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How clever use of individual elements can elevate the design of your garden.

Intelligent and creative composition of individual elements, and keen attention to detail are the key to transforming a beautiful outdoor space into a spectacular one.


Mixing various materials together in the outdoor space adds a new layer of interest in the form of different textures, colours and dimensions. The contrasting palette in this garden sees the use of clean, minimalist honed aggregate on the alfresco floor, Bluestone surrounding the pool, jarrah decking, natural travertine-clad planter boxes, and a custom-made travertine-and-cedar bench seat. Combined with the lush lawn and plantings, its effect is impressive. Principal Landscapes 0402 902 346, www.principallandscapes.com.au.


Continuity from the interior of a home to the alfresco area has become a major focus of contemporary design, and natural stone is a preferred choice in facilitating the trend. In this Giorgi Exclusive Homes residence, playful variations in surfaces see the use of two key materials. In the driveway (far left), square Bernini ‘Flamed Nefertiti’ basalt cobbles are tightly spaced to give a sharply defined appearance. Chiseled basalt has been used to pave around the tree, while the material also extends into the home in a honed finish. Light in colour, contrasting Carrara marble features subtle veins and offers a muted white-grey homogenous look. Internally the marble is honed, but outside (pictured), a brushed texture adds a non-slip effect, as well as a degree of informality. Bernini (08) 9388 1193, www.bernini.com.au. 


Some use them to cover unsightly walls, to create fencing and screening, or to provide air and noise filtration; others use them to improve thermal insulation or to cultivate their own herb and vegetable gardens. Whatever the reason, the vertical garden is becoming increasingly popular in both residential and commercial properties. The Cityforest Greenwall Modular System is a low water-use, long-lasting, and affordable option. Panels are available in kit form for quick and easy installation, so that you can enjoy a greener space to live in sooner. WaterGarden Warehouse (08) 9443 7993, www.watergardenwarehouse.com.au.


Some use them to cover unsightly walls, to create fencing and screening, or to provide air and noise filtration; others use them to improve thermal insulation or to cultivate their own herb and vegetable gardens. Whatever the reason, the vertical garden is becoming increasingly popular in both residential and commercial properties. The Cityforest Greenwall Modular System is a low water-use, long-lasting, and affordable option. Panels are available in kit form for quick and easy installation, so that you can enjoy a greener space to live in sooner. WaterGarden Warehouse (08) 9443 7993, www.watergardenwarehouse.com.au.


While timber decking is a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, its maintenance can sometimes prove a nuisance. The good news is that you now have other options. ZURI Decking is a ‘real-look’ PVC deck board, the only one with a high-resolution photo of real timber species embedded on the surface. Made in the USA, it offers the highest rating for UV-stability, and wear, and resistance to scratches, stains and slips. With ZURI Decking, Composite Materials Australia won the 2013 HIA Greensmart Product of the Year award. Composite Materials Australia 1300 719 235, www.compositematerials.com.au.


Water features have long been used as an artistic addition to outdoor spaces, with new techniques, materials and designs continuing to provide functional, aesthetically pleasing results. This water feature utilises copper Corten steel and sculptural elements based on the theme of the banksia, something The Fifth Room continued in screening and light features throughout the client’s house. Lighting casts beautiful shadows across the wall behind, creating a stunning effect. The Fifth Room (08) 9337 3352, www.thefifthroom.com.au.


With its rich rust-like appearance and resistance to corrosion, Corten steel edging is the perfect complement to the greenery of garden bed plantings. Its flexible properties mean it can be shaped into any curve or angular edge, while this particular product is treated with industrial zinc-rich primer and bitumen that will last forever. The Fifth Room (08) 9337 3352, www.thefifthroom.com.au.


With zero environmental impact and efficient water use for both fish and plants, aquaponics not only presents an organic way of living but also a beautiful feature for the garden. Here, waste from the koi-filled water feature feeds the bamboo and reed garden bed. In turn, the plants cleanse the water. A bench was incorporated into the water feature, while existing garden beds were filled with organic vegetable mix and replanted with a selection of seasonal vegetables and herbs. Sustainable Garden Design Perth 0405 303 824, www.sustainablegardendesignperth.com.


There’s something exotic about reused materials. The look, the feel and the sense of eco-friendliness is a big drawcard for many. Capturing the charm of real wood but eliminating many of its shortcomings for outdoor environments, Millboard is inspired by nature and designed for living. Adding character and style, the ‘Weathered’ range is available in two natural colours that create areas of timeless beauty, having been moulded from hand-picked antique oak boards over 100 years old. Concept Products (08) 9455 1234, www.conceptproducts.com.au. 


There are few things more refreshing than a dip in the ocean or pool on a warm summer’s day… except, of course, a rinse off in an open-air shower afterwards. Those looking for the ultimate summer escape in their own backyard can take their cue from this Tim Davies Landscaping project, and its use of this Murray Rose shower from Robert Plumb, chosen to complement the 1900s style of the home. Tim Davies Landscaping (08) 9441 0200, www.tdl.com.au.


Utilising existing materials on a newly developed site can offer homeowners more than sustainability principles – it often proves to be a unique aesthetic element. All granite was excavated, placed onsite and reused throughout this landscape, allowing the Eagle Bay home to blend seamlessly with the local environment. Combined with a mix of local natives and a greywater irrigation system, the resulting landscape has a delightful high-visual impact, and is low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable. South Sea Landscapes (landscaping) 0408 851 449, www.southsealandscapes.com.au; Valmadre Homes (builder) (08) 9756 7308, www.valmadre.net.au.


With its variable patterns and colours, and its softer properties compared with limestone, travertine is fast becoming a favoured choice in outdoor flooring surfaces. Travertine and similar stone paving products provide a softer finish on both the eye and foot, their natural, matt finish offering a rustic warmth and simple elegance to any space. What’s more, they also help stop breakthrough weeds and ants. Patio Living (08) 9322 3777, www.patioliving.com.au.


Who says art should only adorn the interior walls of a home? Architectural laser-cut screen panels are proving why it’s important not to neglect those bare walls outside. Choose from materials and finishes such as 3mm brushed aluminium, acrylic, or Corten steel, which is designed to rust. While the natural rust is very popular, Outside In recommends a new powder-coated range that delivers the rust appeal along with longevity, and ensures against the other side effects that rust can sometimes present (such as dripping onto walls and paving). Screen panels can also be made into stunning lightboxes with energy-saving LED strip lighting. Outside In (08) 9450 4922, www.outsidein.net.au.


A pool that offers both work and play can cater to every member of the family. A stunning lap pool is extended to incorporate an activity pool and relaxing spa, with a custom blend of mosaic tiles adding vibrant colour and depth. This striking pool also features an underwater window in the lap pool that looks into the games room. Exclusive Pools (08) 9344 2366, www.exclusivepools.com.au.


With clever design and appliance selection, the outdoor kitchen should be a seamless segment of the backyard landscape. This garden, designed by Scott Leung of Eckersley Garden Architecture, incorporates a beautiful kitchen that ties into the connecting entertaining space. The paving stone is repeated in the benchtop, while all cupboards are finished in the same colour as the pergola. A low-profile Electrolux barbecue offers additional bench space, while a fireplace and woodpile storage can be found further along. The greens of Virginian creeper foliage become the dominant colour that blends the space back into the garden. Eckersley Garden Architecture (03) 9421 5537, www.e-ga.com.au.


With many people working full time and longing for more time spent outdoors, clever use of lighting can go a long way. Outdoor up-lighting really lifts and emphasises outdoor features such as these laser-cut panels. It also provides an architectural focal point that can be seen from the internal living areas. LIFESPACE Landscape Design 0407 197 006, www.lifespacedesign.com.au.


The aim of any outdoor design should be based on spending more time enjoying the space than maintaining it. With this in mind, ABBIX has launched the low-maintenance Diamond Deck, a West Australian product from development and design right through to manufacture. The product’s unique strength allows it to span a massive 900mm with only one support, while being 100 per cent waterproof means it can be installed on sand, soil, concrete or brick and won’t swell or warp. Furthermore, with no biomaterial in Diamond Deck, there’s no risk of it being eaten by white ants or other insects. Available exclusively through M&B (08) 9272 2555, www.mbsales.com.au.


Outdoor living is a quintessential part of the great Australian lifestyle. While it’s nice to be able to enjoy the outdoors in our own backyards, there is an art to creating an atmosphere that is at once open yet sheltered. Here, a spotted gum timber terrace structure is a continuation from the interior ground floor living, kitchen and dining areas. Framing the same areas outdoors, which include a fireplace with a large chimney, a concrete bench and barbecue, it offers an open-air space but with the feeling of being inside a room. Robert Mills Architects (03) 9525 2406, www.robmills.com.au.


Enjoying the perks of high-density living in metropolitan areas can often mean compromising on outdoor living space. However, a little imagination can go a long way. The back of this bench seat in a tiny urban courtyard curves sinuously around to form the home of a stainless steel waterspout. The vibrant turquoise-coloured elements were selected to complement the colour scheme in the adjacent rooms. A Corten steel finish was used on the fencing, and UV-stable Perspex sheeting that is lit from behind finishes the scene. CultivArt Landscape Design 0414 865 747, www.cultivart.com.au.


Adding just one dramatic element can create a show-stopping effect in what may otherwise be an unassuming garden. In this home by Tobias Partners, Kosta Engineering created a helix of black steel to form a bold and beautiful stairwell making its passage through a concrete frame. The result is nothing short of unique. This home was in the running for a 2013 Australian Institute of Architects Award.  Tobias Partners (02) 9361 4800, www.tobiaspartners.com; www.architecture.com.au.


Gardens with mass plantings often require an object – a distraction – to bring the elements together and allow the space to be truly appreciated. Here, while the abstract rusted wire ball isn’t an obvious focal point, soft lighting on the sculpture at night creates an element of surprise within the garden. An important point to remember when incorporating a sculptural piece in a garden design is to ensure all colours and textures complement one another. Ascher Smith Landscape Designs 0422 069 310, www.aslandscapedesigns.com.au.


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