Come springtime, Stephanie and Jason’s 0.6-hectare property swells with pretty colour, buzzing bees, and a sweet gum blossom perfume. Their homestead is located on a corner parcel in Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, in a suburb where the bush meets the sea and outdoor living is favoured.
Stephanie grew up in the area, and Jason hails from Warrnambool, and together they run King’s Gardens & Pools, a thriving landscape design business that works within a wide range of garden styles.
At the couple’s property, 100-year-old Bellarine yellow gum trees tower over the carefully carved zones incorporating the south-facing home, a pool, the original tennis court and putting green, and two holiday cabins. When Stephanie and Jason purchased the plot in 2016, it took them six months to strip back the weeds and remove unwanted trees.
“We wanted to keep the rural bush feeling, and I knew perennials would soften the look of the home,” says Jason, citing the wisteria vine, which grows along the facade as an example of this. Designing the front garden was the key first step. “Everything followed on from there.”
The layered outcome balances wild abundance with structured formality, where curved garden beds invite you to meander through the drifts of colourful perennials and under drooping gums. “You come across so many styles and ideas when you run a pool and garden design company,” Jason shares. “Keeping the vision firm can be challenging, but you always have to bring it back to the original idea. The time I’ve had in our garden has taught me a lot about what plants like and respond to.”
The planting has been an experimental process, but the garden has found harmony with repeated plant varieties and the topiary elements adding sculptural definition.
“When you look out the front door, you get these big banks of repetitive colour that sit in front of the native trees on the streetscape.”Jason
On the eastern side of the homestead, the couple removed a leaking 1980s-era pool and replaced it with a show-stopping above-ground infinity-edge design that will eventually be engulfed by a layer of lush leafiness. “We didn’t want to see a pool when we looked out of the house – we wanted it to look like a pond or water feature,” Jason explains.
The couple’s daughters, Maggie, eight, and Frankie, five, are particularly fond of the update. “We really enjoy the sound of the kids playing together in the pool,” says Jason.
A circular irrigation system is just the ticket for water conservation. Large rainwater tanks keep the gardens and lawns hydrated, and drainage underneath the beds ensures the property is truly waterwise. “The drained water goes back into a main central pipe that is pumped back through the tanks, where it can be redistributed again. It cost a bit of money to set it up, but it’s very rewarding,” Jason explains.Sustainable spotlight
As their own clients, Stephanie and Jason have relished working deadline-free. The pair have also transformed the two old cabins into an award-winning holiday retreat called The Woods. “It’s taken six years to get it all to this point, and we absolutely love it,” says Jason.