Inside Out | Xmas Dec14

Thursday, December 11, 2014 | Leave a Comment (0)

InsideOut Magazine

As featured in InsideOut Magazine



Coastal Calm


Idyllically situated above the water, this modern garden blends soft yet hardy planting with a tough mix of materials that embrace the salty sea air. Here, we share the key ideas behind its successful design

Words Louise McDaid, Photography Brigid Arnott


Cladding: Natural stone wall cladding in warm and cool tones blends with the coastal surrounds. The cladding is a granite veneer product called Howqua, and is part of Eco Outdoor’s ‘Free Form’ range.

Perched on a clifftop high above the water at New South Wales’s Copacabana is a garden that characterises beachside style. Astute design with clever details combine to create a garden of intermingled form and function, where elements multi-task, as well as showcase a sense of contemporary style.

The garden is on a 20 metre by 55 metre-size block in an exposed coastal position, which determined many of the design parameters. The planting is predominantly salt-tolerant species while the colours are reminiscent of sand and sea; blue, grey, silver and natural tones pervade the planting and hardscape palettes.

“It’s a relaxed beach-house style of garden,” says Michael Cooke of Michael Cooke Garden Design, who took care of the landscape design. The garden requires little maintenance, despite the variety of plants, and Michael describes it as “not being an overworked garden. “There’s nothing fussy or complicated about it.” he says. “There’s an air of space and flow that makes it an easy and casual place to be.”

A cobble-style paved drive traverses some of the steep incline (about a nine-metre change in height) from the street to the house. A series of off-white concrete stairs and landings leads from the parking area to the home. The stairs really are a feature in their own right; their dimensions and orientation create an inviting entrance and look stunning viewed from the elevated house. The outdoor zone illustrates the talent of Adam Eurell of Nature’s Vision Landscapes, who collaborated with Michael and oversaw the installation of all the hardscape elements. This is a garden for all seasons, where native, exotic and edible plants are interesting year-round and complement the hard surfaces and structures.


     

  1. SOFTEN THE EDGES The purple spires of Mexican sage cut a swathe of intense colour across the backdrop of neutral tones. The feathery heads of miscanthus ‘Hiawatha’ add a highlight that marks seasonal change, and brings softness to the stone and timber. ‘Filetti’ cobble-style paving is teamed with Jericho limestone flooring inside the gate; both are from Eco Outdoor (ecooutdoor.com.au).
  2. TURN TO STONE The horizontal lines of the gabion wall repeat those of the timber-clad house. Not only creating an edging wall to the parking area, the quartz-filled gabion baskets also retain the slope behind, which is planted with a variety of grasses and groundcovers. The screen of 50mm x 50mm merbau pickets encloses the outdoor shower zone and supports an espaliered fig.
  3. THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Textural foliage serves as a counterbalance to the modern concrete steps. The velvet elephant’s ear plant – a type of kalanchoe – has large and sculptural felted leaves that stand up to the concrete forms, as well as the hot windy conditions. The succulent leaves retain moisture so it can survive with little water, and it holds its shapely contours all year.
  4. A NUMBERS GAME A custom-built triangular concrete prism houses the letterbox, and echoes the material and angles of the garden steps. The numbers were imprinted by using foam cut-outs attached to the formwork before the in-situ concrete pour.
  5. STEP UP The concrete steps are a pivotal element of the garden, playing a crucial role while also being bold and striking. Formed on site with off-white concrete, the stairway links the drive and parking area to the residence in a series of angled steps. The steps vary from single to double treads, creating space to pause, linger or sit. The slope by the steps is planted with miscanthus ‘Hiawatha’ and chalksticks groundcover.
  6. PATH TO GLORY A pathway of steppers is a relaxed treatment where a solid path isn’t necessary. These steppers are mini pieces of the main paved area, formed in situ repeating the ‘Filetti’ stone paving. Pebble and bark mulch surround the steppers, enhancing the natural coastal vibe, and a sea of chalkstick plants encroaches, forming a ‘living’ mulch.
  7. SINK INTO IT A marble basin adds a touch of luxury to the post beach-walk foot wash. The basin combines practicality and elegance, offering a welcome respite in summer after yet another beach visit. To top it off is the simple copper pipe spout, bent into a smooth gentle curve on site.
  8. AHEAD OF THE CURVE The concrete stairs lead up to a landing platform, where the strong stairway angles give way to sinuous curved edges. Viewed from above, from the outlook of the house, these angles and curves from a spectacular vista. The silver, grey and blue foliage is cool against the white concrete to form a sophisticated tapestry of soft planting and tough materials. For more details, visit Michael Cooke Garden Design at michaelcooke. com.au and Nature’s Vision Landscapes at naturesvision.com.au.

     

Christmas time!!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014 | Leave a Comment (0)




Our team enjoyed our end of year gathering in one of our very own gardens Copa Beach House. A fun filled evening as the sun was setting we kicked back, relaxed on the deck with the breathtaking cliffside coastal views. 


Thank you to Mr. Paella Casa for cooking up a spanish paella banquet and to follow we delved into a towering sculpture of profiteroles yummo!!!



A festive season croquembouche...