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THE PLACE - A large detached house in a mainly rural setting with charred timber cladding (Shou Sugi Ban) and cor-ten elements on the exterior. The interior combined cool greys, dark furniture finishes, natural wooden flooring, statement lighting and black crittall detailing. To achieve a sense of openness and connection with the outside, large sliding glass doors opened onto the patio, framing the view to the garden.



The brief was to design both the front and rear gardens to accommodate a busy family of five that included three young boys. The garden needed to be a multipurpose space and include areas for entertainment, relaxation, children’s play and a small space to grow food.


We were asked to integrate an outdoor kitchen, sunken fire pit, water feature, a generous swim spa, a trampoline, cricket net, an area to grow vegetables, a decent sized lawn, an outdoor room and ping pong area. With so much to fit in, some careful thought was necessary!



Poured concrete flooring was used inside and this was echoed outside with a honed concrete surface for the patio. To add texture, dark grey clay pavers were used to break up the pale grey concrete. The vertical lines of pavers laid in stretcher bond complemented the vertical charred cladding on the building.

As well as breaking up the concrete patio, clay pavers were used for paths, for edging around the resin bound gravel parking areas and the paving apron in front of the sliding gates.

Geometric elements were echoed in the landscape design in both hardscape and planting. The garden design was rectilinear in layout, using straight lines and well-defined pathways to guide the flow of movement around the garden.


The clay pavers helped emphasise the clean lines within the design. Rectilinear cor-ten water features and cor-ten wall lights were installed, as well as a large square sunken fire pit located at the end of the garden.


The fire pit was clad with porcelain and surrounded by western red cedar cantilevered benches and a large cor-ten fire bowl.


Plants were chosen based on the site analysis, climate and design. The rear garden was east-facing whilst the west-facing front garden was shaded by a large oak tree and woodland.


To complement the architecture, beds of ornamental grasses were used to define spaces. These tall, upright grasses created vertical lines to screen the sunken trampoline. Other grasses formed graceful, cascading arches by the swim spa and soft underplanting beneath trees.

Colourful perennials were used to combine with the grasses adding bright pops of colour. I used splashes of orange from the Helenium and the bark of the Prunus maackii to complement the rust coloured cor-ten elements. Taxus cubes and pleached trees were used to mirror the rectilinear elements in the garden design.

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