family pool nestled in garden

Judges comments - Winner: AILDM National Awards 2009, Landscape Design Residential over $70,000.

Residential Landscape over $70,000
Winner: Gardens By Design (David Bennett)

Project: Front and rear gardens in Malvern, Melbourne, Vic.
Completely remaking an old garden to suit the needs of growing family required the incorporation of a number of elements, such a large lap pool, spa, outdoor cooking, dining and storage, as well as lush planting and even some lawn. The dominant long rectangle of the pool is balanced by horizontal lines across the width of the block, formed by alternating bands of paving and exposed aggregate pavement, which also elegantly reflect the strong geometric shapes of the house. Attention to detail is everywhere, in the lights which illuminate the pale pavers at night, the 'floating' path of large granite pavers and a simple water bowl focal point at the end of the pool. Plants such as conifers, yucca, echium, lily turf, lomandra and rosemary are extremely drought hardy. In the front garden, soft grey tones in the exposed aggregate drive and path work well with the period home. Ashlar inserts in the path break up the hard surface area and drought hardy plants thrive in the dappled shade of large street trees.

Judges Citation
A contemporary remodel of a dated and tired garden was the objectives of the client’s brief.

The challenge for the Landscape Designer was to create a retreat style garden on a small suburban property whilst incorporating a specific range of features that were requested by the various family members.

The site design addresses the family’s wishes to maximise the amount of useable outdoor space and reinforce the connection between the interior and the exterior of the dwelling.

The rear garden and swimming pool extends the living spaces of the house along a flat ground plane that incorporates a variety of landscape elements.
Manicured hedges of varying layers and form combine with the newly built structures to enclose the area and preserve privacy around the perimeter of the space.

Traditional and modern outdoor furniture, durable paving and a subtle water feature on the main axis of the swimming pool tastefully complement the well chosen and arranged ‘water wise’ plantings and balance well with the colours of the dwelling.

The bold simplicity of the front garden provides excellent parking facilities for the family, functional circulation and access. The balance between the soft and hard landscape elements works extremely well to provide year round interest, texture and subtleness in form and colour.

The result is a stunning landscape that incorporates a fusion of formal and modern design elements to embrace the entire site.

Stuart Pittendrigh

Date: 25/8/2009


Winner: AILDM National Awards 2009, Landscape Design Residential over $70,000.

The pool and garden were designed to meet the changing needs of a growing family. The teenage daughters wanted a spa to relax in with friends, and lawn to lay towels on and sunbathe. The lady of the home required a large, open, yet private dining/ entertaining area, with undercover BBQ and food preparation facilities, and a family size pool. Father, an ex state-level swimmer and keen surfer, envisaged a long pool to swim laps, and storage for his surf-boards.

All needed to nestle into an appealing garden that reflected the style of the home, and changed it's mood with the passing of the seasons.

The result was a pool that stretches 12.5 metres, from the base of the meals area window, to 1000 mm from the rear properly line. To avoid under pinning of the home foundations, but to still achieve the aim of 'floating' the home adjacent to the pool, a shallow beach with large granite steppers was built. The eye is drawn from inside the home, through the floor to ceiling windows along the length of the pool and terminated in the hand carved matching granite water bowl nestled under the verticality of 3 x Cuppressus pencil pines.

To visually counteract the length of the pool, a strong 90 degree cross axis was achieved with use of interchanging strips of granite pavers and exposed aggregate concrete panels. These also blur the junction of lawn and garden bed edges, and provide access through the poolside planting for swimmers to enter. The added bonus is the cost effective nature of the exposed aggregate concrete, and its natural, non-slip surface is perfect for pool surround use.

The small pavilion and store was designed to reflect the architectural detail of the home. Polished granite bench tops of the same material as selected for the paving, top the exterior durable marine-ply carcass cabinetry. The store also provides a visual screen to the pool plant behind. All perimeter fencing was replaced, made pool fence compliant, and painted dark to visually recede into the background. Combined with automatic closer and compliant door and window openers, the expense and visual distraction of pool fencing was eliminated.

Planting aesthetics were selected as a mixture of flower and foliage colour and texture, seasonal change, and architectural interest. Planting was provided to screen the neighboring homes. An important consideration was the use of appropriate low water usage plants, from the prostrate rosemary and Cerastium adjacent to the pool, to olives and ornamental Pyrus for screening, with the strong silhouette of Pencil Pines, to the distinctive Yucca elephantipes the balance between the sustainable and the visually pleasing has been stunningly achieved.

Although completed for only a little over 12 months, and with limited subsurface drip irrigation, careful design and maintenance have assured successful establishment of all green life.

The overall attention to detail is extensive, even to the point of providing a strip of contrasting tile to the pool floor at the regulation distance from the pool end to allow for tumble turns to be completed by father of the family. The clients were so overjoyed with the transformation, they decided to get the rest of the home’s gardens landscaped as well.

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