paradise Inspired by a family trip to Bali, this compact garden includes kid-friendly zones and plenty of space for entertaining WORDS JACKIE BRYGEL PHOTOGRAPHY NATALIE HUNFALVAY
POOL Owners Lucy and Dave called on Josh Harrison from Harrison’s Landscaping to create a Bali-inspired outdoor haven for themselves and their two young sons. The Grassman ‘Summer Prestige’ artificial lawn is a low-maintenance option that looks perfect all year round and is comfortable under small bare feet. Eco Outdoor granite cladding provides textural contrast to the greenery and blue-and-green tiles.
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heltered in the sun-dappled shade of a frangipani tree on a small pocket of land in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, a backyard oasis abounds with lush greenery. For Lucy, Dave and their two young sons, this little plot of urban bliss is a haven for fun and relaxation. When the couple moved into their century-old brick house two years ago, the inherited garden was a far cry from its present state. In fact, apart from the frangipani tree with its seasonal show of glorious blooms, there was little to entice but a large patch of lawn. “There was just grass with a few plants,” says Lucy. “But we loved the house and hoped to create a garden inspired by a holiday we’d had in a lovely villa in Bali.” Calling on the expertise of landscape designer Josh Harrison of Harrison’s Landscaping, Lucy and Dave put forward their vision for a tropical-style setting that incorporated something for everyone - a shimmering pool framed by both sunny and shaded spots, an alfresco area to accommodate a built-in barbecue and dining setting, and a designated play space for the boys. “It’s a beautiful home, and the original backyard just didn’t do it justice,” says Josh. “Lucy and Dave provided us with their priorities and then let us have free rein over the design. There was a lot to fit into such a small space, and we didn’t want to overcomplicate the design or make the garden feel cluttered.” Opting for low-maintenance sub-tropical plantings to match Lucy and Dave’s busy lifestyle, Josh chose broad-leafed Lady palm (Rhapis), Elephant ear (Alocasia), Philodendron ‘Xanadu’, Ctenanthe setosa ‘Grey Star’ and Lomandra longifolia ‘Tanika’. Bordering one side of the garden against a spotted-gum fence is a bamboo hedge. “The bamboo is growing really fast and has such a lovely foliage,” says Lucy. Further along the northern boundary, star jasmine climbs a wire trellis creating a sculptural and fragrant focal point before a dark paling fence coated in Dulux ‘Weathershield’ paint in Monument.
“The boys love kicking a ball around on the lawn” LUCY, HOMEOWNER
POOL DECK (left) Narrow spotted-gum fencing creates a warm, natural boundary. The deck is perched over the pool, perfect for dangling legs on a hot afternoon. ENTERTAINING AREA (this page & opposite) The impressive frangipani tree leans over the space, providing a tropical element. A spotted-gum bench seat separates the alfresco dining area from the lawn, while a functional kitchen is tucked into the corner to ensure that barbecues are a regular occurrence. The large cupboard hides the pool equipment.
EXPERT TIP: A sheltered outdoor cooking and eating zone has become a must-have in many urban blocks, but landscape designer Josh Harrison has some key advice to impart: “Keep it simple and prioritise what’s important to you. Outdoor kitchens can take up a lot of space and cost a lot of money, so it’s best to only include appliances that you’ll actually use.”
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Bluestone tiles trace a path to the pool, which is tiled in Ezarri ‘Cocktail’ tiles in Grasshopper. The cascading water feature is an addition Josh says is always popular with kids. “They’re a cost-effective way of adding a fun element to the pool,” he says. A planter box clad in ‘Howqua Free Form’ granite from Eco Outdoor provides organic texture. “We always like to include some room around the pool for lounging in the sun,” he says. “We built a slightly elevated timber deck that kind of ‘jumps out’ at you as the perfect place to sit and chill.” A variety of potted greenery – including banana palm, heliconia and snake plant (Sanseveria) – is housed in lightweight containers from The Balcony Garden. After all, says Josh, “you can never have enough plants! It’s such a small space, and garden beds take up valuable room, so that’s why we used a range of pots.” Josh also says that a considered decision was made to use a synthetic lawn, due to the shade and high traffic the area receives. “Given the small space and young family who use it, real turf just wouldn’t grow well. It also means this is a very low-maintenance garden. There’s no lawn to mow, no hedges to trim, and most of the plants require very little time to look after.” Elsewhere, the bluestone-tiled entertaining zone features a bench seat, a ‘Jak & Jil’ dining setting from Tait and a polished concrete benchtop. “Lucy and Dave love to entertain,” says Josh. Indeed, over the course of six months, the project was perfectly realised from the first scribble on paper to the first swim in the pool. Every inch of the space has been put to good use, resulting in a sanctuary that delivers both beauty and versatility. “We have an area everyone can enjoy,” says Lucy, who loves watching her garden grow from the ground up. “It’s exactly what we wanted.” See more of Josh’s work at harrisonslandscaping.com.au. 150 / Inside Out
A selection of fragrant climbers, ornamental showstoppers and green all-rounders are the perfect mix
Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
‘Variegated Shell Ginger’ (Alpinia zerumbet)
Lomandra longifolia ‘Tanika’
PHOTOGRAPHY: (PHILODENDRON ‘XANADU’) SUE STUBBS, (LOMANDRA LONGIFOLIA ‘TANIKA’) SAM McADAM-COOPER
SIDE PATH Fragrant star jasmine climbs up a wire trellis on the fence. Large Eco Outdoor bluestone pavers are cool underfoot. POOL (opposite) A bamboo privacy screen in the form of ‘Gracilis’ slender weaver (Bambusa textilis) provides a sheltered spot by the pool. The greenery blends in with the neighbouring plantings to visually enlarge the space.
“We love the different shades of colour in the pool tiles – it gives the water a lovely look” LUCY, HOMEOWNER
Harrison's Landscaping Bondi for Inside Out Magazine.