How the backyard of this brick home was designed to hide the neighbours

With neighbours overlooking the backyard of this original brick home, a solution was needed to create privacy and make outdoor living easy. Discover the grand design feature used to achieve the brief

Designed by Bijl Architecture

From the architects:

A family lifestyle home with generous spaces for outdoor living was key to the brief for this inter-war, East Willoughby home. Retaining the large rear yard for kicking a ball around and playing cricket was essential, so too was the need to provide an adaptable house for a family with two small children.

This was the backyard before the renovation. With
This was the backyard before the renovation. With a high brick wall, the property to the south had created an unsightly and unwelcome sense of enclosure.

Poor local planning decisions over time had allowed two neighbouring properties to compromise our client’s dwelling. With a high brick wall abutting almost the entire boundary, the property to the south had created an unsightly and unwelcome sense of enclosure. To the west, a neighbour’s second-storey addition with a bank of windows overlooked the rear yard. 

Our solution was both nuanced and bold.

First, we kept what we could. The home’s existing non-sympathetic second storey was retained, as were the ground floor heritage rooms. We fully upgraded surfaces throughout and updated all bathrooms, but the structure is inherently untouched. 

The new rear addition has a soaring roofline and expansive stacked glazed doors to make the most of sky and treed views. This new indoor-outdoor living, kitchen and dining volume carefully controls scale and proportion to refocus the home towards the garden, improve flow throughout, and bring natural light deep into the home. 

A new central library serves as a TV and playroom in the immediate future, becoming a media and reading room as the kids grow. 

Neighbouring properties were carefully hidden through timber slatting, brick mass, new planting, and full-length floaty curtains that catch the afternoon breeze. 

A long driveway and carport that occupied half the backyard we replaced with a garage tucked into the side of the house. This newly-released rear expanse is now claimed by green lawns for play and a delightful family swimming pool – lacuna, Latin for pool – framed by house and new cabana.

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Bijl Architecture
Interior designer
Bijl Architecture
Premier Pools
Klip Lok / Lysaght
Main flooring
Precision Flooring - Graupa Eterno
Main Walls – Dulux. Feature Stair Wall - Axolotl
External/Garden – Gardens at Night. Kitchen Pendant – Jacco Maris – Coco Pendant. Dining Pendant – Penta – MoM Series. Stair Pendant – Ilanel - Kahdu
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Stuart Wilson Constructions
Kitchen manufacturer
Driftwood Joinery
Landscape design
Space Landscaping Designs / Interlink Landscaping
(Cabana) – Scyon Linea
Window/door joinery
Sydney Woodworkers Furniture – Turnstyle Designs
External Paving – Eco Outdoor. Feature Tiles – Mutina. Wall and Floor Tiles – Earp Bros
Air Conditioning
Forrest Air
Living Room - King Furniture – Jasper. Bedroom 01 – Heatherly Design – Oslo

Designed by: Bijl Architecture

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Tom Ferguson Photography

20 Sep, 2020

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