City garden by Secret Gardens of Sydney features terraced lawn, pool, rooftop patio

Beautiful city garden transformed by Secret Gardens of Sydney with new pool, pleached bamboo, patio, rooftop terrace, cacti in pots
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
Sculpted furniture is in keeping with the Mid-century architecture, condominium, courtyard, home, house, interior design, plant, real estate, gray
Sculpted furniture is in keeping with the Mid-century Modern feel of this renovated house the white chairs are by Gandia Blasco. The designers also provided a white boundary wall that reflects rippled light from the pool. The planting along the wall is pleached Slender Weaver bamboo.

Outdoor living areas facing the street can be challenging there may well be privacy and security concerns.

For the new owners of this extensively renovated 100-year-old house, however, the garden was full of possibilities. It helped that owners Matt Cantwell and Rochelle Abood run their own landscape design company, Secret Gardens of Sydney.

"We loved the property at first sight," says Cantwell. "The house had been partially renovated in a Mid-Century Modern style that we liked, and there were several large shade trees at the front. There was an existing garden, but it wasn't the look we wanted, so we gutted the entire yard, leaving just three mature trees two eucalypts and one banksia."

Because the couple wanted to include a swimming pool and a flat area of lawn, they terraced the narrow site, adding wide steps between the two main levels.


Steps lead up to this rooftop patio above architecture, arecales, backyard, courtyard, estate, home, house, landscaping, majorelle blue, outdoor structure, palm tree, plant, real estate, tree, teal
Steps lead up to this rooftop patio above a garage. There are also steps leading up from street level, where there is an electronic gate to provide security. The design is by Secret Gardens of Sydney.

"We went to great lengths to preserve the trees and protect their roots," Cantwell says. "Their shade makes it possible to have a west-facing outdoor living area. In fact, the way the dappled light changes during the day is one of the delights of the property. We added a row of banjo fig trees along one boundary. These are underplanted with low-maintenance, ornamental ginger plants that help to screen the property."

To improve the home's indoor-outdoor connection, the flat roof was extended over the patio, and the corner of the living room opened right up. A new barbecue area was created at one side.

"The white boundary wall beside the pool features planting near the house we chose pleached Slender Weaver bamboo, which looks like a hedge on stilts," says Cantwell. "With the leafy canopy raised, we could introduce lights beneath. We also added a Stephanotis floribunda creeper, and large cacti, including Golden Barrel, in white pots.

"We are fortunate that we can borrow scenery' from neighbouring properties, including several of the tall palm trees and a lovely Robinia Frisia over the pool."

Mature trees provide dappled shade to the patio backyard, furniture, home, house, interior design, outdoor furniture, outdoor structure, patio, plant, swimming pool, table, tree, black
Mature trees provide dappled shade to the patio on the garage roof, which features tallowood boards laid in a parquet pattern. The outdoor furniture includes two Acapulco chairs. The tall concrete planters accommodate large agave succulents. The design is by Secret Gardens of Sydney.

Rather than waste the 60m² area on top of the garage at the front of the site, the couple transformed this into another patio. This features tallowood paving laid in a parquetry pattern, and a row of planter boxes with large agaves.

"We designed the garden so we can always see the children playing in the pool from wherever we sit," says Cantwell.

For a quieter retreat, there is also a landscaped inner courtyard, with a Mondrian-inspired grey and white screen, and large trees in pots.

Dec 09, 2014

Credit list

Landscape design
Matt Cantwell, Secret Gardens (Sydney)
Swimming pool builder
Splish Splash Pools
Tiling
Di Lorenzo
Barbecue
Stainless steel custom design by Secret Gardens
Landscape construction
Secret Gardens of Sydney
Deck
Tallowood
Outdoor furniture
White chairs by Gandia Blasco; dining furniture from Eco Outdoor; sun lounges from Cosh Living
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