Seaside Garden

Client Brief. The masterplan for this gently sloping seaside garden was designed with a restrained modern Italianate aesthetic in mind. The clients desired enhanced privacy, enhanced views of the sea and enhanced entertainment areas.

Philosophy. The design was guided by the idea of creating a serene and beautiful space with simplicity, structure and minimal upkeep. The philosophy grounded in minimalism, sharp lines and a confidence in the dynamism between static materials (stone, yews and boxwoods) and materials that move (art that glitters, plants in the wind, flames of fire).

Design. Several terraces for entertaining, gardening and contemplation were created on this sloped site. The central lawn consists of a square colonnade of pleached trees with a central water feature. Near the house and near the sea, enhanced areas for dining were created with a fire table the central feature in the latter. Strong lines were created with yews, boxwood, cypresses while paired with frothy purple flowering plants such as lavender and verbena bonariensis. The architecture of the house was softened with boxwoods, mounded boxwoods in pots and bright plants that move and dance in the wind. Sculptural Amelancheir lamarckii create four-season interest throughout the site. The selection of Escallonia iveyi is seaside perfect and carpets a bank in dark evergreen foliage and white flowers. The entire is architecturally up-lit. Beige paving will replace the old copper-coloured paving in spring 2016.

1. Seating and Water Feature. Three individual benches are recessed into plantings under tree canopies. Inside the circular seating area are additional benches for small groups of people. A focal point of the garden, the space feels like a refuge and embrace and is where a spherical water fountain is surrounded by a cluster of smooth river rocks. From here, paving radiates outward like water ripples from a pebble dropped in water.

2. Flower beds. A restful, naturalistic planting of sumptuous purples and blue is set against Corten steel art designed by Kathryn Aalto. The flower composition is composed of plants that are mostly drought-tolerant so that maintenance is minimised. Mounded boxwoods add structure and evergreen colour to beds of herbaceous perennials.

3. Year-round interest. Evergreen hedges of hornbeam and box define the space in all seasons. They add serenity, simplicity and greenery to the garden. The sculptural and multi-stemmed Amelanchier canadensis will be carefully trimmed to not exceed 3 metres. They offer interest all year-round: white flowers in spring, berries in summer and a flush of crimson and orange leaves in autumn. They are a repeating motif in the garden and create moving swirls of dappled light on the paving as the sun passes overhead.

4. Paving. Slate pavers add a sophisticated and contemporary feel to the garden.

5. Vegetable beds. Raised Corten steel planters provide a place for tending herbs and flowers and is a place for patients to get their hands in dirt and feel a part of nature.