The Naremburn Project

The brief was to design a garden that required “little maintenance, had colour, and was inviting to entertain - and get married in!”
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Plants used

Small Leafed Lillypilly (Acmena smithii ‘Minor’), Native Ginger (Alpinia caerulea), Crinum Lilly (Crinum pedunculatum), Bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis’)
Cycad (Cycas revoluta), Purple Heart (Tradescantia ‘Purple Heart’), Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)


Photos by Bruce Usher
Sculpture by Julie Harvey

 

The sight posed several challenges. It lacked privacy being surrounded by several medium density developments, was on a reasonable slope, had dry shade, hydrophobic soil with a pH of 6.0, was covered in weeds and the clients were time poor. The garden was also significantly lower than the house and seldom accessed.

 

It felt dry, lifeless, distant and unloved.

 

On the positive side drainage was not an issue and there were half a dozen Australian trees already well established providing a terrific canopy and interesting bark textures and colours. These included a Sydney Blue Gum, Lemon Scented Gum, Coast Banksia, Blueberry Ash and a She Oak.

 

Facing down the slope there was a beautiful aspect looking through and over neighbouring established gardens including a Blackbean tree, Lillypilly’s, Jacarandas, Crepe Myrtles and Camellias.

 

As there was a hardwood deck and set of stairs pre-existing the decision was made to extend this medium to create a series of stepped overlapping decked squares leading to a focal point on the Golden Mean. The lines of the decks were all kept running in the same direction to give it a calmer feel.
 

Stepping the decks kept them closer to the original ground level and negated the need for balustrades. It also allowed planting to be brought right up to and blend with the edges.

 

The focal point is a delightfully whimsical statue by Julie Harvey mounted on a small pedestal in the third of the overlapping squares. A simple backdrop colourmatched to one of the tiles on the statue ensures she doesn’t get lost in the background foliage. Having an enticing focal point helps draw people out into the garden to explore further and also allows the eye to rest.