Eckersley Garden Architecture offers our clients a revitalised approach to creating a landscape. Merging experience and creativity, our passion is crafting a unique garden that invites you to enjoy your outdoor space. Iconic designer Rick Eckersley is joined by recent partners Scott Leung and Myles Broad to offer a wealth of knowledge in aesthetics and practical form.
Through our knowledge of design, sustainable gardening, horticulture and construction, E-GA takes the art of garden making to new levels. We work collaboratively to turn your brief into an individually tailored garden.
Our approach is to bring sustainable and considered ideas to life in your garden. We understand how space and facility work together to create lifestyle and amenity. We recognise the importance of horticulture and its role within a garden. Integrating all the elements to create a unique garden is our expertise. Eckersley Garden Architecture is driven by all threads of the design process - there is no cookie cutter formula.
No longer a 'fly by the seat of your pants' industry, garden making has matured and E-GA is at the forefront of that change. The garden industry is increasingly moving towards the concept of outdoor spaces becoming built forms. People's expectations of gardens have changed too - from a simple appreciation of greenery in the backyard, to an understanding of outdoor lifestyle and all that a well designed outdoor space can offer.
Eckersley Garden Architecture receives commissions Australia wide and internationally. Our client base is as varied as our garden designs, ranging from small residential, through commercial multi residential, to country retreats. We also work closely with leading Australian architects to ensure a consolidated approach to design.
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Located at the end of a private driveway this secluded urban hideaway serves many masters and is perfect for inner city living.
Limited space required the landscape to be designed for multipurpose use. The courtyard doubles as a car space which, once grown, will be shaded by Virginian creeper on over head stainless steel wires. Once the car is removed the courtyard is an ideal entertaining space and spill over when functions are held inside the house.
The plunge style swimming pool is set flush with the boundary wall maximising the pool size. Scale is emphasized by taking the textured granite wall down through the water, down to the bottom of the pool. Handmade terracotta tiles flow seamlessly from inside the house into the courtyard offering a sense of continuity between the internal living spaces and the garden outside. Areas of the architecture have been highlighted or muted depending on where the designer wishes to take ones eye.
A cluster of silver birch trees provide a central focus within the garden and have been silhouetted by a contrasting blood orange background. When light up at night the birch become a more dominant focal point - casual and understated are the key description words.
Tufts of ornamental grasses skirt the base of the birch and break the breadth of paving anchoring the trees at ground level. Nestling within the copse of birches, the sound of tickling water comes from a raised water bowl filled with fish and lilies.
With plantings of pink and tan bougainvillea, pencil piles and over head vines the space takes on a Tuscan flair but the look is undoubtedly Australian.
The character of this house determined the direction of the landscaped surrounds. It suggested that the garden take on the feel of an old remnant garden that appears to be grave grown and develop in a rather untidy manner.
The garden space needed to offer all the facilities and spaces that a contemporary family requires for successful outdoor entertaining and living. There are many surprises in this garden with lots of things popping up through the seasons. Perfume is provided by shards of scented creepers which back drop cluster plantings of flowering shrubs and small trees.
Architect in conjunction was Richard Swanson. Sculptures featured in this garden are Lisa Roet's 'Gorilla Hands' and Simon Perry's 'Observatory'.
Climate change is having a real impact on the way people are approaching garden making in Australia. Our traditional approach of copying northern European gardens is failing as our country faces protracted drought, flood and fire. There needs to be a change in attitude toward gardens if they are to be successful in the future.
This garden, a personal project of Eckersley Garden Architecture, is an experimental attempt to create a fully sustainable garden. The primary motivation behind this garden is to change public attitude to sustainable, drought tolerant, native gardens. There is a long standing prejudice against the use of native plants - probably born of the 1970's when many bad native garden were put in place. But horticulture has moved on since and there are many exciting, colourful, drought tolerant plants in the market place and they can be used in place of traditional exotic plants.
The swimming pool also follows sustainable design principles. It is a 'Natural Pool' laid out in a traditional rectangular design and built with traditional materials. What it does not have is any of the chemicals in the water that are traditionally used to keep water clean and healthy. Rather, it relies on a natural filtration system which runs the water through the roots of native water plants growing alongside the swimming area. The pool provides habitat wildlife and is like jumping into a crystal clear freshwater billabong.
On completion, this garden is proposed as a teaching tool to encourage lateral thinking about gardening in the driest inhabited continent on the Earth.
Well facilitated multi purpose spaces, interlaced and layered with selected plantings are appealing. Spaces where the plants envelop and entwine to create the experience of living in the garden.
The main concept with the design of this Melbourne project was to do just that. If t
he success of a space is how often it gets used, then this design is very successful as it gets a lot of use.
The Mirvac Laureate garden is at the heart of a sharp contemporary development. Upon entering through one of four gateways to the walled quadrangle, visitors are greeted by a green oasis.
Canopies of tall trees reach skywards to create the upper roof of the garden. Beneath them, a cantilevered arbour provides a veranda of green foliage that runs the length of the internal facades. Along the walls, a series of frames allow twining plants to drape the walls in greenery. Instantly, people are at ease within a garden space and the lines between building and quadrangle are blurred.
Plants have been carefully selected to work with our environment. Trees and climbers deflect the summer heat and then shed their leaves in a glowing autumn display to let the sun through in Melbourne's winter. It is nature's own way of thermally insulating a building.
The organic, flowing patterns of the pavements create a strong impact. Circular islands of plantings within the pavements suggest a sense of casualness and freedom to the design. The waved patterns ebb and flow through the central plaza to lap at the base of the walls of the homes.
The entrances to each individual dwelling are through scented, tactile gardens. The balconies above alfresco lifestyle with generous outdoor space and offer built in BBQ facilities and evergreen vine clad walls.
The garden at 'Laureate' is about more than just facility and amenity; it is about inspiring mood and atmosphere.
Since its conception twenty years ago, this five acre garden north of Melbourne has recieved less and less rain. And so with climate change in mind, recent renovations by new owners of the property have been based around drought tolerant plant desig
The garden wraps around a centrally placed homestead and is made up of many compartments that are linked by a double entry diveway, access roads and gravelled pathways. Within these spaces are a tennis court, a swimming pool and a series of floating timber decks which connect the house with the gardens and main entertaining area to the north.
The soft landscape is of hardier exotic trees, shrubs and ground covers. They roll through the property in amoeboid shaped beds that encircle inner lawns and buildings. The property also gives many beautiful vistas - mainly internal garden views but also some beautiful panoramas overlooking the Northern hills of Melbourne.
This is a property owned by passionate gardeners who generously open it for public and private viewings throughout the year.
A house that appears completely compatible with the surrounding garden is a strong argument for a successful marriage between disciplines.
The combination of shapes, colours, textures, light and shade has provided this inner eastern Melbourne property with a visual harmony and a practical functionality.
It irks me to say, that this tranquil property will get demolished for a new shiny big house with very little space put aside for a garden.
Set on a long, narrow block, this turn of the century Workers cottage has been transformed into a contemporary living space. Not surprisingly, designer Myl
es Broad has made the garden the focus of his property. The house is built around a central courtyard, which is spanned by a steel pergola and separates the children's living space from the parents. Other outdoor spaces are punctuated by pockets of planting which give a feeling of roominess to both inside and out.
Entering under a stand of Lemon Tea Tree and Coastal Banksia through a carpet of blue 'Morning Flag' flowers, the garden has a carefree easy feel. The house colours are inspired by the Crimson Glory Vine, which frames the veranda whilst the Hot Purple patio draws it's inspiration from the bright sun flowers of native Pig Face (& the fact that no clients would be game to do it - so why not?) The Bold colour continues through the house with a hallway mural inspired by the new shoots of the Lemon Tea Tree and then through into the main courtyard where the muted grey Timber tones are refreshed by a wall of 'Kingfisher Blue'
This is a garden for a growing family and so it has to be multi purpose in its use of spaces. Morning coffee under the Frangipani Trees quickly becomes afternoon basketball for the kids. Maintenance has been kept to a minimum with a blend of native and exotic plant that need little attention or resources.
Architects McBride Charles Ryan have designed a cutting edge residence placed on a small allotment. Outdoor space and landscape was carefully considered as every square metre had to offer an amenity value to the clients. It was important to provide a design that did not compete with the striking architecture but still gave the sense of being in the garden space.
Street frontage planting sets a casual but vibrant tone to the property. Flowering grasses soften and spill over level changes, curtains of deep green creeper cascade over stone clad walls and the brilliant lilac of Jacaranda bloom splashes a hit of colour against the somber tone of the building.
Boundary walls and fences were draped with climbing plants to provide green backdrops to the texture pavements. Further layering was done by using espaliered plantings in front of the walls. The positioning and selection of trees was critical to allow ease of movement around the property and to avoid congestion at canopy height.
Interest at ground level was achieved in collaboration with the architects. Grey reconstituted stone pavers are flanked by vibrant, insitu pebble paving in high use areas. Large loose pebbles reflect foliage colours in lower traffic areas. The result is a harmonious but sometimes surprising outdoor space.
Mulberry Cottage is tucked away on a north facing hill on the Mornington Peninsula. The fusion of the three disciplines - architecture, interiors and garden have been closely considered to paint a rural hideaway that is sophisticatedly understated and with all the romanticism of a full bloom productive country garden.
The concept of Chevron garden was to enhance the experience of everyone living within the environment. It is intended that spaces are friendly, functional and relaxed, yet they are designed with attention to detail that would suit any discerning style advocate.
Special elements are incorporated to add to the sensory pleasure enjoyed by the people using the spaces. So whether just passing through, or stopping to relax, something of the gardens should leave a positive and inspiring impression.
The outcome on this contemporary project is due to the collaboration between Architect Rob McBride of McBride Charles Ryan and us at E-GA.
The over scaled organic tiled walls of the central courtyard with a minimal planting treatment of Thunbergia grandiflora provides a huge space with a big big sky. Not big enough to stop trapping the sweet scent of the gardenias on a still night.
Focal points are like an exclamation mark in the designed landscape. They can be the deliberate placement of an object interest in the garden to catch the eye, or the shaping of a vista to frame a beautifully sculpted tree. They can be a useable facility, or an ornamental or artistic installation.
Whether it is an obvious placement or one to be discovered upon exploration of the garden will depend on the individual design of the garden. Only if a focal is of very good quality should it have an influence on way a garden is laid out.
A wide range of ornamentation is available varying in sizes, shapes and materials. But they needn't be manmade products off the shelf. A carefully trained topiary can give as much interest in the garden as a glazed urn. The selected object needs to work in harmony with the theme and style of a garden. It should be selected with the garden design in mind but should also reflect the personal style of the gardens owner.
The true reward of gardening comes from the growing of favorite plants in successful and achieving appealing compositions. For landscape designers, plant combinations are often the thread which links together architecture and hard landscape. The strength of a good planting does not always lie with the ability of a gardener. Good plant design needs more than just horticultural knowledge; it needs a sense of how plants work together in a garden - something which is often overlooked.
It is always best to work with plants that are proven in the environment and use them en masse to create a bold statement. The choice of plants available is so extensive that you need not conform to traditional selections. After all, why should every garden be represented with colourful collections of those tired old exotics - Camellias, Azaleas, Roses, Cinerarias and Daffodils? The most enticing gardens are those which are fittingly designed for their environment and use plants that will perform in all conditions.
Climate change is giving Australian gardeners pause for thought at present. Plants that were once proven performers are dying at alarming rates as climatic zones seem to shift. Plant
breeders are developing new ranges of native plants and gardeners are once again turning to them as proven performers through times of drought.
Hopefully we will see a shift in thinking about plant selection and design in Australian landscapes.
Australia has such a hot and dry climate that water plays a huge role in our recreational lifestyle. Demand for swimming pools in the designed landscape is increasing as more and more people seek the pleasures of water in their own properties. There are many different options available in layout, style and materials - mosaic tiles, glass bead renders, solar and gas heating, saltwater chlorination, freshwater filtration - to name but a few. Swimming pools can be large and dominant, or more distant destinations within the landscape, lap pools or plunge pools - the choices are endless.
Swimming pools are a pivotal and expensive part of any landscape but surprisingly few are designed in a way that best suits the site or offers the client greatest amenity. Often pools are designed and sited by pool builders with the landscape seen as ancillary. A swimming pool should be considered objectively as one component of a garden design and should blend aesthetically into the style of the garden and the surrounding architecture.
The design of outdoor furniture has evolved in the last few years from being simple, functional pieces, to being the show pieces of the garden. No longer is choice restricted to civic-style picnic settings in either a painted or natural finish. Traditional sturdy timber benches and tables are making way for sculptural forms, woven polymer fabrics and delicate stainless steel frames.
Furniture is important to the mood of an outdoor space. A large quadrangle space can be softened by a visually lightweight circular table. Courtyards dressed in tones of muted grays and browns can be sharpened up with contemporary furniture pieces of stainless steel, polished stone and mesh.
The right choice of furniture gives strength and place to the design of that outdoor space. It can surprise or sooth but most importantly it should make the visitor feel as though they belong in that space.
It is a revelation to sit in a beautiful garden and be enveloped by a piece of beautiful garden furniture.
Texture for tactility in a garden is paramount. It is readily agreed that the senses of sight and smell are inherent in a beautiful garden. However, equally important within the space is the sense of touch. When seeing texture within the makeup of the garden, there is a desire to touch and feel the surface.
Texture is available in many variations. The combinations of these textures are at the discretion of the designer, thus the degree of combinations affects the subtleties of the parallel outcome.
An organic or living object can enhance the senses further once touched. The disturbed surface of a living object w
ill pervade a scent by releasing stored perfumes or by disturbing the surrounding air.
Most smooth surfaces reflect light; where as a non smooth surface absorbs the light, intensifying the colour of the objects. The play of shadows caused by the varying patterned surfaces also exaggerates the details and excites the eye.
A combination of varying texture in one space adds interest over the boredom of using predominately one smooth surface finish and touching the surface, adds a further dimension to the object. Texture in surfaces is actual and its use can have an impact on how the garden is perceived. And perception is a strong tool in garden design.
Mood in a garden is not something tangible. It's an evocation of the senses as you walk into a space and it is something that should grow on you as you get to know the space better. Mood goes beyond the 'wow' factor of first impressions and extends to how people feel when they are in a garden.
The mood of a space is something that can and should be planned for. A moody garden should beckon the user and envelop them in sensory anticipation. It should draw them further in to discover more. But most importantly, a garden with mood should leave people at ease with the space.
Whether it be by creating dappled sun light through canopies of foliage in a softer garden, or perhaps the contrast of shadow against the wall of a sharp contemporary courtyard. Gardens which have a desirable atmosphere will leave people with a sense of place that they will return to time and time again.
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