Jun 2010 - Australia House & Garden

Subtitle: Wave of inspiration
text: This month, we reap award-winning ideas from some of Australia's most innovative garden design talents. Plus, all you need to know about tending your own patch in June.

Title: Displays of Perfection
subtitle: Admire the cream of the crop form the latest Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

Sinuous curves and dynamic planting schemes were big trends at this year's show. After years when hard landscaping, such as paving and walls, eclipsed soft landscaping, such as garden beds and lawns, this year saw a return to more balanced designs for liveable, family-friendly gardens. Designs focused on getting the most out of small spaces, by using vertical layering and clever ways of defining areas without constricting them. Pergolas and screens were light in colour and lacy in appearance, often laser-cut in organic patterns. Palettes were based around burgundy, bronze and purple with silver and grey for contrast, and often a splash of lime. Coloured, textual foliage continued to dominate at the expense of flowers, with water wise species foremost. Strappy leafed plants and grasses remained popular for textural contrast and Australian natives were embraced ,particularly the improved varieties, which offer better flooring and form. Reflecting the momentum of the trend for growing produce at home, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees were incorporated into many of this year's show gardens.

Photo: 137 caption
A dry riverbed of pebbles and custom aggregate pavers are flanked by rosemary (Rosmarinus 'Blue Lagoon') and grassy Lomandra 'Blue Ridge'. Perennial statice (limonium perezii) provides long-lasting purple flowers. The bottle trees (Brachychitron repstris) will take on intriguing shapes over time as their trunks swell.
Right - the pergola roof of leaf patterned metal casts delightful shadows.
Previous Page Euphorbia 'Silver Swan' encircles Lophomyrtus 'Black Stallion', with Limonium perezii in the foreground. For where to buy, see page 219.

The Wave
Winning gold for the second year in a row is confirmation that sculptor-turned landscape designer Paal Grant is making the most of his many talents. Taking tis inspiration from the Australian coastline, Paal's garden is a work of art. He has created harmonious, organic shapes that repeat and intertwine, using colour contrasts and texture to layer the design. "it's all about the plants," says Paal. "I chose really tough plants, ones I use regularly. They are the stars." The palette of silver, grey, green, bronze and purple is repeated through the garden in ribbons and swathes of plants. Curved hardwood decking hugs a conversation pit then spills down into the garden via an elevated stone aggregate path. Paal is also a designer for Entanglements, the maker of the metal pergola, galvanised wave screen and metal wall art seen here. The water feature on the back wall sits atop a concrete water tank from Landscape Tanks. Designed and constructed by Paal Grant Designs in Landscaping; 0407 418 912 or www.paalgrant.com