Reflections on a favourite landscape design

Dream-BlogThe clients for this landscape design project had already engaged me to design and construct the landscaping on their previous property in Wahroonga. Some years later I was invited to be the landscape designer tasked with the redesign of this wonderful acre hideaway in Pymble, on Sydney’s leafy Upper North Shore.

This fabulous home and landscaping was to undergo major renovations and extensions, while leaving intact special Art Deco features and a quirky summer house, positioned on another level. Adequate space between the existing buildings was required to relocate the new swimming pool. The general sensibility of the new architecture was of classical design and proportions, with curvilinear elements to match the existing. The landscape design was to reflect the classical architecture of the house yet reflect cater for the needs of a busy modern family.

There were many meetings and sketches made onsite with drawings made directly in front of the clients to convey any landscape design ideas that needed clarification.

The tennis court remained in its original form and remained close to the long open driveway, which travelled up the soft slope of the property, then swept to the left, opening up possibilities for changing angles with strong vistas centring on select focal points in the landscape design.

The main design principal was to capture focal points or features from strategic interior locations. As there were many interior/exterior viewing possibilities the aim was to centre a sculpture, water feature or interesting structure through the centre of a set of French doors, the main front door, through the long east/west terrace and from many other reference points in the house where it was possible to create a line or axis to a featured component in the garden design.

The rear French doors opened up to a large alfresco dining area with a beautiful azure blue pool beyond. Within this vision I placed a semi-circular pond and waterfall that was shrouded in spring by a Cherry Blossom Tree. To the side of the water feature and in line with another set of French doors I designed and built a set of steps that leads the eye to the upper lawn area, where large trees abound. Flanking the steps I planted Red Weeping Maples, that zing against the profusion of greens in the foreground, mid ground and the large trees in the background landscaping.

The front entrance leads off the terrace and down a split sandstone path with views across to the Bougainvillea and Chinese Tallow tree, and as the path sweeps to the right it flows between two large and stately conifers. A pergola was designed to match the columns of the front terrace colonnade to create a focal point between the conifers and tempt the viewers onwards, down the sandstone steps, through and under the pergola beams, and onwards to the tennis court. A match viewing area was included for players to sit and relax, under a mature Jacaranda Tree, with the abundant aroma of French Lavender, planted around two sides of the tennis court to add a wildness yet formal atmosphere to the tennis court setting.

Hedges of Buxus were planted to extend the sentiment of architectural linearity, with plantings edging the driveway and curving back into and around garden features. The effect of looking at swords of green grass over and through the planted hedges adds an illusion to the space and brings the eye back to the structure and rhythms of the abundant hedging in the landscape.

The central focal point designed for the walking path to the front door is a Norman Lindsay female figure water sculpture, chosen by the client to be designed into a central vantage point. The pond is classically styled and circular with wide sandstone capping and earth coloured walls. Autumn Crocus is planted around the base of the pond. The curvaceous female figure is attended by a water spouting dolphin and splashes of water flow around the bronze filigree.

Lighting was a major landscape design consideration and every element within the maze of garden features is illuminated, not all at once but by a series of switches that isolates and dramatises each fascinating element of the garden landscaping as a whole.

This garden will always remain dear to my heart for the openness and trust that the clients gave to me throughout both the landscape design and construction phases.

I have recently had the privilege to design the new landscape for these treasured clients in their third property at Bayview. Whilst still growing towards maturity, I’m loving watching this new garden thriving and giving pleasure to us all.

About Us

Living Colour Landscapes is an established, highly experienced landscape design company, who are passionate about designing and building inspirational gardens and stunning outdoor living areas. Our Sydney-based landscape designers can help you transform any outdoor space, whether you own a garden, a courtyard, a patio, a veranda, a balcony or a rooftop space.

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