The owners of this 1930s home, located within Balwyn’s much-coveted Reid Estate, wanted a front garden that was sympathetic to the period architecture, and a contemporary rear garden that provided relaxed outdoor living. They also wanted to be equipped with sufficient recycled water to sustain the garden outside of water restrictions.

The entrance to the property is flanked by dry stacked Kanmantoo slate piers and walls and is connected throughout the yard with interlinking dry stacked walls. A casual feel is created with a winding Mintaro stone slate path that works its way through several level changes and past two lawn areas bordered by detailed stonework.

The use of Sir Walter buffalo grass, which requires minimal water, means the lawn areas are successful in the absence of rain. Traditional planting including upright birches, maples, crab apples and a jacaranda enables this garden to blend flawlessly into the existing streetscape.

To the south of the slate entrance path and hidden behind a wall of Waterhousea floribunda (Weeping lilly pilly) is a front paved courtyard that sits over a large water tank, with a capacity of about 30,000 litres. The tank was built much like a concrete swimming pool with a hydrostatic valve and a concrete lid. Due to the proximity to the house, the tank construction required careful engineering.

Decorative concrete paving units were laid over the tank lid and there are two small rectangular reflective ponds sited in the paving that set the scene for quiet contemplation. Pots planted with herbs yield produce for the table. The large water tank underneath allows the wider garden to be watered outside of restrictions.

The rear is modern, designed for entertaining and active use, with a single-level deck that extends from the back door to the pool edge.

The dark charcoal-coloured pool with stunning jade-coloured water is framed on the east side by bespoke metal screens. A water blade centred within the metal screens provides a focal point along this edge.

The single-level deck is very effective in dealing with the difficult level changes across the back garden. The chunky ironbark timber used to build the deck is secured using thousands of stainless steel screws. The ironbark timber was oiled to give it a clean, polished contemporary feel.

A Balinese-inspired pavilion rises from the deck and offers an intimate area for entertaining or a vantage point to survey the pool area. A large timber pergola flanks both corners of the property and evergreen planting with Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ and Weeping lilly pilly creates screening and privacy from nearby neighbours.

The resulting front garden acknowledges the heritage of the streetscape while offering a timeless feel through the use of natural materials. The rear garden offers a modern private area for both activity and entertaining.

The significant underground water tank has allowed the garden to flourish despite the drought and water restrictions. In addition to all of this, the strategic use of garden lighting creates another garden at night, one filled with drama and new highlights.

Gardenridge is a multi-faceted landscaping company that offers quality services in landscape design, landscape construction and garden maintenance across Melbourne. From the smallest courtyard to broad acre landscapes, from the city to Portsea, the Gardenridge landscaping team is ready to help you achieve your landscape dreams.