Stonework a link to the past

The West Australian - - OUTDOORS/POOLS & SPAS - Sally-Ann Jones Lisa Ste­gena and her staff en­joy hav­ing lunch on the stone ter­race. Pic­tures: Gerald Moscarda CON­TACT Em­pire Lane, 6262 7252, em­pire­lane.com.au.

There is no way Lisa Ste­gena could ever un­der­es­ti­mate the value of a gar­den. As man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of her own nutri­tion-ed­u­ca­tion com­pany, Nutri­tion Force, the City Beach mother of two works from home, em­ploy­ing a staff of four women. In­stead of eat­ing lunch at their desks, they sit in Ms Ste­gena’s new pri­vate court­yard at a long ta­ble and talk about ev­ery­thing ex­cept work.

“It’s all about work-life bal­ance,” Ms Ste­gena, a health and well­ness coach, said. “We don’t just eat a good lunch, we also get our daily dose of vi­ta­min D from the sun.”

Her re­fur­bished gar­den, de­signed and cre­ated by Ceri Wag­nell of Em­pire Lane, helps to en­sure her em­ploy­ees are healthy and there­fore con­tent.

Ms Wag­nell and the Em­pire Lane team not only partly de­mol­ished two walls that ob­scured the en­trance to the house, they built new walls for planters, laid traver­tine paving and in­stalled a wa­ter fea­ture as well as putting in all the plants. They clad the front ve­randa ceil­ing with cedar lin­ing and made sev­eral low steps to pro­vide dif­fer­ent lev­els that add in­ter­est.

Sev­eral of the new walls — in some cases re­plac­ing old white brick ones — were crafted by a master stone­ma­son.

When she first bought the house Ms Ste­gena turned the win­dow of her bed­room into a French door lead­ing to the front gar­den. This space has now been turned into a se­cluded court­yard.

“I wanted three things in my new gar­den,” she said. “Some Toodyay-stone walls, an out­door shower and a wa­ter fea­ture. Ceri gave me all this, but so much more.

“My grand­par­ents were or­chardists and they built a stone cot­tage in Mt He­lena. I come from a fam­ily of botanists and the bush is in my blood so I wanted this stone — which is so beau­ti­ful and soft — to re­mind me of them.”

An urn over­flow­ing with wa­ter is set in a cor­ner in a stone niche which has a win­dow cut in it so it can be ad­mired from the front gate as well as the ad­join­ing court­yard. A bal­anc­ing stone wall in the op­po­site cor­ner houses one of the gar­den’s four white crepe myr­tles.

“Even in win­ter, when their branches are bare, crepe myr­tles are beau­ti­ful trees,” Ms Wag­nell said. “And in sum­mer they give shade.”

In the main stone wall, set into a piece of re­claimed jar­rah from a re­cy­cling yard, is an out­door shower.

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