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If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past couple of years, it is how interconnected our world is. Whether it’s something as obvious as how we relate to family members, the networks we build in our communities or how a microscopic virus can hop between humans with relative ease, nothing exists in isolation.
Your front facade might be about putting your best foot forward, but in many parts of Sydney, the rear lane is where it’s at. Once the sole domain of the night cart man and garbage trucks, Creative Director of Secret Gardens Matt Cantwell says the back lane is packed with potential. This is especially true in areas where land is at a premium.
When Creative director of Secret Gardens Matt Cantwell started his business more than 25 years ago, the concept of garden design was relatively new. Many homeowners were more accustomed to treating their gardens as lifelong projects, punctuated by occasional structural changes, such as the installation of a pool or the construction of a deck. But as our lifestyles have changed and we’ve embraced the garden as an extension of our indoor living spaces, our expectations have risen.
Going on holiday? Getting the garden ready before you go will ensure it survives and hopefully thrives in your absence. The end of the year means a break from the daily grind and hopefully the chance to get away, but while you’re gorging on Christmas ham and sunning yourself on the beach, a fortnight of neglect can have a big impact on your garden in the height of the growing season. To avoid coming home to an overgrown jungle – or worse, a wreckage of dead and dried out plants – tick these jobs off your pre-holiday to-do list.
The trend towards outdoor living has been around for a while, but what we’re seeing now is an extension of that, as people venture deeper into the garden. The outdoor room–once an add-on, almost an afterthought, to the internal areas–is now expanding into the furthest reaches of the garden, as we dedicate a much greater proportion of the open-air space to living, lounging and dining. Riemelia Oram of Cosh Living explains,“There no longer needs to be a constructed visual divide between the garden and the home. We’re seeing the strong design trend of the garden entering the home and, in turn, more and more, the home entering the garden.”
When buying a house, it’s important to remember you’re also buying a garden. It doesn’t need to be exactly the garden of your dreams before you move in – a blank canvas is no bad thing – but existing elements of the landscape could thwart your plans, or on the flipside, tip a nice-enough property into the ‘must-have’ category!
A well designed outdoor dining area is a wonderful thing, bringing family and friends together in the great outdoors and, ideally, allowing us to enjoy our gardens all year round.
The concept of an outdoor kitchen means different things to different people, but at Secret Gardens we prefer to put the emphasis on the word ‘outdoor’. An outdoor kitchen or barbecue area should be open to the stars and give you a distinctly different experience from what you can get inside. While the concept has been expanded to include mammoth roofed structures with all the bells and whistles (dishwasher, wine fridge and more), most homes work better with something more simple.