When James Headland of Pangkarra was engaged to transform this garden in Macmasters Beach, on the NSW Central Coast, he was tasked with bringing nature back into the home. An existing lawn with box hedges and tropical plants was uninspiring, and was completely at odds with the native landscape close to Bouddi National Park.
Drawing on his understanding of the area as a local resident, James designed a predominantly native scheme with various zones to suit the sloping site and future of the young family owners.
Inspiration was drawn everywhere, from the native planting to bush walks on the escarpment.
The structure of the garden roughly transitions from a wetter riparian zone before a drier pool area at the property’s highest point.
Trees evolve to demonstrate this journey, from tree ferns (Sphaeropteris cooperi), to coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia), scribbly gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma), and Pandanus tectorius around the pool. ‘Pandanus aren’t necessarily endemic to this far south, but I wanted to use them as more of an architectural statement around the pool,’ James says.
The pool and entertaining area sit beneath a new cabana designed by David Boyle Architect. David actually designed the original house on site 16 years earlier, and was engaged by the new owners to complete passive design and technology upgrades, internal fit out and external works, as well as collaborating with James on the outdoor spaces.
Materials in the hardscape reference the newly interiors by Arent&Pyke in a manner conducive to the coastal conditions. Pink-toned granite flooring and granite boulders feature in the main courtyard, before corten steel detailing, and off form concrete that carries into the cabana.
Stepped platforms reinstate the natural slope to ensure a strong visual connection through the layered textures of riparian, coastal heath planting.
As the family’s children get older, these spaces can be easily formalised with outdoor furniture.
James’ favourite element of the landscape is the demure courtyard, accessible only from a rear bedroom. This intimate space with a stone water feature provides a moment of refuge from the otherwise dramatic landscape, framed indoors by stunning water views.
The project has succeeded in bringing the natural landscape of Macmasters Beach into a residential property. Its layered outdoor spaces instil a feeling of calm and reward quiet observation.