The playful, lush garden in Caulfield North showcases the results possible by engaging a landscape designer to translate a client’s vision. The clients met with Lisa Ellis Gardens in 2014 at the recommendation of friends. Looking to refresh the façade of their Art Deco home, the clients wanted a complete redesign of their front garden. An initial site inspection revealed several sheep sculptures on the front lawn, brought over by the client after a visit to South Africa. The sculptures, made from wire and beads, were produced by African women from impoverished areas. The brief was these would be incorporated into the new landscape as a feature.

The sheep sculptures were from the client’s holiday to Africa and were a key part of the brief.

The garden’s immediate charm belies careful planning, considered plant knowledge and a high level of detail brought by the landscape design. Lush, verdant mounds of foliage bring a softness to the space, and serve to showcase the playful sheep sculptures. Colour plays an important role in a restrained palette that focuses on variances amongst shades of green. Chartreuse gives way to viridian, revealing an artist’s eye for tone and placement within colour use. Punctuated by soft teals and lavender, the eye is drawn to these subtle variances, adding depth and interest to the space.

The garden displays a masterful use of foliage colour.

The Art Deco style of the home provided a linkage to modernity, freshness and boldness embodied both by the movement and the garden design. The bold lines in bluestone paving reflect the key touchstone of geometry for the Art Deco movement, and help frame the entrance to the space. The use of the bluestone is deftly “loosened” to fit the playful feel of the overall space; the patterning of the weighty stone bleeds out into the aggregate, softening the impact.

The garden displays a masterful use of foliage colour.

During the design process, Lisa suggested that the narrow red brick driveway along the southern side of the house might be transformed into a garden. The driveway was too narrow for parking and contributed significantly to the final size of the garden, eventually becoming a “Maple Walk”. This concept created depth in the landscape, soften the residence and provide a lush outlook from within the house. This recognition space could be used more effectively demonstrates the value a professional, outsider perspective can bring to any garden.

Reimaging and expanding space with the “Maple Walk”.

The garden and sheep sculptures work to complement each other. Many people, particularly families with young children, stop to look at the sheep, remarking on the sense of life and playfulness they bring to the space.

Resting on soft mounds, the design showcases the playful life of the sculptures.

The garden was designed in 2014, and constructed and planted out of spring that year. The garden is maintained by Lisa Ellis Gardens on a regular basis. This is particularly important for the high level of sophistication in design and detail present in the planting palette.

The garden at Carnarvon Road showcases the heights of an articulation a landscape designer can bring to a client. Lisa Ellis Gardens took a fragment of an idea (in this case the sculpture), positioned it firmly within the relevant context and built upon it with sound design practice, informed plant knowledge and detailed planning. The result is a joyful, fresh space that embodies a dynamic mixture of the soft and playful, as well as the deliberate and bold. The garden has recently been selected for showcasing in Garden Designfest, an opportunity for the public to take in this charming space.