In creating their new home in St Kilda, our Clients, who had recently sold their holiday home in Palm Beach, New South Wales, wanted to create a garden that drew some of the landscape character elements of Palm Beach as well as that of their new home suburb of St Kilda.
In creating their new home in St Kilda, our Clients, who had recently sold their holiday home in Palm Beach, New South Wales, wanted to create a garden that drew some of the landscape character elements of Palm Beach as well as that of their new home suburb of St Kilda – an unusual pairing of different coastal climates and landscape typologies. The playful brief of the Client was to create a garden that says “Ros Packer meets Catani Gardens”. The Packer family beach house in Palm Beach is notable for its semi-tropical landscape and extensive plantings of hydrangea, while Catani Gardens in St Kilda is notable for its Canary Island Palms and volcanic “gobbeldy” rock edges. The challenges of the original site were large, particularly poor soils and one established tree overlooking a slab.
Creating height was an important mandate so a large Canary Island Palm was craned in to instantly obscure overlooking apartments, with the planting of other palms anchoring the sub-tropical garden and giving the feel of an old established St Kilda landscape. The garden was structured to indulge the owner’s love of finding established and rare species. Plantings of hydrangea, giant bird of paradise and frangipani and the retention of existing Jacaranda trees hint at a “Palm Beach” character. An in-ground trampoline is a playful element that suggests beach holidays.
The entire front yard was also subtly raised and tilted with the front gate moved so that the front door is partially obscured and the front yard revealed to you, having passed through a sub-tropical and fecund arrival space, leaving the busy sounds of the urban streetscape behind. The change in front gate and the lifting of the front yard means that you now no longer have to “climb” to the house up steps and ramps which is what the experience was with the original house. The end result is a beautiful lush front garden which is distinctive and unusual, yet still feels like St Kilda.