Garden Levels Vary a Steep Slope in Australia

Untouched for a long time, this steep website in Northridge, a suburb of Sydney, had an unusable sloping lawn having an unfortunate perspective of the family’s carport. This outdoor area had small usable space, with the exception of a tiny paved area surrounded by a stone retaining wall.

Landscape designer Ken Pattinson and his team redesigned the space with a modern slant, incorporating several luxurious heights of tumbled travertine, water characteristics and gentle greenery. The levels take advantage of the entire space, now a relaxed oasis which allows the clients to enjoy the Sydney sunshine in solitude.

Location: Northridge, Australia
Designer: Artwork in Green
Size: 1,650 square feet

Art in Green

Pattinson met the challenge of this lot’s 7-foot height shift with several tumbled travertine patios, each connected with elegant stone staircase.

Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii, USDA zones 10 to 12)andlilly pilly (Syzygium spp) hedges help disguise the stunning level changes, making the garden feel more tolerable. Covering the carport wall in wood beamed its true identity and added a warm element.

Art in Green

Pattinson lighting strategy creates depth and entices people. Brushed chrome fixtures beckon visitors up the staircase, across stepping stone and above wooden patios. Light fixtures in water features highlight adjacent surfaces and plant shapes.

Art in Green

The garden’s most important water feature, a perpendicular drop, crosses three of those rock patios, linking them. Water is pumped from the lower level to the upper level, then pushed across the waterfall at the very top. A one way valve prevents it from draining to the lower pond once the pump is off.

A tank captures rainwater running off the garage roof and helps keep the water level consistent.

Art in Green

One of the plants featured in the bottom level of this water attribute are imperial bromeliad (Vriesea imperialis, zones 10 into 11) sweet flag (Acorus spp) and spiny-head mat-rush (Tanika Lomandra longifolia, zones 8 to 11).

Art in Green

Nick Kennedy of Art in Green made the tumbled travertine hardscaping; he utilized the very same stones on the stair treads, water feature stepping and coping stone.

Tiny Trev lilly pilly (Syzygium australe Tiny Trevas)lines the edge of the water. Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus, zones 9 to 10) adds elevation.

Art in Green

Turpentine, a durable Australian wood, was utilized for the decks, lounge chairs and carport wall. Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica, zones 5 to 9), bay tree (Laurus nobilis, zones 8 to 10),hawthorn (Raphiolepsis spp), coastal rosemary(Westringea fruticosa) and wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum, zones 4 to 8) are pruned into ball shapes. The consistent use of substances — turpentine, travertine and similar plants — helps unify the multilevel layout.

More: See a Lush Australian Garden That Needs Little Water

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