A Federation home’s low-maintenance front garden transformation

A tranquil outdoor haven that brims with colour and romance.
Wrought iron bench seating underneath a tree in a verdant, evergreen, low-maintenance garden.Photographer: Jody D'Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael

Behind a story-book pretty white picket fence in one of Perth’s loveliest precincts, within walking distance of the CBD and the Swan River, a glorious green oasis beckons. Sprinkled with a seasonal show of vividly coloured plants, lush deciduous trees and sun-dappled hideaways, it is a very special, low-maintenance front yard landscape with a sanctuary-like appeal.

It has even made an impression on neighbours and passers-by. “People walking past comment that there’s always something flowering,” says owner Rosie. “It’s a garden that receives so much attention!”

Rosie made the decision to fully redesign the outdoor areas of their Federation home following an extensive renovation. “Most of all, we wanted the garden to fit in with the home,” explains Rosie.

White Federation home facade with evergreen, low-maintenance garden and white picket fence.
Homeowner Rosie and her family love the garden’s classic, romantic style. “It has an elegance to it,” she says. “It suits the period style of our home. Hand-carved finials on the bespoke white picket fence deliver a delightful old-world element. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)
View of purple flowering plants in front of a white picket fence.
The front garden framed with an abundance of flowering blue salvia and billowing forest pansy trees. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

Enlisting the expertise of Perth landscape designers Jenny and Neil Delmage from Naturescape Creative, budding gardener Rosie soon realised she was in good hands. “We worked as a team and they listened to our family’s needs and introduced me to an array of plants that create such a soft setting,” she says. “They’ve ensured the area is functional, yet very charming.”

All the plants, the paving, pergola, backyard pool and even the picket fence were designed and built from a completely bare garden site that was excavated during the renovation.

Evergreen backyard garden with pool in foreground.
Sandstone pavers bridge the gap – both literally and stylistically – between the new pool and classic Federation home. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

Taking full advantage of its prime corner block, the outdoor space now extends from the south-facing front of the house and wraps around a dramatic, inky-walled eastern side courtyard to the private back garden, where a designated alfresco eating and lounge area overlooks the pool and shaded lawn.

Landscape picture of evergreen garden with bistro seating setting.
A wrought-iron French bench seat offers time out for reflection. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

Curved pathways and pretty flowerbeds – not to mention a thriving herb patch at the end of the long, narrow front yard, dotted with sage, creeping rosemary and thyme – ensure this is a garden with something for everyone.

Shaded garden deck with statue
Hidden from the street view is the ‘meditation’ courtyard, which features a stone-carved Buddha, originally from Indonesia, a bell-pot water feature that hosts families of goldfish, and verdant plantlife. Magnolias and viburnum flourish among the ground plants of liriope and philodendron. “This area was designed as a cool sanctuary that the kitchen looks out to,” says landscape designer, Jenny. “It’s so lovely and tranquil here,” adds Rosie. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

“Our approach was to utilise all of the space,” explains designer Neil.

“We planted some fairly advanced trees, for that instant effect.” Conscious of Perth’s hot, dry climate, he and Jenny also ensured the soil was rich, friable and well irrigated before planting began, and chose trees that wouldn’t need a great deal of maintenance.

Cascading garden plants including red geranium.
Vivid ruby pelargoniums and stunning dichondra silver falls cascade from an elegant sandstone urn, creating a focal point at one end of the front yard. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

For Rosie, watching her garden grow from the ground up has been a joy. “Now that the trees and plants have matured, the spaces are changing and the private spots are so lovely and cosy,” she says. “There’s something new with every season. It’s the garden that really makes a home; it’s like the icing on the cake.”

Boston ivy creeping up a black garden wall with philodendron below.
A creeper of Boston ivy contrasts a dark wall. “I wasn’t sure about having black walls outside, but they really work well, and the ivy changes colour through the season,” says Rosie. (Credit: Photographer: Jody D’Arcy | Styling: Jo Carmichael)

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