Landscape design is an area of mystery for many people. While interiors get a lot of airtime and everyone gets the appeal of a gorgeous home, we think that the great outdoors deserve just as much attention. At Secret Gardens, we believe that outdoor rooms (and the greenery around them) complete a home and are worth the effort to design and create. So, where do you start?
Okay, we’re biased, but the results you can achieve with a team of experts will outshine the work of all but the most skilled of DIYers. Engage a landscape designer or architect (read about the difference between landscape designer and landscape architecture professions), or let us decide which you need based on the specific project. Whether you’re after a full-scale outdoor renovation, from design to construction and planting, or just horticultural advice to help you get the right plants in the right places (see our full list of landscaping services), employing professionals can take away a lot of the guesswork and potential for expensive mistakes!
The first thing to consider before getting stuck into landscape design is exactly what you require from the space and what impact your lifestyle and family situation will have on it. If dogs are going to be roaming around the garden by day and wrecking havoc in your garden beds, it’s best to plan a more pet-resistant garden. If you have young children, it might be nice to plan a kid-friendly garden that engages them with nature and encourages them outdoors.
Just like with interiors, the style of landscape design you choose is going to depend on the mood you want to create. Are you after a wistful, romantic garden? A tropical sanctuary inspired by a Balinese resort? Something structured and a little traditional, like this Kensington garden attached to a Federation home? Or something modern and a bit quirky, like this semi-industrial green space.
We believe in a balance of hard and soft elements in a garden – built features can have dramatic practical and aesthetic effect – but there’s nothing like plants for creating a mood. Finding the right plants for your space is like finding perfect pieces of art, but with the added complication that not everything will grow in your patch of soil! (Here’s some ideas on some of the things you can and can’t plant in Sydney.) You’ll also need to answer the question, to lawn or not to lawn. Beautiful, natural turf feels cool and delicious underfoot, but you need to be aware of the maintenance required for a perpetually healthy lawn.
With Sydney’s hot summers and mild winters, a pool can get a lot of use; while it’s not a cheap inclusion and the ongoing maintenance can be off-putting for some, there’s enough of the child in most of us to thrill to the idea of swimming in your own backyard. Consider the pool options and what you want to include – heating? A spa? A water feature? – and then trawl through pics of beautiful pools for style inspiration. We love this Diamond Beach infinity pool and this narrow pool and spa in Longueville, just for starters!
For bigger picture perfection, don’t skimp on the finer details – beautiful landscape design is about more than just decks and dirt. For example, plan for beautiful and functional garden lighting, to light up paths and seating areas, and to illuminate feature trees or sculptures; consider clever garden heating ideas, so you can make use of your garden through the cooler months; and use pots and planters as accents, another layer of garden design. All of this will elevate your garden to something that looks and feel truly special.