The Magical Coastal Garden Designed Around Lucy’s Beach Shack

Before buying this Mornington Peninsula home, The Design Files editor Lucy Feagins had never really had a ‘proper garden’ before.

So when her family finished transforming this 1970s fibro beach shack into a getaway now known as Silvermoon, they turned to garden designer Jo Ferguson as their guide to create the perfect coastal landscape.

The front yard has since evolved into a sea of pastel flowers and native grasses that reflect the wild beauty of the ocean and its surroundings. See the before and after photos!

Christina Karras

Lucy Feagin’s beach house, Silvermoon, in Blairgowrie!

The beautiful coastal garden was designed by Jo Ferguson.

The duck-egg blue facade of Silvermoon inspired the colour scheme of the garden.

In the sweet space, you’ll find exotic natives, grasses and colourful perennials.

The pretty purple of Salvia yangii (Russian sage) sits in front of the more sculptural Austrostipa stipoides (coastal spear grass).

Salvia nemorosa adds a splash of pink.

‘The soil is sandy and alkaline which provided us with a palette of plants to choose from,’ says Jo.

Lucy’s husband Gordy and their talented friend Nick Casey did all the timber landscaping components of the garden, including the garden path, the deck and the front verandah.

The front garden is bathed with sun in the afternoon.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Desert Flame) provides pops of sunshine yellow.

Local stone and sand add to the depth and layering in the garden design.

Lucy says she’s enjoying being a ‘student’ of this garden, watching it evolve and learning about it as it does.

‘I love how this garden has totally changed the character of this house and the way people interact with it from the street’, says Lucy.

Pockets of colourful perennials are sprinkled around the front garden.

‘Before, the house was very hidden by lots of overgrowth, it had a ‘closed’ feeling, whereas now it just feels very open and welcoming,’ says Lucy.

I love how this garden has totally changed the character of our house and the way people interact with it from the street.

Lucy Feagins
Christina Karras
3rd of May 2024
Garden designer

Everything about Lucy Feagins and Gordon Johnson’s Blairgowrie beach shack was designed to be an escape from their inner-city lives — including the garden.

Renovating the home DIY style was second nature for the couple, but they didn’t know where to start when it came to turning their bare, grassy nature strip into an idyllic garden.

‘We usually have a very clear idea of what we want and how to achieve it, but having never really had a proper garden before, I felt very out of my depth with planning and knew we needed professional help,’ Lucy says.

They engaged Mornington Peninsula local and garden designer Jo Ferguson, who bought her wealth of knowledge about coastal landscapes to this very personal project.

Jo spent some time getting to know Lucy, Gordy and their daughter Minnie before presenting them with the initial concept and plant selections for what she says is a ‘whimsical garden’ — all drawn up by hand on paper, by Jo’s collaborator Holly Rigg.

The garden was created to enhance the feeling of the home as a retreat to nature, drawing on the unruly beauty and ‘wildness of the ocean’ at the end of their quiet street for inspiration.

‘We loved the duck egg blue of the 1950s-style beach house,’ Jo adds. ‘It inspired the colour scheme of the garden, which combines indigenous and exotic natives, grasses and colourful perennials.’

‘I wanted to bring to Minnie the joy of growing flowers and the delight of experiencing a garden as home for little birds and insects, of which there are plenty.’

Hints of blue, lavender and purple are woven throughout the front yard, with Salvia azurea (blue sage) and Salvia yangii (Russian sage) hidden amongst coastal spear grass. Pink and sunshine yellow flowers line the winding hardwood boardwalk that’s reminiscent of wandering through national parks like Wilsons Prom.

Gordy ended up undertaking most of the hard landscaping alongside Jo’s husband Simon Hazel — who has a background in civic landscaping — while Gordy’s friend Nick Casey also assisted in building the timber features, like the verandah, decking and garden path.

Limestone boulders collected from a local farmer’s paddock bring a raw edge to the dreamy yard, and all the gravel is from a nearby quarry.

‘The fence of split wattle has an old fashioned beachy feel, which brings a lightness and relaxed informality to the garden,’ Jo adds.

It’s been just over a year since the garden was first established, and Lucy says they have loved watching this unique setting to come to life in front of their eyes. And spending time in the garden at golden hour is extra special.

‘As the sun sets, light streams through the garden and all the beautiful grasses and plants sway and cast beautiful shadows. With the sea mist in the air, you get this soft hazy atmosphere that feels so magical,’ she says.

‘This garden has totally changed the character of our house and the way people interact with it from the street. It’s actually brought us closer to our lovely neighbours. Without fail, passers by will stop and admire the plants and strike up a conversation about the garden. It’s just made the whole house feel more friendly somehow.’

You can book to stay at Silvermoon here.

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