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.’