An experiment in courtyard design.


The Idea

A solution for a small budget and a small area, Peace of Mind is a study in making a shady, small garden work.

Designed to be simple enough to be a DIY project,  Peace of Mind works with the gentle slope of this shady area, and gives a semi-tropical feeling usings plants suited to Melbourne's drier and harsher climates. At the time this garden was built, Melbourne was in the throes of drought, so we wanted to see if the soft tropical feeling could be replicated in those conditions.

The Design

By creating different levels, we were able to give the garden more visiual depth. To increase this feeling, we kept paving to a minimum, giving the impression that the garden is indeed longer and deeper than it really is.

The Garden is designed to be viewed from the house as much as from within, and consists of 3 platforms adhering to the site's contours. Each platform is paved in tumbled travertine, to give it a softer appearance, and edged in timber. Plantings spill out over the edges of the paving, as if the garden is creeping in on the area.

A huge concrete urn stands by the entrance to the garden, with a raffia stream to move gently in the wind, replicating the energy of water movement. A copper planter gives more level interest, and this is filled with tiger grass to add to the tropical feeling.

Small details such as the staggered paving into the garden beds, and small edges of blue marble pebbles, add the touches that make the garden an interesting and tranquil place to be.


Tumbled travertine tiles and timber accents give the area softness - a copper planter box adds extra interest and texture, and contrasts well with the soft foliage. The woven loveseat is a prominent and practical feature that invites you to relax.


Renovation and Home Design

Working with the existing site levels minimises cost, and also adds to the feeling of space and depth.

Renovation and Home Design
Renovation and Home Design

Small details make all the difference in such a garden - the eye has so many places to go, again making it seem like a larger space.

Renovation and Home Design