The gardens of Banksia House, a seemingly ancient home left to wrack and ruin, have been awarded the country’s best garden at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects National Awards.
Forgoing formality, owner and landscape designer Kirsti Sheldon of 7B Landscape and Interiors used a native plant palette to blend her design with nature.
The property’s idyllic location – Kings Beach on the Sunshine Coast – inspired her and architect Dragi Majstorovic, who worked together on the project.
Imagining the house as an old ruin with crumbling walls on a verdant estate, Sheldon’s spontaneous, loose, and exuberant plantings crawl and creep through and around openings and spill over broken-down walls. “I wanted a lush, layered, native landscape that takes over the architecture,” she says.
The home, comprising four structures, takes up just 25 per cent of the 1500-square-metre site. One structure includes a main bedroom retreat with ocean views that sits above a garage.
Two others, containing bedrooms and en suites, are divided by an outdoor bath, and the fourth embraces living spaces.
On one side is an external paved kitchen courtyard with a fireplace and barbecue, on the other, a large north-facing deck overlooking a bocce court-yoga lawn and magnesium pool.
At the bottom of the garden is a fifth structure used as a guest room, office or teen hangout.
Raw and rugged materials like concrete, spotted gum and unglazed tiles express themselves organically, allowing them to melt into the landscape. In time, the coastal conditions will patina their appearance so they look like they have always been there.
The structure’s light footprint allows the extensive gardens, landscaping and natural scenery to shine.
At the front of the home, a concrete block wall provides privacy from the street and a backdrop for a stunning native garden that includes two majestic screwpines (Pandanus tectorius), red flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia Summer Red), coastal boobialla (Myporum ellipticum) and cartoonish Cousin It (prostrate Casuarina glauca).
“The design is very layered and based on texture, size, form and green tones rather than colourful blooms,” the designer says.
Mary River stones and poured concrete strips form the driveway that gradually dissipates as it merges with the walkway and garden. Lush kidney weed (Dichondra repens) crawls between the cracks, grounding it into nature.
Sheldon planted wild iris and African iris (Dieties grandiflora and D. bicolor) in the shadier internal courtyards and around the pool where free-standing structures resembling old broken-down chimneys crawl with climbing fig (Ficus pumila). Positioned to frame views, provide shade, and create intimacy and ambience, they also act as a balustrade.
A trench running between the pool and yoga lawn froths with grassy plants and negates the requirement for pool fencing, allowing a seamless connection between the pool and adjacent interior and exterior living spaces. An outdoor copper shower covered with climbing fig is hidden behind a spotted gum screen tucked beside the pool.
More climbing fig combined with star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) traces the tiled surrounds of the outdoor concrete bath for two. Sheldon drew the tiling design by hand, leaving some out to appear as if the garden had taken over and the tiles had simply fallen off.
“The exposed copper plumbing pipes and brass garden taps are a feature,” she says. “The plumbers bent the pipes to shape on site.”
An outdoor fire pit is surrounded by gabion walls (wire cages) filled with Mary River stones.
“It’s a softer look than a rendered wall, and the large openings allow plants to creep in and out of them,” she says. “We added timber to a corner portion to create somewhere to sit.”
The lower garden features only native species. Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), ivory curl tree (Buckinghamia celsissima) and water gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) star alongside medium-sized shrubs such as bottlebrush, Grevilleas, Banksias and coastal rosemary (Westringea fruticosa) providing privacy and a verdant backdrop for the pool.
Sheldon repeated the front garden groundcover palette of kidney weed, pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens), coastal boobialla and Cousin It to tie the composition together.
“The property backs onto six blocks, so for privacy, we planted native trees and a row of lilly pillies (Syzygium austral Resilience) along the eastern boundary,” she adds. “They are planted close together for a coastal garden with a bush feel that’s undeniably Sunshine Coast in character.”
Article source: www.domain.com.au