An Inviting Hawthorn Garden ‘Bursting’ With Foliage

Living on a Melbourne street surrounded by gardens with high fences inspired the owners of this Hawthorn home to create a garden that went in the totally opposite direction.

Landscape architecture studio BWLA has designed the front yard to burst out onto the street, using soft textures and seasonal colours in a welcoming entryway, to encourage conversation and connection among the neighbourhood.

Conversely, the backyard serves as a private and calming retreat, complete with a swimming pool and lush climbing vines.

Christina Karras

The backyard of this Hawthorn family home was created as a relaxing sanctuary, designed for entertaining.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) creates a beautiful ‘curtain of green’ and some height.

It turns a beautiful array of oranges through to deep burgundy before dropping leaves to allow winter sun through the space.

A mix of plants bring different heights soften the paving of the backyard.

Grey concrete was used for the front steps, BBQ bench and beam behind the pool to bring lightness to the colour palette.

The material palette as a whole was kept quite simple to ensure the landscaping didn’t take focus off the house.

The diverse plants create an inviting sea of green.

Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel), Plectranthus argentatus (Silver Spurflower), Achillea ‘Antique Parchment’ (Yarrow), Agastache ‘Blue Boa’ (Hummingbird Mint), Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ (Feather Reed Grass), Zoysia tenuifolia (Japanese Velvet Grass) are some of the featured plants in the front yard.

Foliage spills over path edges, with ground coverings that break up the concrete floating steps.

‘Now that the garden is a couple of years old, the planting layers are finally starting to show themselves,’ landscape designer Bethany Williamson says.

Christina Karras
22nd of May 2023
Landscape Design
Pool Builder
House Builder

Hawthorn, Melbourne

With no front lawn and no front fence, this Hawthorn garden deliberately breaks away from the format of the neighbouring homes to create something warm and inviting — not only for visitors to the house, but for the wider community.

BWLA director Bethany Williamson says the clients love gardening, so it was important that the yard encouraged both connection and conversation, welcoming people to stop and chat as they walked by.

‘We wanted the front garden to open its arms to the street, inviting connection and conversation with their neighbours and wider community,’ Bethany says.

‘It is bursting forth towards the street with foliage, textures and seasonal colours, which serve to soften the inward facing house and provide a welcoming entrance to the property.’

They decided to forego the lawn in the front garden to focus on creating interest with the planting scheme, using a mix of plants contrasted with softer grasses and perennials.

‘The planting in the front garden was designed to be viewed predominantly from the street, with long sweeps of plants interweaving across the site and in front of the house. One key design intent was for the garden to envelop and embrace the architecture and soften the strong lines,’ Bethany says.

Buxus microphylla var japonica (Japanese buxus) bring shape and height to the yard, alongside the lush leaves of Plectranthus argentatus (silver spurflower) and the tall branches of the Pyrus nivalis (snow pear). It combines in a lush sea of green that breaks up the floating concrete steps leading to the front door!

‘In contrast, the feeling created in the back garden is one of calm and privacy,’ she adds. The priority for the backyard was to design a retreat where the owners could entertain friends and family.

Bluestone paving and grey concrete surrounds the pool, leaving space around the perimeter of the garden for Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’ (eastern redbud), Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese laurel) and Plectranthus ‘Nico’ (Sweedish ivy) to envelope the space. But the pergola cleverly provides space for the Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) to grow, while also slowing changing colour from green to orange.

Everything was chosen with an intention. The calming nature of the evergreen foliage remains consistent throughout each season, allowing other plants to come up and down throughout the year, ensuring there’s always something new to enjoy!

Recent Gardens