Saturday, November 2, 2013

Poolside Living

Glass Pool Fence
The owners of this property wisely contacted us well before the building of their new home commenced.This meant that we could maximize the size of their pool and make the most of limited space for outdoor entertaining.A concrete pool was the only way to achieve this.

Composite Timber Decking
It was important to the client that they had a shaded area within the pool area to relax with friends and family.They also considered a spa but opted for a larger pool with in-pool seating.A composite decking product was chosen to reduce maintenance.

Pool Steps Mosaic Tiles

One of the owners is an Arborculturalist who specialises in supplying Dragon Trees.So we developed the idea of showcasing one of his specimens in a planter box incorporated in the pool shell.The pool and planter are capped with Travertine Tiles. 

Potted Cycad

A colour scheme of creams,whites and browns was decided on at an early stage. It works well in unifying the areas and creating an illusion of space.This Feature Wall is cladded in a Limestone Tile. 

Exposed Aggregate Paving

Succulents make perfect low maintenance poolside plants.These two are Senico (Blue Chalk) and Sansevieria (Mother in Law's Tongue).Exposed Aggregate paving with white and brown tones ties the colour scheme together.

This custom built Cabana and sunken seating area were designed by Newforms and the landscaping works carried out by Phase 3 Landscape Construction.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Naturescape Playground @ Kings Park

Late last year we visited a new children's play area that has opened in Kings Park. It embraces the ' Nature Play ' philosophy that encourages them to engage with nature. 

Upon entry it was clear that this was no ordinary playground. There are no sandpits, rubber soft-fall or lawn in sight. Not for the over-protective or unadventurous.

Kids were having a ball wading through creeks, building dams and hiding in cubbies.This is the kind of thing I loved to do as a child. Play is unstructured although there is one rule : No throwing rocks!

The area has been carefully designed to blend with the natural bush setting using native plantings and materials. Shall we climb over this tunnel or go through it?

This interactive water feature was a big hit. It provides a platform for making mud-pies, handling wet pebbles and water play.

If you look closely this tangle of roots has a hippos face carved into it. Shortly after this photo was taken our nephew required a change of clothes!

This double log bridge over a creek allows parents to balance alongside and hold a hand if need be. Here are some benefits of this kind of play from the Kidsafe website.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

House & Garden Magazine

I'm excited that our business is featured in November's issue of Australian House & Garden Magazine :

“ Landscape Designs should express everything you’d like your garden to be “

Claire works closely with her clients to translate their ideas on paper. This results in personalised plans which allow gardens to be created in stages without compromising the final effect.

A big thanks to my sister Amber Simcoe from DeRay&Simcoe for taking the professional photographs for this article. Here are some more photos from the shoot that our client kindly allowed us to take. This particular garden in Dalkeith was designed by us two years ago. It was constructed by Leon and his team from Gradient Landscapes a year ago.

Front Garden : The owners of this property wanted to give their house more street appeal without having to change the facade of the house itself. This meant that the landscaping needed to work with the existing face brick-work. They also added a modern garage door to complete the look.

Paving Types : Natural Granite Paving and Cobblestones were used as an inlay to break up a large area of Hanson Imagecrete Exposed in ' Classic Rose '

Retaining Wall : A rendered brick retaining wall was built to create a level area of paving next to the house as a parking spot for a trailer. Dwarf Dianella softens it.

Planting : A three layered garden bed of Dwarf Pittosporum,Viburnum and Flowering Plum Trees . These will grow to screen the neighbour's existing retaining wall.

Play Areas : Having a large family meant plenty of spaces for play was a high priority. We created a stepping stone area as a platform for a large spring-free trampoline.

Alfresco Area : An outdoor kitchen was installed in the back garden, complete with an oven. The steps, screen / feature wall, deck and lighting were all new elements incorporated into this garden renovation. New fencing and a pool area make-over were also part of this project.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perth School Kitchen Garden Tour

Last month I took part in a Perth school garden tour of local primary schools participating in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.

Our first stop was East Maddington Primary School where the students kindly gave us a guided tour under very wet conditions. No watering was going to be needed in the garden that day! 

The teachers encourage as many garden related educational activities as possible. Here the children have been involved in both recycling and garden sculpture.

At Westfield Park Primary School we were very impressed by their Aquaponics System.It's not hard to see how science can be fun when it's taught with such a hands-on approach. Apparently the kids favourite task is removing caterpillars from the vegetables.

Cooking, gardening and learning go hand in hand in these schools. Organisation is especially important in the kitchen when children this young are cooking. They're surprisingly skilled and capable.

At Bertram Primary they have a large garden to ensure they have enough produce and teaching area for their many pupils. Even so the schools require donations of fruit and vegetables to subsidise what they can grow.

This is where we enjoyed a freshly prepared organic lunch which was served proudly to us by the students themselves. The schools have an adult kitchen helper and a garden helper who coordinate the growing and cooking. These are not necessarily teachers, but specialists in their field.

Lunch :  Roast pumpkin and feta pies / chicken kofta  / spinach, oven-roasted tomato and bocconcini salad with eggplant couscous. Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds!

Spearwood Alternative School have a very modern and colourful teaching kitchen. The children told us stories about stinging nettles and the exciting plans that they have for their garden.

Palmyra Primary School is the only school that haven't opted for retained raised beds which shows that a kitchen garden can still be achieved without them. Many of the schools have compost systems and keep chickens.

Here is the SAKGF write up of the occasion :

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dog Friendly Gardens

We have a new addition to our family. Her name's Bonnie and she's a 6 month old Chihuahua x Jack Russell. She was adopted from an organisation called SAFE and we can't recommend the experience enough. Prior to bringing her home they conducted a yard inspection to make sure our garden was suitable for a her.

The first obvious danger was our pool. Bonnie needed to learn where the steps are should she fall into the pool when we're not home. Because it's winter at the moment we didn't have the heart to throw her in the freezing water. So in the meantime we put up a temporary bamboo fence to prevent her from gaining access to the pool.

They had a good look at our fences and gates to make sure she couldn't escape. Being a small dog she didn't have much chance of climbing these but we needed to make sure there weren't any small holes she could get through.

Bonnie had been with us for a few days when some not so obvious dangers came to light. I noticed her eating something outside which in itself wasn't unusual as puppies eat everything! On further investigation she had eaten a berry which had fallen from a Cape Lilac tree hanging over our fence. Knowing that these are poisonous I rushed her to the vet who induced vomiting.

While she was at the vet for observation I hastily cut the tree back to prevent any future incidents. The tree was on council land so we reported it to them because we were concerned that it was near a children's playground. It has since been removed.

When I was in the garden I noticed some more berry producing plants that are also toxic. I'd been meaning to remove these Asparagus Ferns for a while because, like the Cape Lilac, it's also a weed. It spreads readily when birds ingest the berries.

If you're wondering if any of the plants in your garden are dangerous to dogs, this is a good website ASPCA.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

We recently spent a week in Sydney to attend a friend's Wedding. It was planned as a holiday but ended up being a working trip due to the amount of work I had at the time. We did find some time to get out and about though. These photos are from our visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

The simplicity of this bed, a single Mauritian Hemp surrounded by a Succulent caught my eye.

Some Public Art amongst Beach Lilies with yellow Canna Lilies in the background. These seed sculptures were crafted by Bronwyn Oliver in 1999 to commemorate the location of the first farm in Sydney Cove.

A formal hedge bordered Herb Garden. This style of garden is surprising in a public setting and it was attracting a lot of interest on the day.

The gardens not so welcome residents, grey headed Flying Foxes. These animals inhabit the gardens in plague proportions and there are plans to relocate them due to the amount of damage they're doing to the gardens.

Definitely a highlight was Jamie Durie's succulent garden created in 2003 for 'Sydney in Bloom' and donated to the Botanic Gardens trust. I don't think I've ever seen such a varied selection of succulents and cacti in one location. They're planted in and against a stunning steel structure which really sets them off.

A wide flag stoned seat curves around the perimeter of the garden for rest and contemplation. It also helps keep visitors a safe distance from these spiky specimens. I couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for the grounds keepers here. I would want full body armour before tackling any weeds in this garden!