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{outdoor special}

Tallowwood posts branded with a design inspired by Chinese screens give a once unloved part of the garden new life and a fascinating focal point. Uplit at night, they help to create depth and interest.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL A clever redesign has allowed Kate and Stephen to reclaim their unused garden, now a neat, compact entertainer that punches well above its size WORDS JANE PARBURY STYLING ADAM ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPHY NATALIE HUNFALVAY

The daybed is a mix of Sydney blue gum, tallowwood and blackbutt in different widths. Stocked with cushions and surrounded by greenery, it’s a comfy and inviting pocket. Bamboo lanterns from the Little Candle Shop, lit with battery-operated tealights and suspended in the frangipani, add ambience. Extra hardwood screening was attached to the existing fence for privacy. > {AUGUST 2013} 187

Stepping stones bordered by a camellia screen and low-growing liriope line the shady side passage.

“It’s good to look at what you have in the original space and work with it,” says garden designer Nicola. “P lus, you can spend your budget on something else!” THERE WAS NOTHING very inviting about Kate and Stephen’s

The hardwood bench on the paved area by the house is a favourite spot for Archie the miniature schnauzer.

old backyard in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, dominated by a Hills Hoist and dense greenery. “It was a space we didn’t use much,” recalls Kate. When guests came over they huddled around the small paved area and its outdoor table setting at the top of the garden, where things often became cramped. “We figured that given the cost of land around here we’d be best to make a space that we were using!” The couple, together with sons Lewis, 13, and nine-year-old Angus, considered and rejected various ideas – including putting in a pool – before they settled on a plan formulated by Nicola Cameron of Pepo Botanic Design. “The first thing that came to mind was that we couldn’t have all that cramped space at the top,” says Nicola. “We needed to stretch it out and bring the table down into the garden.” With that simple but key decision made, other elements fell into place and the garden was divided roughly into three areas: a length of mixed hardwood decking, stepping down from the existing paved patio; a spacious sandstone platform to hold the dining setting; and a stretch of grass. Some of the existing plantings, including the statement palms, were retained, while Nicola dug up and replanted the existing liriope among new additions such as cascade palms, cordylines, pretty Chinese lanterns and a mature frangipani tree. Nicola drafted in the experts from Gardens At Night to help with lighting. LED strips under the lip of the hardwood deck give the impression that it is floating above the lawn, and a statement floorstanding lamp from Light Co is suspended over the table. “It adds a bit of bling and really draws you in,” says Nicola. The success of the space can be measured in the pleasure and use the family derive from it. “It’s great sitting outside and having people round,” says Kate. “There’s nothing I’d change!” Garden designer: Nicola Cameron, Pepo Botanic Design, (02) 9349 1220, Lighting: Gardens At Night, (02) 9439 9155.

TIP: “Furniture should complement the feel of a garden and your personal style . Comfort is a must; try before you buy and make sure furniture can withstand the elements.”

- Nicola Cameron, garden designer

The existing teak dining setting – try Ascot Teak for similar – was moved down to the sandstone plateau, and dressed with pretty votives from the Little Candle Shop and Mozi crockery from Opus Design Co. The stunning exterior floor lamp, from Light Co, defines the entertaining area. “You feel you just want to sit out there,” enthuses Kate. > {AUGUST 2013} 189

{get the look} Steal the best ideas from this compact garden





1. Sandstone f loor tiles

1m x 1m white and gold sandstone slabs; for similar try Gosford Quarries.

2. Recycled timbers

Beautiful recycled tallowwood, Sydney blue gum and blackbutt; talk to your local timber merchant about options.

3. Grass

Cool, natural and user-friendly: try Sir Walter turf, $9.98/sqm, Bunnings, for a hard-wearing, evergreen lawn.

Once an unused part of the garden, the new dining area is now the casual centre for social gatherings PLANTS GUIDE 1


The clot hesl ine is strung on recycled timber planks.



C ordyline


Frangipani Shady in summer; it’s deciduous so lets in the


‘Nigra’ foliage starts off green then darkens with age; purple flowers bloom in summer. sun in winter, and the tropical-scented flowers are heaven!



‘Purple Night’ is at home in semi-shade, bringing rich year-round colour in an easy-care planting.

side passage dining patio


f loating deck




‘ pot holder is This macrame planted wit h var iegated ivy.






A mix of votives, lanterns and colourful tableware sets the scene.

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1. ‘Arc’ floor lamp with plastic shade in Opal, $289, Beacon Lighting. 2. ‘Bayas’ cushion, $39.95, Kas Australia. 3. ‘Applaro’ table & chairs, $259/5-piece set, Ikea. 4. ‘Pluto’ mini barbecue, $89.95, Metro Style. 5. Macramé potted plant holder, $75, The Family Love Tree. 6. ‘Ivrig’ glass, $4.99, Ikea. 7. ‘Mimosa’ timber storage box, $179, Bunnings. 8. ‘Boheme Breakwater’ cushion in Blue, $120, Eco Chic. Stockists, page 223 {AUGUST 2013} 191

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Randwick Garden Home Beautiful  

Randwick Garden Home Beautiful