Words by Phillip Withers, Images by Etienne Mortier

In this weeks feature from Phillip Withers Landscape Design we make our way to the beach where a garden by the sea helps this couple celebrate a lifestyle with the whole family.

Neil and Marlene have always lived by the beach, Marlene born in Chelsea and Neil not far up the road it was living by the beach that is what they have known ever so well and brought them to their current stage of life. They had always planned for this house and garden to become the habitat for the family and in Marlene’s words “Its become the family mecca, all the Grandkids and Granddogs love coming here”

Neil and Marlene were able to build that dream home in Chelsea as it were, a house by the sea where the back gate steps out to the waters edge, where the natural beauty of the coastline sets you free! It was once this dream house had been brought to life that they looked to build even further on its lifestyle, so through consultation with the team at Phillip Withers Landscape Design they would look to celebrate the exterior to create areas where people of all ages could enjoy.

They looked to develop a brief for the space that would work with the area such as a front garden that almost melts into the landscape, with its links to local plantlife through plants such as Banskia integrifolia and Correa alba. Then changing to foreground pops of coral colour through plants such as Echeveria, Agave and Cotyledon. The beachside planting flows right around the house and principal landscape designer Phillip Withers says “It feels so nice to come back here and wander up from the beach and find a place with such a lovely connection to the area”.

With the strong winds coming off the bay, the logical answer for this home was to create an outdoor area sheltered from the wind, so when designing this house Neil and Marlene were sure to capitalise on this notion with all the previous knowledge of the area. Its here that the team were able to help create an oasis that would work both with the architectural elements such as the timber cladding and white walls that would correspond into the sheer descent water feature and Australian Cypress designer cladding . The blending of planting styles through the vertical garden and modular raised herb gardens also helped to create a feeling of green and blooming. It was a space that looked to take the vegetation by the water and slowly progress into lusciousness through planting such as Austrostipa, Lomandra and Carex through to more luscious varieties such as Philodendron, Liriope and even Monsteria for some big wet leaf.

It’s a space that Neil and Marlene have come to utilise all year round with the remote shade cover ideally satisfying the wetter months. They can entertain, cook on the built in weber and even, pick and eat. In Marlene words ‘Just being able to step out of the kitchen and grab some fresh herbs is great!”.

So it’s a year on from when the garden first went in and now it really feels lived in, the plants are growing, the herbs have been of great use and even the giant Strelizia has popped out with fresh leaves. Being the hub for the whole family to congregate, the stories of Christmas and holiday periods have all been started out in the courtyard and Neil and Marlene look forward to there garden by the sea being the mecca for so many more.

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