Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Overhead image showing multiple entertainment spaces and the hedging (Image: All Things Visual Pty Ltd)
Landscape

The first resort

By Lynne Testoni

The owners of this award-winning resort-style garden were looking for a way to escape and relax from everyday life – thanks to Dekker Landscapes, it became a reality.

A challenging site, an ambitious design and inferior soil – this project had it all. However, it is true that sometimes challenges are just what is needed for a landscaper to rise above it all and create something really special.

That’s what happened with this project by Dekker Landscapes, who constructed this spectacular garden oasis in the backyard of a new build in Sydney’s north-west outskirts.

“It was a really rewarding job. At the end of it we felt a sense of achievement, and it was good for our team and crew to do a perfect job and get the recognition that we were hoping for,” said Alex Dekker.

The project was the recipient of a gold medal in the 2022 Landscape Excellence Awards for Residential Construction ($150K – $350K), and the backyard included a spectacular pool as well as multiple areas where the owners could entertain.

“They wanted it to have the ‘wow factor’ when viewing the house from the street, and they certainly got it,” said Dekker.

The resort style of the backyard, including a pool cabana (Image: All Things Visual Pty Ltd)
The resort style of the backyard, including a pool cabana (Image: All Things Visual Pty Ltd)

The aesthetic

“The design was for a resort-style landscaped garden with different areas and multiple functional areas. The brief included a wet-edge infinity pool with a frameless glass fence and a cabana for entertaining – made possible by creating multiple levels throughout the backyard.

We made it into an oasis by creating an exposed aggregate driveway, a timber deck, raised walls, stepping stones, beautiful garden beds, and a turfed area.”

As a new build, the backyard was little more than a construction site when the team moved in, adding to the challenge. Access was good, but there were a few issues that the team had to deal with. “The pool had to go in first and we had to deal with multiple different slopes and heights. We also built the timber cabana, which was designed to complement the main house,” said Dekker.

Soil issues

The existing clay soil was not conducive to the plant choices or a lush garden, so much of it was replaced with quality soil.

“Soil conditioning was crucial to ensure all the plants had the right depth of soil, with a minimum of 400mm depth throughout all the garden beds. We believe that the correct processes make the back end of the job easier and ensures plant survival.

“All the garden beds were mulched with Forest Fines to a depth of 75mm. The irrigation included popups throughout the garden, with sprayers located in the garden beds to ensure a constant water cover throughout the garden,” Decker added.

Plant choices

Plantings included Bangalow palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) to create the resort-style aesthetic, complemented by Strelitzia nicolai, (Giant Bird of Paradise) and its smaller relative, Strelitzia reginae, as well as Madagascan Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) andFrangipani (Plumeria sp.)

The planting was extensive with a wide variety of native plants, including a hedge of Dwarf Lilly Pilly (Syzygium australe ‘Baby Boomer’), Kangaroo Paws, 25 Gymea Lilies (Doryanthes excelsa), and Casuarina ‘Cousin It’, as well as Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) to encourage birdlife.

“Plant selection was crucial to create the resort oasis look that the client was after,” says Dekker. “Sir Walter Buffalo was used for the lawn and some of the plants used throughout the landscaped area were chosen to attract native birds as the property backs onto a bush easement.” 

Groundcovers included Grevillea ‘Poorinda Royal Mantle’ and Dichondra repens. Splish Splash Pools constructed the pool.

Stepping stones throughout the turf connect entertaining spaces (Image: Dekker Landscapes)
Stepping stones throughout the turf connect entertaining spaces (Image: Dekker Landscapes)

Award-winning work

Dekker Landscapes won a gold medal in the 2022 Landscape Excellence Awards for Residential Construction ($150K – $350K) for this project, plus a silver medal in Residential Construction ($100K – $150K) for a second project.

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. Open only to TLA members, recognising innovation, creativity, and outstanding craftsmanship, the Awards are the highest accolades in the industry.

Visit the TLA website for information about the Landscape Excellence Awards or to contact the team directly: www.landscapeassociation.com.au.

Main photo: Overhead image showing multiple entertainment spaces and the hedging (Image: All Things Visual Pty Ltd)

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