Saturday, July 20, 2024
Blurring the lines between backyard and beach (Image: TLA)

Relaxed coastal perfection

Fifth Season Landscapes believes that great results come from working collaboratively, and winning six accolades for their Clareville Project alone, in the 2022 Landscape Excellence Awards, proves that their approach works.

Nestled seamlessly on Clareville Beach, Sydney, the Chatswood-based team created a relaxed haven for the owners that melds beautifully with the surrounding environment, subtly blending both beach and bush settings. The moment you enter this property, greeted by burnished concrete stepping stones encased in undulating Zoysia tenuifolia, you know you’re in for something special.

“The lush, soft landscapes starting from the start of the property, provide the illusion that you are on a country estate far from the ocean, however, when you make your way to the rear of the property, you are situated right on the water. Every part of this project is a win for me”, commented one judge.

A defined boundary with a beautiful view (Image: TLA)
A defined boundary with a beautiful view (Image: TLA)

Having relocated from the upper north shore to the northern beaches, the clients were looking to create a relaxed haven to enjoy year-round, and being garden enthusiasts, the planting design was a key focus.

A scheme was developed to meet the site-specific requirements, complement the newly renovated home, and given its waterfront location and breathtaking view, ‘pause’ spaces were created in the front and back gardens.

Backing directly onto Clareville beach, it was important to define the boundary without heavily impacting the view and, in effect, blurring the lines between backyard and beach. Low-level, recycled hardwood fencing combined with hardy mass plantings were a must.

Significant setback from the street, the incorporation of a large-format walkway within the front yard, with functional spaces to each side, was also a focus, and afforded the opportunity to create a layered garden, providing interest from the street, privacy to the front yard, and softening the architecture.

The complexities of this amazing location were the proximity to Clareville Beach, the environmental control requirements pertaining to silt and water, regular high winds, a public beach-access walkway on the southern boundary and being on full display to the public.

Another, was undertaking the landscaping and planting at the same time as extensive renovations to the house and garage/studio. Careful long- and short-term planning, and daily communication with the client and builders were required to define the work areas and the sequence of trades, and protect the finishes, soil and plants.

A layered garden providing interest from the street (Image: TLA)
A layered garden providing interest from the street (Image: TLA)

The double driveway’s towering eucalypts also meant keeping the acid-etched concrete pavers clean until they were cured and ready for sealing, a total of 14 days. To speed up planting, we laid 200mm-wide strips of Zoysia tenuifolia cut from 300mm tiles.

The coastal setting and desire to create a lush garden with visual interest, determined the plant scheme. The Fifth Season team chose mounding Zoyzia tenufolia and Carpobrotus as ground cover to soften the concrete steppers, and as a foundation for a layered and textured front garden. Zoysia grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, and while it can handle light foot traffic, it was included to be ornamental rather than functional.

Helichrysum petiolare with its grey-green foliage and growing to 0.6m high and 1.5m wide, provides great colour contrast and enjoys the free draining soil in a full sun position. Its mounding shape softened the timber feature fences, and regular hedging rather than a heavy cut back, maintains its tight, rounded shape.

Banksia integrifolia, as feature trees, create a sense of height and scale and with their sparse leaf arrangement, allow light through to enhance the array of plant species below. Banksia integrifolia suits the coastal setting, loves the free draining sandy loam and will grow to approximately 6-10m.

The Landscape Associations (TLA’s) annual Landscape Excellence Awards celebrate the very highest standards and achievement in Landscape Construction, Design and Maintenance, both in the Residential and Commercial sectors. Recognising innovation, creativity and outstanding craftsmanship, the Awards are the highest accolades in the industry.

Fifth Season Landscapes won three Gold Medals and three Best in Category Awards for ‘The Clareville Project’ in 2022

  • Residential Maintenance Up to 1000m2
  • Residential Design over 200m2
  • Residential Construction $150k – $350k

Visit the TLA website for more 2022 winners, information about the Landscape Excellence Awards or to contact the team directly

Main photo: Blurring the lines between backyard and beach (Image: TLA)

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