point of view

Cater­ing to two very ac­tive kids, this al­ready-es­tab­lished gar­den with a sense of old-world charm is re­worked to be­come a func­tional fam­ily space

Inside Out (Australia) - - Out Gardens - WORDS LOUISE McDAID PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRIGID ARNOTT

Try to imag­ine a typ­i­cal fam­ily-friendly gar­den: there’s a pool, sun and a lawn, but noth­ing very in­ter­est­ing. This is not that gar­den. In­stead, this sub­trop­i­cal haven in Ter­ri­gal, on the Cen­tral Coast of New South Wales, com­bines old-world charm with con­tem­po­rary ad­di­tions for a re­sult that’s both hugely prac­ti­cal and gor­geous. “It’s a very us­able gar­den with ar­eas that aren’t cut off from each other, or from the view,” says Jaimie Wood­cock, who shares the home with his wife Aimee, and their kids, Ma­cauley, 9; and Leila, 3.

Mostly, Jaimie and Aimee wanted prac­ti­cal spa­ces for their chil­dren to play out­side, but they were also keen to ex­ploit the views and pre­serve the cap­ti­vat­ing feel that drew them to the prop­erty. The plan in­cluded a high-qual­ity cricket-pitch-sized lawn and a swim­ming pool, and shap­ing old plants into in­ter­est­ing forms to open up views and pro­vide pri­vacy.

They en­gaged Michael Cooke for the land­scape de­sign. Hav­ing worked with Michael be­fore, they knew he was more than ca­pa­ble of ar­rang­ing this gar­den the way they wanted. The cou­ple trusted both his ex­per­tise with the ex­ist­ing plants and his tal­ent and vi­sion to al­low the gar­den to evolve.

First was the pool, a sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion, the un­ortho­dox shape of which re­sults from slop­ing land and a tricky corner. A drop down in the level around the pool yields a lower lounge area, with both lev­els paved us­ing Eco Out­door ‘Bolzano’ sand­stone tiles. The crazy paving suits the un­usual retro-shaped pool and ex­tends to the house, where the down­stairs area opens onto it. What was once a slop­ing grass patch has now be­come two con­nected spa­ces where this fam­ily spends most of their time.

We wanted a durable, low-main­te­nance gar­den with spa­ces where we could re­lax with friends JAIMIE WOOD­COCK, HOME­OWNER

Michael then de­signed an ex­pan­sive lawn as a dy­namic area for play­ing cricket and prac­tis­ing putting. “We have very ac­tive kids,” says Jaimie. “Ma­cauley, es­pe­cially, loves all sports, so we re­ally wanted to be able to en­joy that in the gar­den.” They chose ‘Santa Ana’ couch turf for that golf-green look and feel.

The glass pool fence pro­vides a con­nec­tion be­tween th­ese ar­eas and the peo­ple us­ing them. The plant­ing be­tween the ar­eas is kept low to en­able a sense of flow, and in­cludes clipped balls of Rhaphi­olepis in­dica ‘Ori­en­tal Pearl’. The curves of the balls and gar­den edg­ing echo the random paving shapes.

Th­ese shapely curves re­peat around the gar­den, cre­at­ing struc­ture with­out rigid­ity. A pre-ex­ist­ing camel­lia is re­shaped into an al­lur­ing cloud-shape and the lawn has a sin­u­ous gar­den-edged bor­der. More paving and a sand­stone wall, built from con­vict stone, speak to the clas­sic com­po­nent of the space. The curves cre­ate a re­laxed look, avoid­ing straight, for­mal lines.

Away from the back­yard, there are other prac­ti­cal spa­ces. The clothes-dry­ing area has am­ple space for fun to be had among the house­hold chores. There’s a tram­po­line and court­yard nearby, with easy ac­cess all around. “One of the things we love is that you can walk around the house on all four sides,” says Jaimie. “We wanted the kids to be able to wan­der and ex­plore all around the house out­side.”

Much of the gar­den’s al­lure comes from the es­tab­lished plants and trees. Some of th­ese were block­ing views, so Michael thinned and re­shaped them to re­veal the ocean. While this

Michael did a fan­tas­tic job of work­ing with the brief we gave him JAIMIE WOOD­COCK, HOME­OWNER

POOL AREA Paving in Eco Out­door ‘Bolzano’ sand­stone tiles sur­round the pool and ex­tend into the sunken lounge area. Dri­ade ‘Tokyo-Pop’ stools from YLiv­ing serve as low ta­bles along­side a pair of Tait loungers.

GAR­DEN BED (above) Below the stairs and rail­ing de­signed by White + Dick­son Ar­chi­tects, vi­brant Cotyle­don or­bic­u­lata and Kalan­choe mar­morata are used as ground­cover. Bird of par­adise ( Stre­litzia regi­nae) stands sen­try by the rail­ing. FENCE (above...

BACK GAR­DEN Glass fenc­ing cre­ates a seam­less con­nec­tion be­tween the lawn area and the pool. “We can be play­ing in the back­yard and in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple in the pool,” says home­owner Jaimie Wood­cock. “That’s worked re­ally well, and is a bit of a...

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