A Melbourne Apartment’s Lacklustre Garden Turned ‘Sea Of Green'

When landscape designer Andrew Panton started work on a ‘struggling’ apartment garden in Melbourne’s south-east, he wanted to create something that could bring a rustic edge to the modern lines of the newly built complex.

Through grassy ground coverings, evergreen trees, and walls of climbing ivy, he’s turned the outdoor space into a diverse ‘sea of green’ that owner Rae Moir and her adorable dog Ruby can enjoy all year round!

Christina Karras

The Black St Garden by Andrew Panton Design. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Andrew says the existing garden and grass area was struggling with poor drainage and lack of nutrients, so the first challenge was getting that right before the landscaping commenced. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Owner Rae Moir and her beloved dog Ruby! Photo – Marnie Hawson

The space is now an abundant ‘sea of green’. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidate) climbs the side walls. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The garden’s white magnolia and Crepe myrtle flowers bloom in spring and summer. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The dwarf mondo grass is now a soft ground covering for the owner’s dog Ruby to lay on. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Andrew chatting with owner Rae in the beautiful revived garden! Photo – Marnie Hawson

Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘The mondo grass has filled in beautifully and now gives an appearance of a lush green carpet,’ Andrew adds. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Photo – Marnie Hawson

The lush planting now helps soften the outdoor courtyard. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Christina Karras
18th of October 2022

Finding ways to inject green spaces into apartments is a hard task. Some owners bring in indoor plants, or create leafy jungles on their balconies, but Brighton resident Rae Moir lucked out with the garden of her ground-floor apartment!

Located in a newly built, luxury complex, the apartment’s existing yard was struggling with issues like poor drainage. Even still, it was a great open space with plenty of untapped potential, prompting her to engage Andrew Panton Design for its thoughtful transformation.

The main brief was to create a unique garden beyond an outdoor dining area that Rae and her dog Ruby could enjoy all year round.

‘It’s a relatively small space but I saw the potential to create something with a real impact,’ practice director and landscape designer Andrew Panton says. ‘My vision was to introduce as much green as possible, whilst keeping it practical for the client and her dog.’

Perennial Landscaping helped turn the design into a reality. After removing the old garden’s grass area and nursing the nutrient-lacking soil back to health, they used dwarf mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) as a lush ground cover that now blankets the space. This helped set the diverse tone for the overall backyard, in addition to being a ‘nice soft surface’ for Rae’s dog to lie on!

‘The mondo grass has filled in beautifully and now gives an appearance of a lush green carpet,’ Andrew adds. ‘Fresh green growth on the bay trees (Laurus nobilis) also created a beautiful green screen for extra privacy around the perimeter.’

‘The biggest challenge was creating something unique in a relatively confined space. I wanted to make it special, which meant fitting a lot of different elements into a small area, without making it feel overcrowded.’

Andrew looked to contrast the apartment building’s contemporary design with elements that could bring a ‘rustic edge’, separating the lush green planting with a walkway of grey limestone pavers and a large corten steel ring around a garden bed. On the opposite side of the yard, touches of Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidate) climbs the side walls.

Manicured Buxus hedges lead to the home’s entrance, framed by two striking pots with evergreen magnolias. And, in spring and summer, the trees’ flowers complement the delicate white blooms of nearby crepe myrtle shrubs, also known as Lagerstroemia natchez.

‘I love how much garden we managed to incorporate,’ Andrew says. ‘It’s a sea of green which juxtaposes beautifully with the straight modern lines of the building. It’s sophisticated and lush.’

See more work by Andrew Panton Design here.

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