Hipster Haven
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June 11, 2021

When illustrator and artist Annie Walter initially emailed us about a landscaping concept, she piqued our interest with her very first sentence: “We’ve recently purchased our first home, it’s a converted warehouse…” 

Annie had a well thought out, broad idea of what she wanted, including a fence, reduced driveway and lots of native vegetation.  She stressed the importance of sustainability and water conservation. But her most positive and intriguing comment, “It’s not a huge space but we feel it has a lot of potential” got us hook, line, and sinker.

After a bit of cyberstalking to understand our client more, it was obvious we were going to be able to have a bit of fun with this design.  Her website www.anniewalter.com describes her “well developed and recognisable style of illustration” as “Bold and clean, with a hand printed feel.”  Her art looked amazing, and she engaged a long list of familiar and famous clientele – Courtney Barnett, Something for Kate, The Lazy Susans and even Mambo.  We started on the design brief and immediately fell in love with the concept.  A robust design with character, charm and edginess to match the converted warehouse and it’s funky, artistic owners.  Blending contrasting elements would be our main technique, to provide a “finished product to look more homely, but still in keeping with the industrial look of the building”.

The combination of hard elements (polished concrete, bluestone, rusted steel, recycled timber and concrete pots) acknowledged the industrial history of the warehouse and surrounding Preston neighbourhood. These elements were then softened by an interesting selection of flora supplied by Plantmark.  The design provided a good mix of textures and colours of foliage and flowers and featured a beautiful ‘Silver Princess’ gum in the centre.  Bluestone steppers from Better Exteriors were used in different lengths as the entrance path with ground covers between to compliment the concrete and act as the blending point between the driveway and garden bed. Random bluestone steppers were also used through the bed to create more ways to walk through the space and be a part of it, rather than simply admiring from the edge.

Personalised touches are also found throughout the garden. Edible garden items can be found, as they enjoy cooking at home.  An industrial steel mesh screen was added to both side boundaries,acting as a robust frame for the espalier citrus and pandorea jasminoides– excellent for attracting bees, one of Annie’s requirements. These creepers will eventually become lush green walls and frame the rest of the space. Black hooks were added next to the front door for her to hang her handbag and shopping as she was unlocking the front door.

Throughout the garden there is a push towards sustainable and environmentally friendly elements. The front fence is made of a beautiful, recycled Blackbutt timber, remnants of a demolished bridge sourced from Recycled Timber Specialists.  The compost bin and water tank to run the dripper irrigation were added to minimise waste and save on water consumption. We built a structure to hide the water tank out of recycled timber to match the front fence. This included hinged doors with enough space to allow Annie to paint a stunning centrepiece mural.

Circular, concrete New Bianca Lite Range pots from Martin Kellock Pots & Planters were added to the top of the structure to resemble industrial smokestacks. 

Everything in this enchanting garden reflects a part of the owner, from its modern, creative design to it’s personalised, individual touches.  The Preston project may have been small but it sure packs a creative punch!  We think it has definitely fulfilled its potential.  It stands out in a neighbourhood where character and individuality are nurtured to flourish, an embodiment of the garden itself.

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