brings the outdoors into the upstairs bathroom! Photo – Anson Smart

The project was only completed late last year, but green foliage is already beginning to take over the space. Photo – Anson Smart

The striking courtyard is now the ideal gathering place for the client and their adult children. Photo – Anson Smart

Christina Karras
12th of July 2022

It’s easy for a garden to become an afterthought in a dramatic architectural project. But for the owners of this spectacular converted bakery and corner shop in Newtown, landscaping was front of mind.

The clients enlisted The Garden Social for a lush garden that would complete the warehouse-turned-residence. It needed to complement an existing concrete pool, in addition to enhancing the home’s Anna Carin-designed interiors.

The Garden Social director and landscape architect Asher Cole was delighted when the couple asked for ‘a garden with as many plants as possible’. ‘This home was to function as a meeting point for their family, a place to come together,’ Asher says.

And despite being restricted to what was essentially a concrete-box, the thoughtful courtyard has bought a sense of the great outdoors to the inner-city abode.

‘The four tall walls that enclosed the space created a strong frame that needed to be softened and rivalled by planting,’ she adds. ‘In removing all the concrete from the space and turning this into a garden, we had this opportunity to celebrate the strength of nature creeping back through.’

Serene views of greenery are framed perfectly by the former warehouse’s  industrial floor-to-ceiling windows. But preserving the heritage building’s rustic character was also an integral part of the project.

‘Markings, old bolts, and cracks on the walls that some would see as imperfections were what drew the client to this home’ Asher explains. The resulting landscaping was curated to highlight ‘rather than correct’ these elements.

‘Large flowering plants such as the Brugmansia and Magnolia offer an exaggerated whimsical scale and are plants that our client reminisced about from their family garden,’ she says.

An olive grove also helped ‘break down the rectangular setting’, while the eclectic plant palette is seasonal and ever changing. Asher notes how the thriving garden has already successfully attracted ‘birds and bees’. And soon, edible planting will ‘ramble down the street front walls for the community to enjoy’.

‘This garden provides respite from the big city life just outside its four walls. Every inch has been planted and soon the landscape will take over the building,’ Asher says.

‘It’s a beautiful example of what can be achieved in a small space and how a wild naturalistic approach to our gardens can provide the best space to breathe.’

See more gardens from The Garden Social on their website.

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