The owners of this family home in Fitzroy North approached Sam Cox Landscape with a unique request to bring elements of the bush to their property. The old brick house was in the final stages of a renovation by Nest Architects, but the garden also needed to be a functional yet calming escape for the busy family of five.
‘The vision for the space was to create a canopy to set up that sense of being in a landscape, nestled in with scale above our heads to give that feeling of the Australian bush,’ Sam Cox says.
‘We brought in elements such as Indigenous plantings into the area, while also using other natives suited to the conditions but not endemic to the area. There is a significant environment that’s been lost [in our cities] and we are just trying to bring something of that back.’
Sam says creating non-defined boundaries was the first step, to ‘screen out’ the double storey and semi-commercial buildings at the back of the property. A small area of grass that was initially set up for kicking a soccer ball was re-purposed into a functional vegetable garden – a feature the family appreciated during the lockdowns.
They opted for Eucalyptus Scoparia (also known as Wallangarra white gum tree) to create the yard’s lush canopy, while a ‘self-sown’ She-oak tree also contributed the yard. Sam worked some of the property’s existing trees, incorporating Smoke-bush with misty pink flowerings and an old fig tree into the new landscaping. The garden also features also a multi-purpose space with a sitting area under an old existing fruit tree, while a large swinging window on a bench seat at the rear of the home is the perfect place to take in the varying layers of greenery.
‘It now feels like you’re ‘in’ a landscape rather than ‘looking over’ a landscape,’ Sam adds. ‘The canopy is up now. It allows the view from the from the living areas to feel like you’re looking through it, into a bushland environment.’
It’s a thoughtful lesson on cultivating a sense of the natural environment into urban spaces, with Sam adding that ‘it’s possible, no matter how small’.