Belle - - Contents - Pho­to­graphs PRUE RUSCOE Words G EORGINA REID

A Syd­ney har­bour­side gar­den per­fectly matches the home it sur­rounds.

Marrying the gar­den de­sign with the ar­chi­tec­ture of this home and its har­bour­side lo­ca­tion was spot on.

This page, from top A sculp­tural mass of Ca­sua­r­ina ‘Cousin It’ soft­ens the first-floor bal­cony. The bleached tim­ber deck is punc­tu­ated by three sculp­tural tree aloes (Aloe bar­berae). Op­po­site page Dwarf date palms and var­ie­gated star jas­mine at the entry.

Gar­dens are not just about the green spa­ces they con­tain, but also, im­por­tantly, the larger land­scape they in­habit. This har­bourfront gar­den, de­signed by Wil­liam Dan­gar, in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Mos­man is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the con­nec­tion of a gar­den to the ar­chi­tec­ture of the house as well as the wider land­scape. The three-storey house, garage and boat­shed were ex­ten­sively ren­o­vated by Cor­ben Ar­chi­tects in 2009. New zinc roofs and wall cladding, and sand­stone de­tail­ing pro­vided Wil­liam and his team with de­sign in­spi­ra­tion and di­rec­tion. But the land­scape it­self was a blank can­vas – “There were no plants on site at all!” he says. The pro­ject was very much a col­lab­o­ra­tive af­fair, with the land­scape de­signer and his team work­ing closely with the ar­chi­tects and clients to en­sure the seam­less in­te­gra­tion of the gar­den and house.

The clients were great to work with, says Wil­liam, and were very open with their brief. Their only re­quests were that the gar­den be low main­te­nance, and that it in­te­grated seam­lessly with the ar­chi­tec­ture of their ren­o­vated res­i­dence.

The site is very steep, drop­ping away to­wards the har­bour from the street en­trance. Ad­dress­ing the signi cant level change, and in­stead of a straight run of stairs to the front door, Wil­liam cre­ated a wind­ing path­way step­ping down the site. Draw­ing on the ma­te­ri­als used in the house ren­o­va­tion, he de­signed a se­ries of zinc-clad planter boxes, which pro­vide valu­able plant­ing space as well as a frame for the path and steps. “I wanted the front entry to feel like a jour­ney,” he says. Lush, shadetol­er­ant trop­i­cal plant­ing such as bromeli­ads, dwarf date palms (Phoenix roe­be­lenii), and var­ie­gated star jas­mine (Trach­e­losper­mum jas­mi­noides ‘Tri-Colour’) were used, pro­vid­ing a sense of soft­ness against the strong and min­i­mal lines of the walls and stairs.

The vast ex­panse of Syd­ney Har­bour is the star of the show in the rear gar­den. Wil­liam’s ap­proach in this area was sim­ple: “We wanted to cre­ate an el­e­gant and beau­ti­ful har­bour­side gar­den. We didn’t want it to be too com­pli­cated, to cor­rupt the most im­por­tant el­e­ment of the space which is the view,” he says.

The pool, de­signed by the ar­chi­tects, runs the length of the gar­den, con­nect­ing the space vis­ually with the har­bour. A frangi­pani tree punc­tu­ates the deck at the end of the gar­den, bal­anc­ing the space and pro­vid­ing a sense of scale. Lush, lay­ered plant­ing of yucca, ev­er­green mag­no­lia (Mag­no­lia grandi ora ‘Teddy Bear’), and lily turf (Liri­ope ‘El Marco’) soft­ens the bound­aries and pro­vides pri­vacy for the pool area. Three tree aloes (Aloe bar­berae) grow out of cut-outs in the pool deck, and re­sem­ble liv­ing sculp­tures.

Ma­te­ri­als in the rear gar­den were also kept sim­ple – tim­ber deck­ing was used to sur­round the pool and jetty, and a sand­stone block re­tain­ing wall runs par­al­lel to the pool. The boathouse, also ren­o­vated by the ar­chi­tects, has a green roof de­signed by Wil­liam, and an orange trum­pet vine (Py­roste­gia venusta) grow­ing on its wall – again de­signed to not over­com­pli­cate the view from the res­i­dence, and pro­vide a soft green frame­work to the har­bour be­yond.

Wil­liam’s in­ten­tion with the gar­den, as well as work­ing with the view, was to “tuck the house into the land­scape. The house sits quite high above the land,” he says. “We de­signed the gar­den to make the house feel less dom­i­nant.”

The beauty of the de­sign work is a deep un­der­stand­ing of the im­por­tance of work­ing within the frame­work of both the ar­chi­tec­ture and the site, and the ab­so­lute beaut y of re­straint. This gar­den il­lus­trates this to a T. It’s el­e­gant, tex­tu­ral and invit­ing and, as is usual for a Wil­liam Dan­gar gar­den, a sweep­ing suc­cess.

For more go to williamdan­ or visit Ge­orgina Reid’s web­site, the­p­lan­

Wil­liam’s in­ten­tion with the gar­den, as well as work­ing with the view, was to “tuck the house into the land­scape”.

This page The entry stairs are anked by dwarf date palms and low zinc-clad re­tain­ing walls. Op­po­site page, from top The pool con­nects vis­ually with the har­bour be­yond. Wil­liam Dan­gar used lay­ers of green, tex­tu­ral plant­ing to soften the bound­aries of this wa­ter­front prop­erty.

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