This large garden on a hilly rural horse property was rejuvenated over a period of ten years. The hardscape had been completed years beforehand, but the planting lacked cohesion and many plants weren’t suited to their site. Overall the garden space lacked structure and peaked in spring, only to be underwhelming for much of the rest of the year. Some of the lawn areas proved life threatening to mow, and were replaced with planted beds. A full year was taken to observe the differing seasonal conditions, namely wet areas, frost-prone areas, dry ground and areas requiring wind protection.

As this property is located in a high-risk bushfire zone, large trees and shrubs adjacent to the house were removed and replaced with smaller, more fire-retardant options. Existing plants that had outgrown their location, or were unsuited to it, were removed. Plants of similar growth and maintenance requirements were grouped together.

To create structure sinuous hedges were installed around garden beds. Informal communities of old-fashioned roses, bulbs, herbaceous perennials and grasses were densely planted to provide seasonal flower and foliage interest. Many and varied deciduous feature trees were installed and the result is vibrant autumn colour from March through to June.

The remainder of the property was landscaped following reconfiguration of the horse facilities, and include a netted orchard, raised vegetable beds, a large chook yard, compost bins and rainwater tanks. An avenue of Ornamental Pears flanks the long driveway. The embankment surrounding the large spring-fed dam was planted with indigenous and other native species to provide habitat for wildlife. Frost tender plants were located on the upper slopes of the block – a citrus orchard, vegetable beds, Mediterranean species and others requiring good drainage. Long views were maximised while screening sheds and utility areas.

In spite of its scale two people maintained this garden for a decade. It was deliberately designed to be fully integrated and interconnected, with a closed system for organic household waste management. It is a garden that adults and children alike love to be in and gives enormous enjoyment.