This garden in the leafy north shore suburb of St Ives was designed last year and built only 7 months ago, by Ash from ‘Living on the Hedge’. Part of the brief for this garden was to have plenty of year round flowers for bees and birds and given these photos have been taken in Winter, one of the most difficult seasons for capturing flowering plants I was happy to see many species out in bloom already.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum

The front garden was originally a large expanse of lawn with a deciduous Maple and some low buxom hedge. The clients wanted the complete opposite!

In the image above you can see the before garden and in the image below the after…

The lawn was removed and the gently sloping garden divided up to create 3 more manageable and useable levels.

As you step in the front gate there in a low hedge of Acacia fimbriata Dwarf ‘Crimson Blush’ which will screen the fence from the house.

The first level is an open space created to allow for an extra parking space and turning circle when parking in the car pot. This is decomposed crushed granite Deco Gold which has been planted into to blur the lines between the garden beds and hard space.

The middle level is mulch and planted out with native ground covers, shrubs and two feature trees, and houses a sandstone plinth birdbath.

The middle level will also house some bee hives in the sunny north facing spot on the boundary surrounded by tea trees.

The lowest level which leads to the house entrance is paved in sandstone flagging with two curved cortex steel edged curved garden beds framing the pathway.

Grated Grevilleas have been used as feature plants close to the house with two grated standards providing a formal element to the garden which harks back to many gardens in the area.

Grafted Standard Grevilleas

The grafted standard Grevilleas tie in well with the clipped Camellia hedge behind ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am so happy with the way the grasses and ground covers have already begun to spill over the sandstone boulders.

The rear garden was designed at the same time as the front but wasn’t completed until earlier this year. This is a very shady garden which is over shadowed by neighbouring trees.

The original garden was mainly lawn with a very large Fraxinus. The clients wanted to introduce as many native species as possible to encourage wildlife into the garden.

A small fire pit area was created in the rear flat corner and the large tree removed.

The Plectranthus argentatus ‘Silver Shield’ is doing a wonderful job of quickly filling in the space and flowering its head off in the shade.

And last but not least the garden street frontage is lined with a low hedge of Grevillea ‘Winter Delight’. This can be hedged in a typical north shore fashion or left to spill over the footpath, either way it attracts attention to the modern native garden which lies behind the white picket fence!


7 responses to “Portfolio: St Ives Landscape Design”

  1. Prue

    Another beautiful garden! Could you please tell me what the small grey plants are next to the bird bath in the first photo? Look like westringia or eremophila??

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kath Gadd

      Thanks Prue!

      They are Westringia ‘Smokey’ a lovely silver form of coast rosemary,

      Best Wishes,


  2. Andrew

    This garden looks great! We are going to turn our front lawn into a native garden. Is it best to dig the lawn out completely, or can the new garden be layered on top?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Andrew,

      So happy to hear you’re putting a native lawn in, I would love to see so many more of these around! I would definitely dig out the old lawn first, especially if your got things like kikuyu or buffalo grass growing as they can be very aggressive and prevent a native lawn from getting its foot in. I got another blog post here about using Kidney Weed as a native lawn, you might like to take some inspiration from that:

      All the best!

  3. Emma

    Beautiful, could you name any of the other shade tolerant natives? Such a tricky thing to find ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Emma,

      You can use the category search function on my blog to find more shade tolerant native plants.

      Best Wishes,


    2. Kath Gadd

      Hi Emma,

      Searching the ‘shade tolerant’ category on the website should give you plenty of options.

      All the best,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related posts

Birdbaths designed for birds

Mallee Birdbaths are specifically designed to serve birds. The copper dishes are broad and shallow, allowing birds to land on the edge and walk into the water. The baths are modern, elegant and durable. They are locally made in the Illawarra (NSW, Australia) using materials that will weather well and last decades. For help on which dish to choose, go here.