As good as a holiday

Simply changing the functionality of an outdoor space can be enough to give it a whole new lease on life
Photography by: Danny Kildare As good as a holiday Simply changing the functionality of an outdoor space
View of this Secluded pool surround by lush backyard, leisure, majorelle blue, plant, property, real estate, resort, swimming pool, tree, water, gray, brown
View of this Secluded pool surround by lush exotic plants, paved courtyard, outdoor furniture

Being too close to any project is liable to leave you blind to its shortcomings. While you may be able to recognise that there is a problem, pinpointing it is another matter entirely.

A lot of homeowners don't understand why their outdoor spaces aren't being used, says Secret Gardens of Sydney director Matthew Cantwell.

"The most common reason is that these spaces don't meet the same level of detail and workmanship as the interior living spaces."

This is especially true for smaller gardens, says Cantwell, such as the one featured on these pages.


view of  the outdoor couch nestled against green, houseplant, interior design, leaf, plant, brown, gray
view of the outdoor couch nestled against the exotic plants

"The original space was tired and lacked distinction, and as such it was running a very distant second to the home's interior. The solution was to sharpen it up and make it more contemporary."

Distinct areas, that can be used independently of each other or as a whole, have been established via the introduction of a built-in bench seat and a designated entertaining area with barbecue and servery.

"By incorporating a bench seat into the design the functionality of the space is effectively doubled. As well as an entertaining space, the garden also provides access from the garage to the house, so the seat makes the space functional without impeding passage to and from the home."

Colour also plays a vital role in the design of a small garden, says Cantwell.

View of this Secluded pool surround by lush architecture, estate, home, house, leisure, property, real estate, resort, swimming pool, villa, gray
View of this Secluded pool surround by lush exotic plants, paved courtyard, outdoor furniture

"The neutral colour of the tiles and intensity of the blues in the space are enhanced by the greens of the lush plantings. The end result is a space in which you can spend many hours, either by yourself or entertaining."

So, are smaller gardens more challenging to work with than their larger counterparts?

"As with any design, the only real challenge lies in exercising restraint, or knowing when to apply the brakes. That's when having a great team makes all the difference."

Mar 31, 2007

Credit list

Paving
Eco Concepts in Twill
Barbecue benchtop
Lighting
Hunza Wall Down Lite; Megabay uplight
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