A Modern Homage to Mid Century Modern Surf Style.



Ohana is a collaboration project for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2016. The garden was designed by ghld, and built by The Garden Company and The Pool Company. Ohana was awarded a Silver Medal in the ShowGarden category.

I really want to acknowledge the superb craftsmanship and finish that defined this garden - it was a tricky site and a tough build, and www.thegardencompany.com.au and www.thepoolcompany.com.au did an absolutely superb job. Their professionalism and expertise is second to none.


Ohana - loosely translated - means 'family', 'extended family' and 'no one left behind' - so we thought it the perfect sentiment for a space that can be enjoyed by modern families of all kinds and sizes.

Echoing mid-century shapes and styles, we were able to put a stylish and very user friendly twist on the modern backyard. We wanted to have some fun with the 1960s surf theme and give it a modern revamp.

The site we chose has a significant slope, and changes in height by over 2 metres - so we thought it would be a great site to demonstrate how to harness these level changes, and at the same time make the severity of the site incline less apparent.

The dominating feature of this garden is Leilani - a 4.6m high, 3m wide towering surfer girl made of hand-cut glass mosaic. She sets the tone of the space and injects some fun into the theme of fun, sun and surf. The base tiles on this mosaic have been matched to the pool mosaic tiles, also in glass. Both were provided by Swimple.  www.swimple.com.au

The lower level is the 'entry' level - space for at least 10 people to relax around the coffee table/firepit, and close enough to be able to chat to swimmers in the pool. Cantilevered steps trace the side of the pool and take you up to the dining level.

All weather cushions are a must, so we went with luxurious custom upholstery to make sure that the lounge area would get maximum use. Cushions were colour matched to the Leilani mosaic and the surrounding foliage, with a retro stripe on the extra cushy backrests. www.informupholstery.com.au

Pavers were custom made in a wave pattern by Stone Outdoors - they also made a custom planter cladding with a blue-green aggregate to reference sea glass. It's details like these that add so much more interest and fun to a design like this. www.stoneoutdoors.com.au

The dining/bar area features a handmade malibu surfboard table www.treetosea.com.au with upholstered ottomans to add some fun and colour to the area. A dramatic arbour resembling fish scales offers shelter over the bar - this, the large Bullet pot in the lounge area and the custom made powder coated coffee table are all from our friends at Lump Sculpture Studio www.lump.com.au

The negative edge on 2 sides of the swimming pool adds drama and a touch of interest (especially when lit up at night), running under the paved areas and connecting them nicely.