The Coorparoo III Project

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As is so often the case, children seem to emerge  as young adults almost overnight and we find  ourselves having to adapt our homes and  entertaining areas to the lifestyle requirements this change brings. One minute they are happy to sit  around with mum and dad, the next, they are looking for their  own space — as was the scenario for homeowners Bruce and  Sonya and their three daughters at their Brisbane abode. Their backyard was modest and contained a reasonably sized  garage in one corner and the remainder was predominantly  lawn, with a gentle slope that the girls had made great use of  in previous years. However, the need for a more substantial  entertaining area and a separate outdoor retreat was now  desired. The owners also wanted to retain some of the lawn  area for the odd game of badminton plus the addition of  attractive gardens to frame the space.

The main concerns were to extend the usability of the existing  outdoor lounge and barbecue area for larger gatherings in a way  that provided a visual connection with a new, completely separate  outdoor retreat for the girls. They wanted to give the garage  minimum visibility while creating an overall sense of space. The home is typical of the area and, like most, has been  renovated to suit modern living. It maintains the original  chamferboard exterior — zinc corrugated roof, traditional  window hoods and so forth — with more modern elements  such as rendered finishes and open-plan living. This provided  Utopia Landscape Design with some great options to work with. It was decided to locate the retreat area near the existing  garage, which, along with the fences and screens, was painted  a dark tone to create the feeling of depth and space. It is  connected to the existing outdoor area with a boardwalk-style  path that was treated to fade to a natural grey hardwood finish  and also forms the main surface of the retreat, to accommodate  the comfortable benches. Decorative grey gravel surrounds the  fire pit, which provides great visual attraction, not to mention a  brilliant addition in providing winter warmth.

The existing concrete patio area was extended and travertine tiles were laid in a modular pattern to unify the space, which was  defined by a new retaining wall covered with drystone cladding.  The wall allowed the previously sloping lawn to be levelled but  also provided the perfect space for selected furniture that can be  moved, if required, for more flexibility of space. The larger-scale lattice already formed part of the original  architecture so it made sense to employ the design in the new  screens and dividers, which have been positioned strategically  for privacy and to form a pleasant backdrop for the feature  urn and vibrant plantings.

The soft landscape comprises drought- and shade-tolerant  Sir Walter turf species, which have been edged with 4mm mild  steel that has been allowed to rust to form an attractive patina.  Plantings include rich greens and coloured foliage and comprise  of native gardenia trees, Rhoeo, Croton Mammy, Ixora (Pink  malay), Zoysia grass, Cordylines (Negra and Miss Andrea). Giant  bromeliads, Tropicanna and Giant elephant ears were also used.

The homeowner, Bruce, is the director of building company  Clarke Constructions and so, with Utopia’s Landscape Design,  he was able to manage the landscape construction himself.  He and Sonya are both delighted with the diversity they have  achieved in their outdoor living area and are very much enjoying  the outcome of the design.

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Contact Utopia Landscape Design

Mobile: 0419 665 402
Phone: 07 3890 1400
PO Box 4015, Gumdale, Brisbane QLD 4154


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