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A Thoughtful Garden Championing Nature In The Inner-City

Gardens

While the lifestyle and convenience of living close to Melbourne’s CBD has many perks, one of the drawbacks of the inner suburbs is the lack of space – and subsequent longing for a garden.

But if you’re lucky enough to have a yard and a sizeable block, there are still subtle ways to bring a sense of nature back to your urban environment.

Case in point; this Fitzroy North garden by Sam Cox Landscape. Thanks to a mix of native plants and established trees, it transports the homeowners to the Australian bush.

28th September, 2022

The renovated Fitzroy North family home is enveloped in Sam Cox Landscape-designed gardens. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The planting landscape is filled with natives. Photo – Marnie Hawson

A window at the rear opens the home to the garden. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Green-on-green contrast foliage helps the yard feel lush and full. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Photo – Marnie Hawson

The established Smoke-bush tree was a favourite of the client’s existing garden, featuring flowers that look like puffy pink clouds! Photo – Marnie Hawson

A fruit tree was another one of the existing trees that was incorporated into the garden. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Indoor-outdoor living at its best! Photo – Marnie Hawson

The vegetable garden was another highlight of the project. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Photo – Marnie Hawson

An additional seating area is hidden among the greenery. Photo – Marnie Hawson

A look at the lush green canopy. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The thoughtful design successfully brings a taste of the great outdoors to the inner-city abode. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Christina Karras
Wednesday 28th September 2022

‘There is a significant environment that’s been lost [in our cities] and we are just trying to bring something of that back’ – Sam Cox

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’.

See more projects from Sam Cox Landscape here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net