Tim and Sarah Lincoln’s childhoods (spent in Melbourne’s eastern suburb of Vermont, and regional Victoria respectively) provided them with plenty of space to play and explore, so they set about creating a similar setting for their own family.
The nature-loving pair began tending to their Donvale garden (located about 20 kilometres east of Melbourne’s CBD) 10 years ago, working with Heath Blair from Plume Studio to design the sprawling outdoor space. The vision was to continue establishing the existing backyard, while overhauling the front.
‘The whole front yard as we entered up the driveway was bush and really just an overgrown mess that was in need of much love and total redesign,’ says Sarah. ‘We wanted to immerse ourselves in nature, create a peaceful environment, and create the property of our dreams where not only we could enjoy it, but our friends and family also.’
The garden today is an established, multi-zoned area inclusive of a 70 metre lawn. The planting palette is diverse, encompassing silver birches, oak trees, Japanese maples, crepe myrtles, forest pansies, native shrubs, and clivias. It’s also a productive garden, containing raised boxes for vegetables. as well as a mini orchard.
‘Our absolute favourite part of our garden is the Boston ivy that covers the whole front of the house and portico and also covers our pool house and pergola,’ says Sarah. ‘It climbs up our wrought iron window grilles which looks stunning and changes from green to red in the autumn months.’
A combination of timber decking and stone pavers adds an earthy feel to the landscape, while visually tying together each zone.
Tim and Sarah now regularly employ gardeners for maintenance, but enjoy planting new flowers themselves, and adding new pots and ornaments to give the garden character.
They say the garden is best appreciated in summer, just before dusk, when there’s a little warmth in the air and the colours of the flowers are most exaggerated.
‘We love listening to the birds, especially the kookaburras, and we have plenty of lovely rosellas and a few resident blue tongue lizards that sun bake out on the bluestone pavers by the pool and head underneath the rocks by the garden for shelter,’ says Sarah.
‘It really is our sanctuary.’