Portfolio: Garden Design Chatswood

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I designed this garden in Chatswood in March 2013, pretty much exactly three years ago. The client has been chipping away at building the garden from my drawings over the years, it is a large garden that backs onto some beautiful bushland, where weeds have been a constant problem. Below you can see an image of “before” then you begin to realise what an amazing job she has done and is continuing to do.


The brief for this garden was to create a naturalistic native garden in keeping with the design philosophy of Gordon Ford, who was a pioneer of the ‘bush’ style gardens outside of Melbourne in the 70s,80s, and 90s. I must admit I was a little overwhelmed when I first saw this garden but after reading about Gordon Fords design principles it gave me a frame work to utilise and it made so much sense.


The image above is a view from the  rear of the property, you can see the client has begun to clean up this area of her garden also and has created raised stone beds to tie it into the garden beds behind the fence. I love her dry stone walls 🙂


There is a lot of stone in this garden, there are several sandstone rock shelves which break up the space, the garden has been designed to have open spaces that are linked by wandering bush style pathways.


The open parts of the garden are like grassland ‘meadows’ filled with Microlaena stipoides and other step-able ground covers.


Due to the large Eucalypts and Angophoras much of the garden planting is in part shade to full shade, we used species local to the area to combat these areas especially.


There are several glades of native ferns which have popped up by themselves and the Viola hederacea, and Dichondra repens is particularly happy.


There is a small brick paved seating area in the centre of the garden near the pond (which the client built herself), from this position you can catch some sun but still be protected in the hot Summer months.


In the image above you can see the upper part of the garden nearest the house, this part was completely bare 3 years ago, now the Protantheras, Correas, Acacias and Banksias are beginning to take shape.

 A dense thicket of Correa decumbens, Oplismenus emulous, Zieria and Lomandra around the bird bath, offers shelter and food for the many local birds that visit this garden. That is the main function of the garden to be a Wildlife Habitat space.


Some of my favourite plants in this garden are the Correa decumbens and Epacris longiflora, they were both flowering profusely when I visited this week.



The dainty bell flowers of both these species are perfect for the smaller birds.


Brachyscome ‘Hot Candy’ also seems to have done exceptionally well, even in the shade and because of its lightly suckering habit it easily contends with the other ground covers.


In order to cover the cyclone fence on the side boundary in the heavy shade we planted Aphanopetalum resinosum,  this has done a wonderful job of covering the ugly fence but also makes an excellent weed smothering ground cover.


This garden has come a long way in just a few years and it is hard to believe it is the creation of just one person, but it does go to show what a little passion for our environment and wildlife can achieve.


I can’t wait to visit again in another couple of years as she moves further onto other areas like the rear boundary. Keep up the great work!



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