Adding a swimming pool to their Melbourne backyard was high on the owner's wish list. A cantilevered deck provides a lounge area, and an outdoor shower between the pool and the back of the house allows swimmers to rinse off once they’re done. The Corten decorative wall screens were commissioned through Pierre Le Roux Designs.
For the design, the owners chose Mark Browning of Cycas Landscape Design, whose passion for liveable spaces with a focus on sustainable materials and quality finishes mirrored their own.
Despite space restrictions, the garden comprises three distinct zones – pavilion, lawn and pool – that can each be put to use at the same time. “This job is right
on the limit of the hard surface/soft surface balance,” says designer Mark Browning. “The wonderful row of ornamental pears across the back of the garden ties it all together and we were able to introduce a few other herbaceous touches, like the area around the steel water bowl. There’s just enough to soften all that decking and paving.”
Compact outdoor spaces call for a few large statement pieces, rather than lots of small items, which can look cluttered. Against a backdrop of old railway sleepers, this steel water bowl, made by Lump Sculpture Studio, recalls a classic sundial, with the pavilion casting a shadow across its surface much of the year. It can also be used as a floating flower display. A row of dwarf bird of paradise peeks out from behind the sleepers, providing colourful blooms through the warmer months, while groundcovers including Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ and Ajuga reptans ‘Jungle Beauty’ offer year-round foliage and seasonal flowers.
Hardy plants, such as the Dragon’s Blood (Dracaeno darco), complement the hard-wearing materials used throughout the garden. At ground level, overspilling plants blur the boundaries between beds, paving and decking. Black mondo grass provides a striking contrast to the lighter trunk of the Dragon’s Blood and its jade leaves.
The fountain wall at the rear of the garden, clad in ‘Badger Dry Stone’ walling from Eco Outdoor, is more than just a handy trick to hide the pool equipment.