Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Boasting spectacular views over Whale Beach, the garden includes stepping stones bookended by mass plantings of Westringia ‘Mundi’ and Westringia ‘Zena’
Landscape

A view with some room

By Lynne Testoni

This newly refreshed and award-winning garden surrounds a significant house, creating a spectacular combination of architecture and landscape.

It can be a challenge to renovate or refresh an iconic landscape design, as expectations are high and pressure can be intense.

However, this garden has managed to exceed all expectations. Surrounding an award-winning Peter Stutchbury-designed home in Palm Beach, it was originally designed by Stutchbury & Pape Landscape Architecture. As part of a renovation, Pepo Botanic Design refreshed the garden to enhance the sense of place, and ensure an environmentally sensitive approach, while preserving the ocean views.

It was a high-profile project. Stutchbury is considered to be one of Australia’s best architects, so the house and garden design needed to respect the original architecture while also adapting the landscape for modern living amid difficult site constraints.

Existing garden sculptures were retained and protected as part of the refresh, and are now framed by plantings of Casuarina ‘Green Wave’ and Lomandra hystrix Katie Belles’
Existing garden sculptures were retained and protected as part of the refresh, and are now framed by plantings of Casuarina ‘Green Wave’ and Lomandra hystrix Katie Belles’

Award-winning

The garden was a gold medallist and winner of the Best in Category for Residential Design over 200 m2 at the 2023 The Landscape Association’s (TLA) annual Landscape Excellence Awards.

The judges of the Landscape Excellence Awards called the refresh of the garden a “beautifully executed and maintained planting design that worked with the existing features”. The carefully selected planting complements the architecture as well as the landscape.

The site was a challenging one too because of its exposed conditions and steep slope. The brief to Pepo Botanic Design was to enhance the sense of place and to ensure an environmentally sensitive approach, while exploring the specific site conditions and researching a safe habitat for native birds. Given the spectacular views over Whale Beach, any plans for the rear garden needed to ensure that views were enhanced and not obstructed.

Existing plantings

The garden was installed in 2019 and was cared for by the maintenance team of Pepo Botanic Design for the following four years. Site constraints include steep uneven steps which led down to the main garden. Due to these steep conditions garden beds had to be terraced to prevent future soil erosion. The garden included steep sandstone steps and retaining walls. Contractor involvement in the project included fences, irrigation and lighting.

The existing trees to the entry garden provided a strong anchor point and settled the house into the landscape. Home to a range of mature Cupaniopsis anacardioides (Tuckeroo) and Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-leaf Paperbark), the understory of the entry garden required replenishment.

The existing sandstone steps and oxidised metal rods were retained. It was important that the underplanting to the Tuckeroo trees introduce an additional level of screening as the clients wanted heightened privacy from the street. The winter courtyard was softened by a cascading groundcover which was viewed from the kitchen and dining area.

New plantings

Located overlooking Whale Beach, the site was quite exposed to both wind and salt air, so hardy plant specimens were needed. The clients also specified a strong, colourful, graphic approach in the planting as part of their brief.

The garden was in two main sections – an entry garden, plus the rear garden, which included a pool and surround.

For the entry garden, the existing mature trees and greenery were retained as a framework for the planting, while most of the plants chosen as part of the refresh were natives, including Cordyline manners-suttoniae, Banksia robur (swamp banksia), and Cyathea cooperi (Australian tree fern). This selection created a layering of greenery that led to the front door.

Ground covers in this space include Delosperma cooperi, Juniperus taxifolia ‘Lutchuensis’ (carpet juniper) and Myoporum parvifolium Yareena, while a pot of Plumeria alba (frangipani) adds summer fragrance to the entry.

The rear garden included mass plantings of Meeboldina scariosa (velvet rush) and Lomandra hystrix ‘Katie Belles’ surrounding the pool. Other plants throughout the area included Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’, and Banksia integrifolia ‘Roller Coaster’, along with Doryanthes excelsa (gymea lily), and Casuarina ‘Green Wave’.

The house has been designed to take advantage of the ocean outlook, so all new planting ensured that it would not obscure the views
The house has been designed to take advantage of the ocean outlook, so all new planting ensured that it would not obscure the views

The result

The resulting garden has been much applauded by landscapers and architects for the way it respected the architectural integrity of the site along with the preservation of the spectacular views. As well as the gold medal for this garden, Pepo Botanic Design also won the following awards at the 2023 Landscape Excellence Awards for some of their other projects, including two Bronze Medals – Residential Maintenance Up to 1000 m2, and one Silver Medal – Residential Design over 200 m2.

The Landscape Association’s (TLA) 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.

Visit the TLA website for more 2023 winners, information about the Landscape Excellence Awards or to contact the team directly. www.landscapeassociation.com.au

Leave a Reply