Friday, 2 May 2014

Designing the New Garden - Part Two

We are still at the stage of very basic planning and collecting ideas and inspiration.
This will be a small garden so my mantra is Keep it simple… less is more!
I envisage a fairly formal easy care front garden with plants such as frangipani trees, cycads and xanadu philodendrons and some cordylines for colour.
The back garden is quite small - 18m x 5m along the back fence (facing North) and approx. 20m x 3.5m along one side (facing East) plus a 2m strip along the other side of the house.

Keeping in mind my wish list we've decided on the basic purpose of each area. The house opens onto an undercover alfresco area that will be used for outdoor dining and entertaining and as my studio. I predict it will be used more than any room inside the house. We still haven't decided whether or not there will be a small pool.
So many decisions to be made!
There will be shade and shelter, but should we add more? There will be high fences around the perimeter. IF we have a pool, it will need to be fenced. There will be garden beds. What shape should they take?  The vegetable garden will need sun for most of the day, so which area gets the most sun?
John and I each have some sheets of paper with an outline of the garden. We are both drawing up ideas and I'm sure between us, we'll come up with a plan.

The general style of the garden will be tropical - What else? However, in contrast to Missy's Garden which has quite a jungle feel, I think this garden will be more formal and structured.

So many ideas - from the internet, books, gardens I've seen and my own imagination  - they are just all ideas floating around in my head for now. Some will be discarded some will settle and grow.
I have a few books on tropical gardens and recently bought one more. In searching for inspiration I came across a garden designer from West Australia - Janine Mendel. Her philosophy of garden design is to integrate the indoors and outdoors - just what we want to do.

As you would in designing rooms inside a house, I'm thinking about the décor of the garden - the floor, walls, furniture, the colour scheme, etc. Since the garden will essentially be an extension of our house it needs to match, or at least coordinate with the interior design.

The Floor
Keeping in mind the purposes of the various areas of the garden, I intend using a combination of materials. The utility area and outdoor sitting areas will have grey paving. Pathways will be either spaced pavers with stone between them or wooden walkways.
There may be areas of grass or maybe not.

pathway idea
I love the look of wooden walkways over a dry creek bed
maybe a pond with stepping stones
The walls
The external walls of the house will be a pale grey, almost white, so I’m thinking the side fences might look OK painted a darker shade of grey as a background to the plants or left as natural wood. There will be a hedge along the back fence.
There may also be an additional screen or two to define and separate areas - maybe raised garden beds.

The garden borders (the skirting boards) will be grey &/or white rendered block.

Perhaps somewhere there will be a green wall.

The furniture
We already own a wooden outdoor table and chairs plus a daybed. These will fit in well.
I’m not sure yet whether we’ll build the outdoor kitchen or buy one. It will come down to cost and if we can find one suitable.

What about this for cooling down on a hot day?
Is it a water feature or an outdoor shower?
I know a few children that would love running through it.

The décor
I’m choosing grey, brown and white landscaping materials . BORING?
Then we add the plants. And the pots. And the water features. And cushions. And candles and lights. – All the things to make the garden come to life. This is where designing a garden becomes fun and where you can let your inner artist play.
maybe splashes of aqua or teal
maybe splashes of hot pink 

I need to remind myself - Keep it simple!
 It's fun to dream though.


  1. WOW and double have given me some terrific ideas as I want to rework my garden plans.
    I want to create a green and white Japanese inspired garden, but I love some of the ideas presented here.
    I have the The Tropical Garden Book and I have been meaning to add Made Wijaya's book as well. I will have to check out the Urban Sanctuary book as looks filled with ideas.
    I think Missy will love her new garden a whole lot no matter what you're doing well.

  2. I like simple as well. No actually I like Versaille but realistic will do for now. Enjoy the planning, sounds like fun.

  3. Oh I think that Janine Mendel was featured on one of the gardneing shows. Her garden was awesome! You have some excellent ideas there, and it is lovely to be able to plan from the very beginning. I have the pavers with stones between and it is very durable, although in deep shade the pavers can get slimy and need to be cleaned, the same with wooden paths. there is an aluminum decking that might be better than wood as it has a textured surface. (it looks like wood) One of the things I liked about that garden was the paths that crisscrossed and all in different materials. also great were retaining walls that could be used as seating. that vertical show/fountain is awesome!


I would love to know what you think and appreciate your comments.


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