A garden makeover recreated a tranquil, rustic haven in the Dandenongs
Sun Herald June 14, 2008 home magazine.
>> Words & photography Tony Fawcett
For nearly a decade, Pauline Meade and her husband, Steve, loved their rambling and overgrown garden with its century-old trees at the front of the Dandenongs at Montrose.
Originally part of a neighbouring property planted in the early 1900s, it had a charm all of its own and a wonderful sense of rural escape.
But as the years passed, they realised it had become difficult to look after, a little too overgrown and, frankly, admits Pauline, a bit of a mess.
The gravel driveway needed constant repair, it was hard to keep tidy, one bed was a tangle of bamboo and some of the trees were nearing their used-by date.
Maintaining it had become a chore and they reasoned something had to be done. This garden desperately needed a revamp.
That was two years ago. Today, after the drafting of sympathetic plans by local company Wells Design Landscapes and a makeover by Semken Landscaping, the garden is back close to its best – welcoming, manageable, yet just as tranquil and rustically appealing as ever.
A new exposed-aggregate-concrete driveway that can stand up to the toughest traffic and weather has been laid, lawn areas have been opened up, paths made, new plantings begun, a fernery area extended, the front fence redone, a fountain installed and timber pergola and rock walls constructed to add character to the front of the 1980s house.
And the Meades couldn’t be happier.
Suddenly, an exciting new horticultural chapter has opened in their lives.
Although formerly interested in gardening, the couple is now passionate about it.
“We’re nearly becoming obsessive – it’s really bad,” says Pauline with a grin of satisfaction.
“In summer, I’ll be up at to get the hoses ready for watering by hand at , and there’s not a weekend that goes by that we don’t go out and buy some type of plant.
“We go to open gardens all the time and are just so enthusiastic about the garden now. The kids just look at us and think. “Oh no, what’s happened to them!”
Pauline says the work they have had done has made it easier to look after the garden because it’s now got structure, “whereas before it was a battle and we just weren’t enthused.”
For Andrew Triantifillou, in charge of the project for Semken Landscaping, the revamp has been equally satisfying. When he first saw the garden, it was completely overgrown, yet there was so much potential, especially with all the magnificent mature trees that included elms, maples, golden ash, camphor laurel and liquidambar.
“It was a great project to work on and the guys loved it,” Andrew says. “And to get a dead flat block with such good access was fantastic. Now the garden looks like it has been here for years.”
Ø To contact Semken Landscaping, phone 9879 3656. For Wells Design Landscapes, visit www.wellsdesign.com.au
Award Winning Sustainable Garden
Coolabah Landscapes and Yvonne Wells have recently completed a sustainable garden that will be used to demonstrate sustainable gardens to teachers, children and community groups. The garden, at the Gould Group centre in Moorabbin, was launched yesterday. Yvonne Wells of Wells Design Landscapes designed the 570 square metre site which includes such delights as a pizza garden - designed as a pizza and growing a different topping on each of the 'slices' - and a miniature grassed oval. There are lots of water tanks (of course) with Perspex downpipes, a section of permeable paving, solar powered pumps and fountains, a wetlands area, a bush tucker garden and many more inspiring and practical ideas.
This garden received a highly commended award for Sustainable Gardens at the 2007 Landscape Association of Victoria Landscaping Awards
The Coolabah team with Gould Group Project Manager/Fundraiser Administrator Andrea Lomdahl and Yvonne Wells
The pizza garden
A panel shows how permeable paving works