Landscape architect Ben Scott takes us on a tour of a Californian inspired outdoor retreat designed for resort-style living at home. The 1980s Malvern residence, originally designed by Peter McIntyre, presents a series of outdoor areas that invites California to its doorstep.
Sipping cocktails poolside surrounded by lush tropical greenery is no longer reserved for the well-travelled. Through the expert lens of landscape designer Ben Scott, we discover how to create a resort-style sanctuary in our backyard through strategic design moves, planting selection and the King quality outdoor collection, designed to embrace the Australian climate.
A double-door tiled entry with views to the backyard welcomes a contemporary Luna Outdoor chair with matching potted plant.
The Design Intent
Mature palm trees combined with an existing pool positioned in the centre of the backyard created the perfect muse for Ben Scott Garden Design to craft some Californian dreaming. Tapping into climatic similarities between southern California and Melbourne, sub-tropical plants were chosen for their ability to thrive, their aesthetic, as well as their ability to ensure privacy.
The home was internally reconfigured to provide ample space for a family of five. Ben continued with this theme of ‘space for all’ by creating separate living zones and snug nooks throughout the garden. Curated with the King durable, design-conscious outdoor furniture collection, a haven ensued.
White quartz gravel, selected for its harmony with the home’s exterior, leads to a culmination of white-on-white textures, setting an impressive yet inviting tone. Ben specified Washingtonia palms, flowering plants, cacti and ferns for the front garden to set the scene for an entertainer’s retreat at the rear.
The singleLuna chair designed by Charles Wilson for King provides the ideal resting place to appreciate the front garden. Chosen in blush to complement the interior palette, the Luna chair evokes a Palm Springs nostalgia, perfect for a Californian inspired garden.
A glance back at the front garden reveals Washingtonia palms amid an arrangement of sub-tropical planting.
The Luna Outdoor chair, featured in blush was chosen to complement the peach tones throughout the home.
In true Californian style, Ben chose well-manicured lawns for the pool area to take full advantage of the northern sun. The King Cove Sun Lounges provide the ideal resting place for a poolside cocktail, as well as for quiet moments of rejuvenation in the low winter sun accompanied by a good novel.
Aesthetically, a succession of white limestone square steppers leads around the pool and spa, while a thin steel fence complements in its simplicity. Ben specified the fence close to the swimming pool’s coping to provide maximum space in the surrounding backyard.
To create a more spacious entrance into the backyard from the rear doors, the overall length of the pool was minimised on the eastern side, further enhancing a feeling of space and flow from the kitchen into the yard.
A gabled roof and white timber battened pavilion create a weather-proof seating area for relaxation and privacy. One can stretch out on the Zaza outdoor sofa to take a quiet moment, rain, hail or shine. Square limestone pavers underfoot provide practicality for entertaining. “A lush backdrop of sub-tropical plants softens the back fencing, while glimpses of the borrowed landscape from the park behind elevates the feeling of seclusion,” Ben reflects. A muted grey Ottoman adds to the relaxed atmosphere, and the Luna occasional chairs, delicate yet sturdy, create a snug zone ideal to retire to after dinner.
To the north side of the gazebo, matching white limestone steppers surrounded by dwarf mondo grass lead past an in-situ fire pit with a gravel base. Ben specified a collection of palms to separate the fire pit nook from the dining area for seclusion and comfort.
As the dining space is uncovered, the King durable Quay Ceramic dining table featuring a ceramic top, and accompanying dining chairs, were chosen to provide years of enjoyment. A non-invasive style of bamboo creates curtains of greenery, ideal for protection in warmer months when shade is a priority.
The Californian inspired tropical garden, paired with King outdoor furniture, perfectly blurs the family home and resort. Only one question remains. What time is check-in?