Let there be light
A makeover reveals the splendours within
The front fence says a lot about a house and its owners. Does it shut you out or welcome you in? On this expansive corner block in Melbourne’s Glen Iris, old cypress hedges along the boundary once obscured the views to and from a beautiful Arts and Crafts house. For landscape architect Jim Fogarty, who was tasked with overhauling the gardens, it was an easy decision.
“The hedges were messy and growing out over the footpath and couldn’t be rejuvenated, so they were replaced with a new fence designed to give privacy but also allow people walking past to get glimpses of the garden and its plants,” Fogarty explains. “It’s amazing how much bigger the garden feels and how much more light is getting through now that those looming hedges are not enclosing the space.”
The 1920s house sits on 2000sqm and the grounds include some unusual mature trees the owners wanted to keep. To the existing turkey oak (Quercus cerris), cork oak (Q. suber) and cape chestnut (Calodendron capense) were added another 25 trees including a tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) that was 12m tall when planted, field maple (Acer campestre) and weeping birch (Betula pendula ‘Youngii’). “It’s like a mini botanic park,” says Fogarty. “The whole scale of the project is big.”
Fogarty removed the 1980s garden additions, along with much of the dominant red brick paving, with the aim of creating more usable spaces and better connections between the house and gardens. Critically, the original driveway pillars made the driveway too narrow for modern cars, so the entrance was redesigned in keeping with its heritage style. “The pillars
it’s amazing how much bigger the garden feels