Prickly Perfection

The brief for this Albert Park project was to create an enticing, low maintenance and family friendly garden; one that complemented the chic timber interiors and fine joinery details by Tandem Design Studio.

Flexibility and connection to the indoors was key. A fluid transition between indoor and outdoor rooms – designed for play and relaxation. With three young boys, the garden needed to excite and delight, with components of adventure and intrigue. At the same time, it needed to be a functional space for entertaining friends and family of all ages.

The client and designer, Clare Mackarness of E-GA, worked closely in developing the fine details for this space – custom designed pavers, abstract planting combinations and the incorporation of several functional garden elements.

Nodding to the sharp architectural finishes, custom matchstick pavers break away from the clean indoor concrete floors, spreading into an industrial relic. Gravel mulch used throughout the landscape was also incorporated into Anston pavers. Surface variation was achieved through irregular degrees of shot-blasting.

The encroaching groundcovers cushion these sharp hardscapes. The lush path of Dichondra offers a brilliant green against the muted greys, surging the space into life.

Sculptural succulents add interest and texture to quiet corners. Weathered pots appear at home in their seaside neighbourhood.

A corten fire pit provides the necessary warmth in winter and takes on a sculptural role in the warmer months – maximum heat – minimal footprint, which is ideal in limited space.

Scattered boulders throughout the garden provide a scrambling ground for kids as well edgy seating elements around the fire.

An internal courtyard offers an atrium display of intrigue. Incorporation of spunky plants; Aloe plicatilis, Silk Floss Tree and rambling groundcovers, gives the space visual appeal as well as functionality.

This project demonstrates clever use of paving, gravel and hardy plantings – low maintenance, with no irrigation necessary.

The Silk Floss Tree is a dignified centrepiece. Its deciduous canopy provides shade in summer and light in winter. Maximising natural light – in line with the architectural design. A single specimen prevents the space from feeling crowded. Screening is provided on the boundaries through Dwarf Lemon Scented Gums.

Low-lying plantings of Lomandra ‘Little Con’, Crassula ovata ‘Bluebird’ and summer emergents, provide an understated doormat for the graceful canopies.