Belle Magazine Australia
Stepping Up Image Credit: Belle Magazine Australia
Stepping Up Image Credit: Belle Magazine Australia

Stepping Up

Defining rectangular spaces that flow seamlessly from one level to another transformed a tricky area into an elegant and versatile garden.

Chris Pearson

In making the most of an awkward site, this multi-layered, semi-formal garden on Sydney’s north shore literally reaches new heights. After renovating the home’s interior, the owner asked landscape designer Raoul van de Laak of Good Manors to apply his green thumb to the outdoor space.

“The property had a hidden and unimpressive street entrance that we needed to update, and the rear areas were sloping and didn’t flow,” says Raoul. “After a neighboring renovation, the backyard had also lost its privacy and we needed to regain that.” The owner’s brief was for a green and white garden that performed many functions: spaces for entertaining, for personal quiet time and as a children’s play area, while also connecting with and reflecting the traditional style of the Federation home.

To fulfill the brief, Raoul has created a series of rectangular spaces on different planes, demarcated by retaining walls and hedging. The problem sloping site at the rear of the property prompted the use of different levels to better resolve it, he explains. A verandah leads to a decked area by the pool, from which sandstone steps go down to a lawn and play area. “These different levels flow seamlessly from one to the other while also looking elegant. The aspects created b


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