Tailored and Terrific: Formal Garden Woollahra by Secret Gardens

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Keeping a garden in harmony with a recently remodeled home can be a bit of a challenge, especially when the owners want a formal, classic touch combined with fresh, fun flair; that’s where a design by Secret Gardens marries the two goals beautifully. Edging a shining blue lap pool with a narrow cascade are flowers in old-fashioned pillar-shaped planters that give a nod to English garden tailoring while keeping a clean-lined, uncluttered look. Notice neat rectangular path stones here — laid out in an offbeat slanted pattern, white at the center and colored at the border, linking two outdoor “rooms.” At one end, a bistro-style table and chairs on a raised patio stand ready for peaceful garden chats or a good book; at the other end, the walkway to the water beckons.

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Using what they call “soft surfaces,” the artists from Secret Gardens balance the contemporary lines, pristine white color scheme, modern sculptures, and neatly manicured lawn. Eucalyptus trees grace the space with cool, fragrant shade. Ferns ease the squared edges of steps and retaining walls, and an abundance of deep green forms a privacy wall skillfully composed of wildflower beds that front mature trees in a neat, formal row, then wave in soft leaf tracery against the sky. With varied plantings that provide different colors and bloom at different points of the season, the garden never has a “dead” time and maintains its lushness and soft feel anytime, day or night. A meld of tailored, formal style and contemporary fun: that’s this haven, a sweet retreat from Australia’s Secret Gardens.

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