A Suburban Yard Transformed Into A Sophisticated Domestic 'Park'

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The plans to transform this typical suburban block in Ivanhoe into a multipurpose family space were guided largely by the existing architecture by Modscape. ‘A bold, modular extension to an existing home required an equally striking garden,’ says landscape architect and director at Mud Office, Mira Martinazzo. Her clients saw the expansive rolling plot as simply an opportunity to add another ‘room’ to their house.

‘Their brief stipulated the need for various zones to accomodate diverse family activities,’ Mira continues, listing an outdoor eating area, a fire pit, a lawn and entry garden as requirements for the large communal area.

Situated at the crest of a hill, the entire site had sense of elevation Mira wanted to enhance in the final garden. She incorporated the advantageous views beyond the fenceline into her designs when deciding on a planting scheme, allowing the stretching birch and low-lying rosemary shrubs to play with the undulating levels of the raised block. In doing so, she added her own green vista to the foreground of the view.

The concrete driveway was replaced with a raised entry boardwalk, leading to the front door, while tiers of corten line the garden bed edges at the rear. Sturdy, natural materials such as timber decking, limestone paving and split-faced granite were selected to enforce a lived-in sensibility that would age gracefully over time.

A simple planting palette was chosen to complement these raw construction materials. Fingers of sandy-coloured pennisetum, yellowing clouds of acacia and sturdy rosemary bushes fill out the wiry pale birch trees and ethereal miscanthus bushes. The robust botanicals also act as partitions, dividing the zones of the garden into ‘rooms’ with different purposes.

This generous garden retreat feels a little like a private park!

See more projects from Mud Office here.

The generous outdoor space feels like the residence’s own private park. Photo – Erik Holt.


The site is situated on the crest of a hill, basking in all the advantages of day-round sun and spectacular views. Photo – Erik Holt.


A planting palette of rosemary, birch and pennisetum create an inviting ‘lived-in’ feel. Photo – Erik Holt.


Outdoor lighting was specified to turn the dining area into a night garden for entertaining! Photo – Erik Holt.


The raised timber boardwalk leads up to the entry, where the bare concrete courtyard used to be! Photo – Erik Holt.


The garden makes an attractive frame for the house from this vantage point at the bottom of the plot! Photo – Erik Holt.

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