While Sydney is under lockdown, to a greater or lesser extent depending on where you live, leaving the house for an hour’s exercise is one of the few things we’re all still allowed to do. That’s because there’s an understanding amongst health professionals that getting out into the fresh air brings with it a connection to the natural world that running on a treadmill at home just can’t match.
As the great architect and designer Charles Eames once said, ‘the details are not the details, they make the design’. The thought of creating your own slice of outdoor paradise is so exciting, it’s easy to get impatient. But making sure you end up with the outdoor space you’ve always dreamed of requires a level of detail that can take some by surprise. And that starts with spending time on the design.
There has never been so much interest in growing food at home than there is right now. Even before COVID, vegetable garden supply retailers once frequented by older men and committed permaculturists have been inundated with interest from families keen to get their hands dirty and grow their own fruit and vegetables with their kids.
Everything tends to run more smoothly in life when we know what to expect – and that’s absolutely the case when you’re hoping to create an idyllic garden.
When building a brand new home or embarking on a large-scale renovation, the ultimate plan of attack is to get a landscape architect in as early as possible. Though one’s instinct might be to leave the outdoors until last, engaging a landscape architect early in the design process allows for a holistic, seamless approach and ensures that you’ll get the most value out of your consultants. You’re paying for the best and getting your consultants working together will result in the best possible finished design, even something a bit magical.
We’re all for living and entertaining outdoors, but as our gardens become semi-public spaces towards which guests gravitate, it’s nice to carve out a corner that’s just for you, a secret nook in which to unwind on one’s own. Any garden, from a grand acreage to a modest courtyard, can be designed with such a spot; the key is to create a sense of intimacy and sprinkle a little bit of gardening magic.
The front garden is the public face of the home and an opportunity to set your house apart from the mundane streetscape. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to front gardens – a californian bungalow, for example, might suit formal plantings that echo the tone of the façade, while a contemporary home would require a totally different approach – but the end goal is always the same: to create a sense of arrival, a serene space that says, ‘welcome home’.
It’s been a rough old time, these last 18 months. The impacts of COVID have forced those who can to work from home, sometimes for the first time. As Sydney stares down at least another few weeks in lockdown, many are starting to hit the wall in terms of energy, motivation and general wellbeing. That’s where having a connection to nature can really help.
As an increasing number of homes become multigenerational, we’re seeing more granny flats down the bottom of the garden – but when you’ve got a second little home on the same property, how do you zone off the garden to give everyone a sense of privacy? It’s not just Gran’s little cottage that creates a need for zoning. The secondary space could be a teen retreat, a home office, or even a sublet, all of which work best when visually removed from the main house and given their own sense of space.