Coastal splendour

With a harbour on three sides, and an avocado orchard on the other, this property has its own microclimate one that is well suited to a lush green landscape
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
View of the entrance way which features schist backyard, cottage, estate, garden, home, house, landscape, landscaping, outdoor structure, plant, pond, property, real estate, yard
View of the entrance way which features schist stone pillars, a bridge that crosses a rock pool, landscaping.

Childhood memories will invariably influence decisions made later in life, and that can even extend to architectural styles. One of the owners of this property hails from Bavaria, so the European alpine look influenced the design of the couple's new country house. But it was the sheltered, fertile site that determined the lush nature of the landscape.

The property sits on a peninsula and is surrounded on three sides by a harbour, with an avocado orchard as a backdrop. As the property is reached by a bridge, landscape designer Trish Waugh says it is effectively an island.

"It even has its own microclimate, so most things will grow well, although the sheltered position does mean it can be subject to frosts in winter."

Waugh says the garden needed to blend in with the house, but it also had to ensure the views were maximised.

To complement the schist columns on the house, the entrance features locally sourced river rock in similar hues, and a moat-style pool, which flows under a bridge leading to the front door.

View of the patio area which features outdoor backyard, courtyard, outdoor structure, patio, table, brown, black
View of the patio area which features outdoor furnishings, paving, schist pillars, doors and windows, landscaping and lighting.

"We wanted the water feature to look like a natural rock pool, so we used rocks both in and out of the water. It is almost as though there are pebble beaches leading into the pools," says Waugh.

The effect is further enhanced by the planting around the rocks, which includes the native ground cover Pimelea prostrata, plus large swathes of grass-like plants interspersed with cycads and yuccas.

Waugh says the garden is a response to the strong architectural lines of the house, notably the columns, rafters and roof.

"The architecture warranted bold groupings of plants and textures."

The flowing water theme extends to the rear of the house, where the moat becomes a dry river bed. This area features similar rocks, and plantings of blue oat grass and Scleranthus biflorus.

View of concrete rock pool which is made estate, garden, grass, home, landscape, landscaping, plant, property, real estate, reflection, water, black
View of concrete rock pool which is made to have a natural appearance.

A more manicured approach was chosen for the outdoor living areas, which overlook a formal pool and four fountains. Box planting will mature to provide a natural green base for this water feature. Here again, colour is provided by foliage, rather than bright flowers. Key plants in the gardens surrounding the formal pool and gazebo include dwarf mondo grass, purple Acaena purpurea, and Dietes grandiflora, which has a grass-like leaf and small white flowers. The multi-stemmed, purple-leafed cordyline Midnight Star makes a strong contrast to a green passionfruit vine that covers a wall screening the clothesline and vegetable garden.

Light-coloured stone paving leads to a swimming pool, which is positioned so it doesn't impinge on the view of the harbour from the house. The pool features an infinity edge, and is enclosed by glass fencing that ensures the view is retained.

A schist wall, with a sheer-descent water feature and built-in timber lounger, conceals the pool house containing filtering and heating equipment. With its roof garden, the pool house is also an unobtrusive addition to the wider landscape.

Mar 11, 2009

Credit list

House designer
Ben Van Der Vlugt
Pool company
Francis Pool Builders
Pool designer
Trish Waugh, Landscape Design Company
Stone walls
West Coast schist
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