Oct 2010 - Backyard & Garden Design Ideas: Outdoor Entertaining Issue 3

Title: Natural Appeal

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This down-to-earth design celebrates the natural appeal of the Australian Coastline

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Inspired by Australia's smooth, sweeping coastline and curved inlets, this stunning contemporary garden is a living piece of art. Dessigned by Paal Grant from Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping, the garden captures the imagination and soothes the soul as it transports you to a peaceful place where you can unwind with close friends on a sultry summer weekend.
Your journey of discovery unfolds as you tread the winding pebble path, which takes you to a striking aluminium pergola. Designed by Paal and built by Entanglements, a company specialising in the production of metal art, the pergola is a key feature in the design concept. Providing a bridge between interior and exterior spaces, the pergola is contracted from durable aluminium and Alupanel inserts that have been router cut.
"The roof of this structure literally breathes as its construction is cut out. What's more, the sun is able to make its way through the silhouettes of the native trees to warm the space and cast a decorative play of shadows on the wall and deck," says Paal.
While Paal opted for an open roof, the pergola could be made waterproof by the addition of glass sheets over the top, he says.
The garden, dubbed The Wave, was presented by Paal, in conjunction with Entanglements, at the 2010 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show where it was given the highest honour: the Gold Show Garden award. "The garden is a continuous wave," says Paal. "It was created with harmonious and organic shapes which repeat and entwine. I also used colour contrast and texture to layer the design, giving it a very natural appeal."
Plan selection was an integral component in the success of the design, says Paal, proving that a drought-tolerant garden can be lush and rich in foliage and colour. "the colour palette was based around burgundy and purple with silver, grey and a splash of lime," he explains. The blend of plants is eclectic and includes natives such as the Red Flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolio) and Bottle Tree (Brachychiton rupestris). Burgundy Willow Myrtle (Agonis flexuosa 'Burgundy'), Euphorbia 'Blackbird', Lophomyrtus 'Black Stallion', Rosmarinus officials 'Blue Lagoon' and 'Tuscan Blue', all of which create a vibrant living landscape of colour. Yuccas and Agave geminiflora also feature in the garden.
Each facet of the design reflects the timeless, earthy beauty of Australia. The pebble path is reminiscent of a dry creek bed and is bordered with drought-resistent succulents and fragrant rosemary. The graceful curve of the timber entertaining deck echoes the castling and sweeps down to a fire pit perched on UrbanStone's ripple-effect Shifting Sands paving. This area is the perfect place for friends and family to gather.
The trickling, soothing sounds of the water feature offer a relaxing, calm, ambience. The water feature, placed on the limestone rear wall, was cleverly constructed as part of the concrete water tank.
With a background in fine arts, Paal says he sees each and every landscape as blank canvas. "With just a few brushstrokes, you can create a striking landscape that's both functional and beautiful to look at," he says. "For me, gardens are functional living sculptures that change as plants grow."
Paal's approach can be applied to large gardens or smaller gardens, such as this one.
"There's a design philosophy that says less is more, but in this garden more is more. Here, I brought together a verity of design elements that work harmoniously to create the overall visual impact," he says.
From the curved pathways and circular conversation pit to the flowering contemporary metal art, this is a garden designed to stimulate the senses and provide something unique and exciting at every turn.