With not just one but two pontoons touching the mirrored waters of their man-made lake, the owners of this idyllic Mornington Peninsula garden in Main Ridge, Victoria, would have enjoyed many On Golden Pond moments, watching the sun set behind the towering eucalypts.
Fiona Brockhoff was approached in 2009 by architect Don McQualter, then of Meacham Nockles McQualter now of Studio McQualter, who had designed a contemporary house in dark stained timbers. Squat and streamlined, it sat elevated on a site that sloped down to a lake, with an apple orchard to one side and surrounded by established trees such as Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and local eucalypts. The new house stood in a cleared space with much of the rich volcanic soil the area is known for removed when the site was etched out of the landscape.
The pluses, says Fiona, were instantly obvious – the star being the lake with the existing vegetation and perimeter planting, which ensured privacy and superb backdrops, being supporting actors. But difficulties with drainage had been created by cutting into the slope for the house and the subsoil would need extra atte