Understated Garden Genius: Longueville by Secret Gardens

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In a beautiful waterfront setting, this suburban Sydney, Australia, garden nicely complements the contemporary home it surrounds in this cleverly restrained design by Secret Gardens. As you gaze down toward the shore, terraced beds move from espaliered trees along white concrete walls, through spiky native plants and boxwood to ferns and ground cover, with colorations from deep green to spring green to silver. Among the multiple levels of these outdoor “rooms,” you’ll find a wood deck with a sitting area, limestone patios with casual wicker chairs, and a pool and spa partially shaded by a cantilevered roof and gorgeously up-lighted by night. Unlike many other seaside estate gardens, this one has no bursts of color, no extravagant beds of blossoms, no waterfalls or mood lighting; its genius is in its very simplicity instead.

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A soft patch of lawn is unadorned by statuary or frills; retaining walls are trimmed with greenery, no ornamentation or eye-catching carvings. In this understated background, the sea, the dock, and an easy-living style become the focal points of the garden, allowing the panorama of the setting to be the “star” of the show. But unfussy doesn’t mean unattractive or lacking in any ingredients for fun: it’s easy to imagine entertaining on the multi-tiered decks, hosting splash parties in the lap pool, or lazing in the spa to let the cares of the world bubble away. Secret Gardens’ mission is for every one of their clients to have their own special secret place, their own green haven — and they more than adequately succeed in providing just that here at Longueville.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).