Let there be light

A makeover re­veals the splen­dours within

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - Gardens -

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

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