Outdoor Renovations

An elegant garden fit for a century old home

The restoration of this historic Hobart garden ensures it matches the home in spirit and style.
Photography: Anjie Blair

As Hobart’s most exquisite example of Arts and Crafts architecture, this prized century-old home in Tasmania’s capital warrants the landscaping to match. Ten years ago, landscape designer Myles Baldwin and his team were approached to transform the grounds, which had fallen into disrepair. The damaged front gates, collapsed earth embankments and unsightly bitumen parking bays were a far cry from the lush, immersive idyll seen today.

Plants framing the window include purple wisteria, hydrangeas and Ambridge roses. The front lawn overlooks the perennial gardens, snow pear tree and the pool. Tasmanian stone pavers were sourced locally, including historic convict-picked stone. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair)

“The landscape brief was to create the best version of a garden for this style of home – romantic and unique – with a diverse array of plant material,” says Myles.

The refurbished pool is surrounded by chestnut, snow pear and snowball trees and a retaining wall made from sandstone. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

“To ensure it felt like it had always belonged, we did extensive research on the heritage of the house,” says Myles. The grounds are a textbook expression of traditional Arts and Crafts style, with elegant transitions between each garden room, old-fashioned trees, shrubs and curvilinear perennial beds flowing over lush, rolling lawns.

The landscaping gently encourages a path up to the house. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

An artistic application of colour, shape and texture is evident at every gorgeous turn. The retaining walls, paving and steps – crafted by local stonemasons with historic Tasmanian sandstone – further define the journey through the just under two hectares of land. “It’s a very structured but wild garden,” says head gardener and horticulturalist Anthony O’Reilly.

White flowering astilbe. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

Myles retained the significant trees and added mature ones to gently demarcate the various areas and provide privacy at the property’s perimeter. In spring through summer, a meandering line-up of oak, birch and laurel trees form a green canopy for a hydrangea walk that bursts with blooms and thrives in the dappled sunlight and clay-based soil. “The shrubs and flowering trees provide lovely flowers and foliage, including viburnum, hawthorn and snow pears,” says Myles.

Hydrangeas are brought to eye level on a sandstone wall. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

Anthony works full-time on the property with a small team. “We are constantly feeding, composting and watering because there is so much plant life,” he shares. The property also incorporates a vegetable patch that is cared for by the homeowner’s father, who takes great delight in gardening with his young granddaughter.

An ornate love seat provides the perfect spot to take in the back lawn. Edged in an avenue of glossy magnolia ‘Greenback’, the paving is original to the estate and was relocated from a different part of the property to complete the romantic look. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

The area contains a grid of 24 raised beds and a greenhouse designed and erected by Hartley Botanic. Victorian-era in style, the charming greenhouse is a nod to the past and one of many elements in this special estate that stirs a comforting nostalgia. After a decade of restoration, Myles observes that “the garden has now found its own equilibrium”.

Sandstone steps leading to a perennial garden are framed with the colour-popping salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’, ‘Hidcote Pink’ and smoke bush. The manicured boxleaf honeysuckle topiary adds contra. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

Made with aluminium and glass, the striking greenhouse is from Hartley Botanic in England and set on to Tasmanian bricks. A vintage birdbath sits in between local sandstone pavers and raised vegetable beds made with reclaimed hardwood. “The dovetail joints in the timber are beautiful,” Anthony notes. The garden features beds of purple salvia ‘Santa Barbara’, star magnolia and May bush. 

This vegetable garden is overflowing with fresh produce to delight in at dinner time. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

“We are just enjoying the actual gardening and the maintenance, and trialling new plants” Anthony O’Reilly, head gardener

Historic Tasmanian sandstone is a key material within the landscaping, linking the outdoors to the features of the period home which is a magnificent example of the Arts and Crafts movement. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

Sandstone steps leading to a perennial garden are framed with the colour-popping salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’, ‘Hidcote Pink’ and smoke bush. The manicured boxleaf honeysuckle topiary adds contrast. “If you have structure against something wild, it shows off each plant quite well,” offers head gardener and horticulturalist Anthony O’Reilly.

The perfect step to sit, enjoy the sounds from the garden, drink a cup of tea or read a book. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )

The plant material was chosen to suit Hobart’s climate and strong seasonal change. This led to the design, which focused on English perennial borders, shrubbery displays, an eastern terrace and hydrangea walk. 

‘Queen of the Prarie’ adds height and colour to the garden. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair)

“As you move further away from the main home, there are more woodlands and shrub beds with ground cover like violets and campanulas to smother the weeds,” Anthony explains.

Caradonna Pink and purple Dalmatian bellflower add a beautiful pop of colour into the garden. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair)

The inviting textures of May bush, fragrant rosemary and the purple-toned fringe flower combine under a horse chestnut tree; gates hidden by lush growth lead to secret shady nooks by the pool; sandstone steps integrated into the sloping lawn add to the manicured aesthetic; the fluffy pink perennial, ‘Queen of the Prairie’, rises above the dramatic foliage of the gunnera plant.

Two chairs perfectly positioned to enjoy the stunning surrounds. (Credit: Photography: Anjie Blair )


Landscape design: Myles Baldwin Design, (02) 9699 2622, mylesbaldwin.com.

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