Whilst KWD specialised in all things hard finishes for interiors, landscaping design is increasingly becoming a significant part of the complete project design.
Explains Kate, “The landscaping of the property is so important. I feel really strongly about bringing the outside in, and I always recommend that our clients leave money in their budget for their landscaping design. For me, the house starts at the front fence, not at the front door, and people get a feeling, even from the nature strip, about what they are going to experience when they come in to your home. The outdoors is an extension of the indoors.”
“When creating a garden design, it’s important to think carefully about your family’s lifestyle and how the space will be used – outdoor entertaining, a trampoline, a swimming pool, backyard cricket. It’s also important that your garden follows the sun, from morning light to late afternoon. The planting needs to be positioned so that it responds positively to the position within the garden. You also need to have lots of seating pockets and places to enjoy the sun and the shade.”
At KWD we love working with the best in the business, and multi award-winning garden and exterior designer, Peta Donaldson of BLAC has worked with us on several properties. Peta’s gardens are fundamentally strong in form, texture and scale, with a focus on the balance between strong architectural lines, meticulous planting and elegant styling.
Explains Peta, “A property is incomplete without landscaping. A garden should complement the architecture of a home. If the architecture is outstanding, it should be highlighted without overpowering it. If the home is an ugly duckling, a garden can do wonders to hide its flaws. Landscape design is important for a home of any size, from a courtyard to a large backyard to an expansive rural property. It’s all about introducing and arranging elements in a way that improves a life outside that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. And interior planting plan is also a must for every home. You can never have too much green.”
So what forms a landscape design? It’s more than just lawns, flower beds, hedges and paving. Says Peta, “A landscaped garden encompasses many aspects of the entire exterior of a property – both softscaping and hardscaping. Softscaping includes plants, planting themes, plant positioning and soil maintenance. Hardscaping includes elements such as pergolas, paving, seating, water features, letterboxes through to pool designs and fireplaces. Lighting, irrigation and exterior styling are also an integral part of any garden. I believe every inch of a garden should have a purpose. The location of particular zones must be fully considered so that the garden has an effortless flow. It has to make sense.”
With the first month of spring over, Peta says it’s the best time to mulch existing garden beds, feed all plants with a hefty dose of dynamic lifter and tip prune young plants to ensure a thick healthy habit. “Check your irrigation system to ensure it is ready for the warmer months, mow your lawn at least once a fortnight and keep an eye on pests and diseases,” she says.
“And landscaping isn’t complete without the perfect gate,” says Kate Walker. “At KWD we have worked closely with Gabby from Red Hill Gates on a number of projects, including my own home in Prescott Ave, and also my new home, Beechwood. Gates are not only functional, they are a statement piece and create an identity for the property.”
Explains Gabby, “Gates add a very important element and create a synergy with the landscaping. As the main artery to the heart of the home, gates create an entrance and set the scene. The ideal process is to design the home and the gates before designing the landscaping, representing the materials used for the gates within the landscape design. However if you have a plant structure before you design the gates, it’s important that the gates represent elements used within the garden. The gates should be reflective of the overall aesthetic of the home.”
“Fencing really is irrelevant if you have the perfect gate, made from timber or metal, or both. Privacy depends on the garden and on how private you want the property to be. Most driveways are offset from a house, so a little bit of a glimpse into the garden can be really effective, however you don’t want to reveal the whole garden until the gates open up. It’s lovely to have an element of surprise. From a rural perspective though, if you have a long driving leading through a paddock to the main house, it’s always nice to see the entrance to the property.”
KWD’s resident gardener, Jamie Hills of Always Greener Landscaping, has collaborated with KWD on many projects on the Mornington Peninsula. He understands plants and how they work in a variety of conditions. Self taught, Jamie has a passion for and an innate understanding of plants, having worked in production nurseries for a number of years growing, producing and propagating plants.
With spring well and truly upon us, Jamie has some great tips. “If you’re a keen gardener, by now you should be on top of the winter maintenance – with all pruning and replanting done in preparation for spring depending on the variety of your plants. As soon as the earth and the air starts to warm up everything starts to shoot with new growth. Now is the time to concentrate on a fertiliser program. You can’t go wrong with anything organic for any variety of plant. Seasol is great for preventing shock if you’re late in moving some plants and it helps with foliage growth too.”
“Everything is starting to bud and bloom now – on the Mornington Peninsula the deciduous trees are full of blossoms. It’s the ideal time to plant in preparation for the summer season – we are in the optimal growing time. Bare-rooted stock should be in the ground by now because you want root growth to take off as soon as possible. Lawns are starting to need a mow again as growth kicks in, although it’s still a bit slow as the earth temperature hasn’t really warmed up yet. Test your irrigation systems and make sure that everything is working and ready for when the weather heats up. Start running the irrigation at least once a week to keep moisture in the ground. It’s also a good time to add a heavy mulch on your garden beds so when the temperature heats up the moisture is retained.”
Landscaping really brings a property together and deserves time and attention to detail. At KWD we are passionate about garden design, and how integral it is to completing the picture. When you’re in your home, you look through the windows at your very own piece of land that you so lovingly selected and where you have created your family haven.
This amazing group of designers, Peta from BLAC, Gabby from Red Hill Gates and Jamie from Always Greener Landscaping, are working closely with the KWD team on the landscaping for my new home, Beechwood. We are really looking forward to showing you the results of their vision!
Always Greener Landscaping
Rycon Building Group
KWD images: Brent Lukey
Blac images: Derek Swalwell