An Intriguing Coastal Garden, Filled With Natives + Surprises

The coastal landscape of this architectural house in Jan Juc, Victoria, was all the inspiration the designers needed to create its intriguing gardens.

MINT Pool + Landscape Design have woven serene green spaces throughout the sweeping family home, which hides a central courtyard, native plantings, and a suspended swimming pool with incredible views of the Torquay Golf Club.

Because when a garden has a position this good, you can’t ignore its natural beauty – you work with it.

Christina Karras

Step inside this incredible Jan Juc house and you’ll find an elevated swimming pool, with garden spaces by MINT Pool + Landscape Design throughout. Photo – Erik Holt

The home’s design brings the traditional in-ground pool up to the second floor in order to make the most of the home’s lush outlook! Photo – Erik Holt

The lower floor is built around a serene central courtyard, with stairs that lead to the main house and pool above. Photo – Erik Holt

A north-facing area along the house has been turned into a productive garden with rust corten planters below a sculptural staircase. Photo – Erik Holt

The architecture’s concrete design has been softened by greenery and natural materials. Photo – Erik Holt

‘With limited space it’s not possible to push the veggie garden to the back of the block and screen it off… it had to be part of the garden and not only a pragmatic space but one that also looked great,’ Darin of MINT Pool + Landscape Design says. Photo – Erik Holt

‘The garden is protected from cold southerly breezes but still receives some salt spray from the nearby beach on windy days. This required the front yard area to be planted with species that were Indigenous and could handle some salt spray.’ Photo – Erik Holt

The front yard features a mix of coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia), spear-grass (Austrostipa stipoides), and creeping boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium), while crepe myrtle trees (Lagerstroemia) help provide shade in the backyard. Photo – Erik Holt

‘Organic curves tend to look a bit manufactured in small areas so we used large organic bluestone steppers and a more natural material palette (rock, stone and corten steel) to achieve that feel,’ Darin adds. Photo – Erik Holt

The gardens help the spectacular new build embrace its coastal enviroment. Photo – Erik Holt

Christina Karras
2nd of March 2023

Behind the enormous front door of this Jan Juc family home lies a serene courtyard garden full of surprises. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of the elevated swimming pool through an underwater window, while a grassy floor of greenery and bluestone steppers invite you inside.

‘The entire lower level of the house is built around that courtyard,’ MINT Pool + Landscape Design director and senior designer Darin Bradbury says. ‘And really, it is the central anchor of the entire house.’

‘It’s green, restrained and links all of the spaces on the lower floor and provides the perfect base for the climb up the stairs to the main house.’

Darin’s practice was enlisted by a local family of four to create a series of private outdoor spaces, that could blur the striking architectural lines by Lachlan Shephard Architects into the broader landscape.

‘We wanted to relax the garden as much as possible, and introduce a more organic feel so that there was a connection to the natural environment,’ he says. The project’s palette of rock, stone and corten steel helps embrace its coastal location next to Jan Juc Beach and overlooking Torquay Golf Club. Plants like lilly pilly (Syzygium ‘Elite’) and blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) were also used to create a full and textural screen around the perimeter fencing.

‘City gardens don’t always have that sense of place, but in Jan Juc you can’t ignore the natural beauty of the place. You have to work with it,’ Darin adds.

By the time the team were engaged, the block was already a construction site, and the only pre-existing vegetation that remained was a dense saltbush hedge (Rhagodia spinescens) at the front of the property.

This created a handy windbreak for the front garden, but also helped inform its ‘bullet-proof’ planting scheme of natives like coast banksia (Banksia integrifolia), spear-grass (Austrostipa stipoides), and creeping boobialla (Myoporum parvifolium).

Despite not having ‘a lot of space in the backyard’ for a classic lawn area, the landscaping weaves functional gardens across the building in different ways. They even found room for a north-facing vegetable and herb garden down the side of the house, integrating round corten planters rather than dropping traditional large veggie beds.

Now, Darin says his clients have started to fill those beds with ‘all sorts of plants and flowers’, bringing their personal touches to this spectacular family garden.

See more from MINT Pool + Landscape Design here

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