Outdoor

A modernist home with a delightful seasonal wildflower garden

Wildflower meadows and water features complement this charming property.
A modernist timber and steel two-storey home with sprawling white and green plant beds.Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay

The crowning accomplishment in an extensive five-year home renovation on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is the enchanting gardens, which contrast exquisitely with the straight edges and brutalist materials of the property’s architecture.

A modernist steel and timber home with beds of wildflowers.
Tumbling flower beds contrast beautifully with the deep colours and structured lines of this Mornington Peninsula home and garden. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

“The garden was the final stage,” says homeowner Kelli. “It brings out our home’s true potential, aligning it with our vision of an ideal living space.” Kelli, a gallery director and art advisor, lives on the property with her partner David, an entrepreneur, and their sons Sam, 20, and until recently, Jack, 22.

A modernist timber and steel two-storey home with sprawling white and green plant beds.
“The architecture uses natural materials like timber, steel and stone for a minimal look, which contrasts with the wild, untamed wildflower meadows,” says homeowner Kelli, whose home interiors are also featured in Home Beautiful. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

The home – designed by KWD – is painted in Dulux Taihape, creating a striking backdrop for the colourful gardens. “Our home and garden deliberately contrast to enhance each other, which creates lively interaction between the built and natural environments,” says Kelli.

An outdoor patio of limestone pavers and support beams with Boston ivy.
Landscape architect Heath chose soft mid-grey limestone pavers and plenty of greenery to add contrast against the dark facade of the home. “These materials allow the different foliage colours and flowers to stand out in all seasons,” says Heath. ‘Garonne’ tumbled limestone pavers from Eco Outdoor complement a giant agave and lush Boston ivy. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A portrait of landscape architect Heath Blair.
Landscape architect Heath Blair of Plume Studio enjoys a comfy perch. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Nestled into the Port Phillip coast in Mount Martha, the design was handled by Melbourne landscape architect Heath Blair from Plume Studio. “The main objective was to soften the edges of the building,” says Heath. “And to create a functional landscape that offered a multitude of scapes for different social needs.” Kelli and David’s brief called for an informal garden conducive to fireside conversations, with ample space for larger gatherings.

A linear water feature beside limestone steppers.
Aiming for a cohesive look, Heath used the same colours, textures and materials throughout the garden. Shown here at the front of the home, ‘Garonne’ tumbled limestone steppers from Eco Outdoor and the full length of the water feature, where the border of delicate flowers and foliage has visual impact against the lines of the hardscaping. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A sprawling mix of perennial flowers.
Whirling butterflies are pretty perennials that provide gentle movement and “flushes of soft white flowers through spring and summer”, says Heath. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

“The garden has been pushed to the border of the home, which anchors the site and soothes its edges.”

Heath, landscape architect
A water feature surrounded by lamb's ear and grasses.
“We curated these plants due to their seasonality,” says Heath. “Mixed within an evergreen structure so there are always layers of texture for an ever-changing landscape.” Krause Emperor bricks in Ghost Grey border the serene water feature, while velvety lamb’s ear and grasses soften the edges. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Evolving with the seasons, Heath chose plants that would create year-round splendour. “We wanted a garden that could be celebrated throughout the seasons,” he says. “It’s a garden that is fluid throughout the year. One that is soft and full of bloom one moment, then tactile and crunchy the next.”

An outdoor seating area surrounded by seasonal blooms and grasses.
Whirling butterflies, lamb’s ears and snow pear were chosen for their ability to thrive in the sun. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A timber window surrounded by creeping Boston ivy.
Boston ivy trained up the building creates layers of textured green against a dark exterior. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Heath’s material selection was equally thoughtful. “The limestone and burnished concrete offer a subtle and soft texture against a dark facade,” he says. “These materials allow the different foliage colours and flowers to standout throughout all seasons.”

Two outdoor chairs surrounded by seasonal blooms.
There is an abundance of seasonal white blooms, including Sedum spectabile ‘Iceberg’ in the foreground. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A copper outdoor shower.
The copper slimline outdoor shower is from Hollowtree Showers. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Now the garden is established, maintenance is handled by David Cane and his team at DJR Horticultural. “The term ‘dream client’ gets thrown around a lot,” says Heath. “But Kelli and David were incredible, the conviction they had in our work was unbelievable.”

Magnolia trees surrounding a pool with white loungers.
A southern magnolia frames the poolside area. Lounge chairs are both ‘Balmain’ teak chaises from Restoration Hardware. The rusty orange underside of the weeping lilly pilly leaves provides contrast against the neutral palette. “In the rear garden we wanted this to feel different to the front,” says Heath. “So, we chose plants with different flower colours and contrasting foliage.” (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Equally happy with the result, Kelli concludes, “Our garden’s natural beauty makes our home feel more connected to its surroundings and offers an escape from our structured indoor spaces.”

An outdoor alfresco dining area beneath Canadian maple trees.
Outdoor dining at its best under the canopy of Canadian maples. Dining table and chairs from Restoration Hardware’s ‘Mesa’ range on cream pebbles. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Heath’s seasonal plant picks

Leaves of Boston ivy.
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a seasonal backdrop. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A path lined by purple violets.
Native violet (Viola hederacea) provides a lush carpet year-round. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A group of Japanese white windflowers.
Japanese white windflower (Anemone japonica) brightens shaded areas with its happy blooms on slender stems. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A lamb's ear plant.
Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) boasts velvety soft, silver foliage. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
Branches of crepe myrtle.
White crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Natchez’) is a pretty addition with its delicate, light flowers. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A group of daisies.
Daisies (Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’) bring a happy pop of purple to the landscape with their abundant blooms. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)
A Mediterranean spurge plant.
Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia wulfenii) brings depth to the garden with its blue-grey contrasting foliage. (Photography: Martina Gemmola / Styling: Annalese Hay)

Landscape design: Plume Studio, plumestudio.com.au.
Maintenance: DJR Horticultural, 0420 634 750, djrhorticultural.com.au.

SOURCE BOOK

Related stories