Continuity in finishes contributes to the cohesion of this pleasing landscape renovation which also complements the home, new pool included

Designed by Levi Carter, Fifth Season Landscapes

From the landscape designer:

The brief

This North Shore property had a beautiful, newly renovated internal kitchen and living area along the back of the house that connected to an underwhelming and underused backyard. 

The existing shade structure off the house limited views to the garden beyond due to its low height, and didn’t allow for comfortable outdoor entertaining due to its footprint. 

The heavily sloped embankment connecting the alfresco to the upper garden and pool was clumsily retained with ugly flagstone walling, with access between the two garden levels restricted to a small, cramped staircase.

Due to this, a key focus of the brief was to redefine the upper and lower levels of the garden, creating a seamless connection between the two spaces. 

Given the southern aspect of the yard, a new shade structure that provided adequate cover for outdoor entertaining while still allowing natural light into this space and the internal living areas adjacent was key. 

With these areas looking directly out at the existing sloped garden, improving this outlook through use of terraced retaining and layered planting was also crucial to the overall success of the space. 

Incorporation of informal seating, heating, lighting and a dedicated cooking station was also required.

With the upper garden being relatively disconnected from the house and alfresco areas, the inclusion of a secondary destination at this level to better activate the area, as well as the maximising of level lawn and improvement of the existing pool space were all closely considered.

The pool itself was heavily dated, with the rock work along the eastern side and the unsightly pebblecrete finish on the interior in desperate need of replacement. 

The brief was  to address both of these items as well as the lack of poolside lounging and the visual barrier created by the existing pool fencing.

Continuity in finishes on all levels of the garden was also key to creating a cohesive garden renovation that improved the aesthetic of all areas while also complementing the existing architecture.


The planting for this garden was designed around the owners' desire for a relatively low maintenance garden. 

The existing murraya hedge surrounding the back yard was the perfect backdrop for an exciting new plant palette, including feature trees Lagerstroemia indica 'Natchez' and Nyssa sylvatica, accompanied by Alpinia zerumbet to screen the exposed pool shell. 

Pockets of Sansevieria, Arthropodium cirratum and Raphiolepis indica 'Snow Maiden' provide textural and flowering interest while mass planting of Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' settles the garden by providing green matt and spilling over the corten walls. 

Sir Walter buffalo was selected and installed for this project due to the owners having dogs – this turf variety can handle more foot traffic and will recover quickly.

This species also performs better through the winter period.

Credit list

Swimming pool design
Fifth Season Landscapes
Frameless glass pool fence with black spigots, by Glazed Co
Swimming pool finishes
Pool interior – New Zealand white pebbles in clear glass; pool coping – Bullen Sandstone, from Eco Outdoor; waterline tiles: Niebla mosaics, from Ezarri
Beefeater Proline
Special features
Custom concrete BBQ bench with waterfall edges and hardwood batten facade, by Youdell Constructions; acid etched concrete steps and bench seating, by Youdell Constructions
Landscape contractor
Fifth Season Landscapes
Swimming pool construction
Fifth Season Landscapes
Lower terrace – Garonne Limestone tiles, from Eco Outdoor; circular terrace & pool surrounds – Bullen Sandstone Crazy Paving, from Eco Outdoor
Fire pit
Angelina fire pit, from Robert Plumb
Outdoor furniture
Entertaining terrace dining table & chairs - Kinsley extension table & Arc dining chairs, from Eco Outdoor; Newport outdoor wicker lounge setting, from United Outdoor Furniture; seating on circular terrace – Hunter easy chairs, from Eco Outdoor; poolside loungers – Burleigh daybeds, from Eco Outdoor
The Landscape Association – Gold

Designed by: Fifth Season Landscapes

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Natalie Hunfalvay

02 Jul, 2023

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