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De­sign­ing a gar­den for an award-win­ning home look­ing out over one of Syd­ney’s most beau­ti­ful beaches was a dream gig for de­sign­ers Matt Leacy and Tom Wright of Lan­dart Land­scapes. But dream sites come with big re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. With a back­drop on one side of a stun­ning Chen­chow Lit­tle build­ing and, on the other, un­in­ter­rupted ocean views, the gar­den de­sign needed to be just right – sym­pa­thetic to the ar­chi­tec­ture, re­spon­sive to the client’s de­sires, and to frame rather than ob­struct views. Matt and his team have nailed it, cre­at­ing a strik­ing, re­strained and beau­ti­fully de­tailed space.

“When we rst saw the prop­erty, the gar­den was just grass,” says Matt. “Our client re­ally wanted to cre­ate a re­laxed, ow­ing space where they could drift in and out of the house. They’re very fam­ily oriented and also wanted to be able to en­ter­tain out­side as well. They wanted a space they could con­nect with vis­ually from the inside of the house, and also a space to en­tice them to go out into.”

Be­cause of its front­line coastal lo­ca­tion, the prop­erty is ex­posed to ex­treme weather at dif­fer­ent times of the day and year. Tai­lor­ing a gar­den space that al­lows the clients to be out­side as much as pos­si­ble was im­por­tant to Matt. “There’s an area where you can have evening drinks when the wind dies down and then drift around the corner, where it’s a lit­tle more pro­tected.”

The prop­erty takes in­door/out­door liv­ing to a whole new level, with doors that slide back en­tirely, re­veal­ing grand beach views framed by the ver­ti­cal tim­ber balustrade and tex­tu­ral, low plant­ings in the gar­den. The view of the gar­den is even more im­pres­sive from above, ac­cord­ing to Matt. “One of the best vi­su­als of the gar­den is

from the rst oor, look­ing down. The front of the prop­erty is on quite an an­gle, and we’ve re­peated this within the gar­den de­sign, soft­en­ing the strong lines with re­laxed, sculp­tural plant­ing.”

Not only did Matt and the Lan­dart team have the front­line salt ex­po­sure to con­sider when se­lect­ing plants, they also had the chal­lenge of the owner’s young dog, who had a pen­chant for run­ning up and down the balustrade. “It was re­ally tricky try­ing to work out what would grow there and be suit­able with both the salt and the dog. We needed to use plants that were hardy enough for the dog to step on, un­til he got used to walk­ing on the deck!” Matt says. They planted hard-wear­ing species such as Ca­sua­r­ina ‘Cousin It’, Agave ‘Shark­skin’ and Senecio ser­pens, as well as na­tive grasses like Lo­man­dra ‘Tanika’. “We added tree aloes (Aloiden­dron bar­berae) to break up the tim­ber screens and cre­ate some shadow play against them. We wanted a coastal, ca­sual gar­den that had a lot of tex­ture. We wanted it to feel set­tled in front of the view.”

One of the hall­marks of Lan­dart’s work is at­ten­tion to de­tail. This gar­den is no ex­cep­tion. A sus­tain­ably har­vested spot­ted gum deck oats over lime­stone paving, and gar­den beds are edged with Corten steel. A cus­tom-built pol­ished con­crete bar­be­cue, de­signed by Matt and the Lan­dart team, can­tilevers over the deck. Level changes are sub­tle and re­solved. It’s a strik­ing and el­e­gant space that com­ple­ments both the ar­chi­tec­ture and the site. Most im­por­tantly, though, the own­ers love it. “The own­ers are thrilled,” says Matt. “They’re re­ally pas­sion­ate about car­ing for the gar­den on an on­go­ing ba­sis. They keep it look­ing re­ally good.”

Cre­at­ing a space that peo­ple want to be in and to care for is the hall­mark of a suc­cess­ful de­sign. Again, Matt Leacy has nailed it.

lan­dart.com.au; Ge­orgina Reid’s web­site is the­p­lan­thunter.com.au.

“WE W ANTED A C OASTAL, C ASUAL G AR­DEN THAT H AD A L OT O F T EXTURE. W E W ANTED IT TO FEEL SET­TLED IN FRONT OF THE VIEW.”

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