This thirty-acre equestrian property is situated on the flat, exposed country of West Gippsland.

The single-storey residence is located near the front entrance, with extensive paddocks to the rear and sheds and riding arena to the north.

Windbreaks are going to be an important aspect of this garden’s success, to protect from hot north winds in summer and cold south westerlies in winter, while preserving long views to the west. The clients would also like to screen neighbouring properties. Soils comprise rich clay loams over reactive clays, with good water holding capacity. In places the ground is subject to minor inundation in winter.

The clients’ brief is for a lush, voluptuous garden that will provide copious cutting material for indoors, both flowers and foliage. They want structural hedging, formality mingling with riotous overgrowth, and a productive yet beautiful vegetable garden.

The design process began with identifying the axes for paths so that views were maximised and garden rooms created. Permeable surfaces will be used for water absorption into the subsoil while maintaining dry footing.

A 15m long rustic timber arbour will be the centrepiece of the garden, clothed in perfumed Wisteria, roses and seasonal climbers such as sweet peas. It will create shade and protected spaces for tender perennials, and seating, and is orientated to direct the view out to the paddocks and grazing horses.

There will be multiple raised vegetable beds plus a small orchard to the west; both take full advantage of the sunny aspect and will contribute to the windbreaks when established. On the other side of the vegetable beds, within easy access, will be a chook yard and compost bins.

The gardens immediately around the house will be devoted to informal hedges and dense plantings of hardy, insect-attracting perennials and grasses. Deciduous trees and a low stone wall running along the front of the house will visually anchor the house into its surrounds.

This project is a long-term prospect and will unfold in stages. To have a client who is so passionate about her garden and who understands how practicality can dovetail with beauty is a gift to me.