Keeping the faith

Major renovations to this house played havoc with the gardens, but a sympathetic makeover has them just like old again

View of the long Pool that features perimeter daytime, estate, garden, leisure, mansion, plant, property, real estate, reflecting pool, reflection, sky, swimming pool, tree, water, waterway, green, teal
View of the long Pool that features perimeter planting

When the house you live in has achieved iconic status, any changes you undertake will be critically followed and commented on. The owners of the home featured on these pages were keenly aware that proposed renovations to the building and grounds would have to be sympathetic to the original character of the home.

Landscape designer Robert Boden was commissioned to rehabilitate the gardens once the renovations were completed.

"As well as getting the gardens back into shape, the owners also needed to re-establish the tennis court, and the husband who is a keen swimmer wanted to extend the swimming pool to include a lap pool."

The renovations included a two-storey addition to the rear of the home and the inclusion of a basement garage extending beneath the tennis court.

With its neoclassical lines, the home has a very traditional, formal aspect that was reflected in the original gardens. Keen to maintain tradition, Boden came up with a design that stayed true to the dictates of formality, yet allowed for a modern re-interpretation, making it better suited to the young family who make the property their home.

"I think the best feature of the garden was its traditional feel, with its sweeping lawns. This is the basis I used when coming up with the new design.

A view of the outdoor entertaining area featuring architecture, courtyard, estate, facade, garden, grass, home, house, landscape, landscaping, lawn, neighbourhood, outdoor structure, plant, property, real estate, residential area, tree, walkway, yard, green
A view of the outdoor entertaining area featuring outdoor dining table, tennis court, grass gourtyard, formal gardens, plants planters boxes, paved patio

"A contemporary edge was achieved through the incorporation of the paved outdoor entertaining areas, extending the garden's functionality."

Because much of the original lawn area was taken up by the addition to the house and outdoor entertaining areas, the focus was to maximise the remaining area. To this end, Boden conceived a series of inter-connected levels, augmented with low-profile planting that visually extends the green-space.

"While not symmetrical, and therefore not wholly within formal dictates, instituting the levels allowed the lawn areas to remain rectangular. Planting beds could then be established around the perimeter of each level as well as the property boundary, preserving the oases of green that had originally existed."

The multiple levels also came about as a way to incorporate the extended swimming pool, says Boden.

"Perhaps the biggest challenge in the design was extending the pool to accommodate a 25m lane and making it fit the site. The only way to achieve this and be in keeping with the overall design scheme was to build up that area of the pool terrace and reshape it along formal lines."

Another challenge facing the design was as a result of excavations carried out for the garage.

An exterior view of the house and its backyard, cottage, courtyard, estate, garden, grass, home, house, landscape, landscaping, lawn, neighbourhood, outdoor structure, plant, property, real estate, residential area, tree, yard, green
An exterior view of the house and its landscaped gardens, pathways and outdoor entertainment area

"In order to provide sufficient on-site parking, an area for the basement garage had to be excavated from the site, part of which is now situated under the tennis court. This required a feat of engineering when it came time to re-establish the tennis court and surrounding gardens to be in keeping with the design and within structural load requirements," says Boden.

Drawing inspiration from, and staying true to with the original garden also had the benefit of retaining a number of existing plants.

"Many of the established trees were preserved, which as well as maintaining the existing charm and tradition of the garden, also acted to soften the transition from new to old. This gives a sense of longevity to the overall design and lessens the impact of change," says Boden.

Other existing elements were also retained, including the southern garden which has a free-flowing, romantic feel and the water feature at the front of the home, says Boden.

"After the formality of the rear garden, I felt it was important to offer an area that acted as a contrast to all that regulation. These small, separate spaces are little points of interest that give a sense of exploration as you move through them."

The resulting garden is essentially two distinct areas, both of which are representative of the original and an improvement to it, which Boden says satisfies both the needs of the owners and the critics.

Credit list

Landscape designer
Robert Boden,
Main contractor
Palladian Developments
Landscape contractor
Ray Pickford
Pool contractor
The Pool Group
Pool heating
Frameless glass and metal fencing
de Fence
Melbourne Sprinkler Supplies
Outdoor furniture
Pool designer
Robert Boden Design
Tennis court renovations
A S Lodge
Paving contractor
Phil Merrett Landscapes
Pool filtration
Hayward Pumps & Filters
Sawn bluestone from CDK Stone Australia
Megabay from Gardens at Night
Outdoor cooking
Planter boxes

Story by: Trendsideas

31 Mar, 2007