A Garden in Eynesbury

Hello there and welcome to our newly minted Garden Design blog! We are looking forward to sharing some of our projects, knowledge and learnings, hopefully to the benefit of you fine folks out there. We are aiming to post regularly and will offer unique content from our other social media to keep things interesting.

The Project

It seemed appropriate to start at the source and open the doors to our own backyard. This was integral in the establishment of Crux and the journey of design & construction further honed our love of Garden Design. We are based out of Eynesbury, Victoria, which for the uninitiated is to the west of Melbourne, just outside of the urban growth boundary. It is close to Melton and Bacchus Marsh and is still growing, resembling something between a suburb and a country town. It was historically one of Victoria’s largest farms. with housing now surrounding a heritage listed homestead, golf course and natural landscapes of environmental significance.

The pre-design conditions of the space were reflective of a new suburban build, being a relatively small space, loosely defined as a garden. Bomb proof, generic and largely exotic plant species filled the space with an over-reliance on gravel, crushed rock and synthetic turf for surfaces. A hardwood deck was the best feature, and located centrally, however the remainder lacked a design structure or detailed thought.

A brief was the first step, the primary goal being a lush green oasis to look out onto from our living areas, in place of the relitively hostile space that we had. We wanted to be able to use the garden in a variety of ways, for our relaxation as well as entertaining visitors. A productive landscape was also important as was lawn for our dog to chase a ball. The need to house a recently purchased chiminea also was a key requirement.

The Design

We developed an asymmetrical garden design that resembles a courtyard garden more closely than a traditional backyard. We broke down the ‘boxiness’ of the space into a series of sub-spaces, each with separate uses and focal points. Corten steel clad, raised garden beds with curved edges connect and unify the sub-spaces. Thorugh some tricky detailing, night time illumination has also been provided via LED strip lighting hidden behind the cladding.

A small fish pond has been incorporated, built on top of the existing deck and this is plumbed into the nearby wicked vegetable bed. This provides some small scale aquaponics, directing nutrients generated by the fish to the growing vegetables. Compost bins are also hidden in a sunny spot (important for composting!), adjacent to the wicking bed but out of direct view. Cherry, apple, lemon and mandarin trees have been espaliered along the fence to provide some additional production value and provide a green screen between us and the neighbours.

Much of the original planting needed to be removed due to poor species selection and placement. Some plantings have been strategically retained however, to provide some immediate scale and screening for the garden. The planting strategy has prioritised the use of native plant species but this has not been a rigid rule. The guiding principal has been first and foremost the avoidance of an irrigation system. There has been some learnings along the way, but we are still watering only during the dryest of spells.  

The Outcome

It remains a work in progress as planting establishes and fills the space but the change has been nothing short of profound. We have been able to relax in the daybed on a summer’s day, or warm ourselves by the fire on a winter’s. We host our friends and family, barbecue and dine, relax and reset.  

The organic waste we generate in the kitchen is all composted which is fed back into the vegetable bed. This consistently yields enough vegetables to fill our pantry for the year with some staples, all for very minimal effort. We have had our first year of heavy fruiting on the lemon and mandarin though the apple and cherry remain sluggish, possibly due to the lack of a good chill in their chosen locations.

It has been hugely enjoyable to see the garden evolve and mature over time. Perhaps most of all in terms of its relationship with nature beyond the fenceline. Insects started moving in quickly after completion, with arachnids following them. Then came the birds – many of them native to our delight. Skinks and Blue Tongues have visited us, seeking a quick feed and the most recent achievement has been the arrival of some frogs. There is possibly no greater sign of success for us than this!

Love Your Garden!

The thought which we would love to leave you with is this. Regardless of what you do, how much time you have, or how much space you have available to you – give your garden a go and value your green space. It doesn’t matter if you don’t really know what you are doing or if you fail. Part of what is wonderful about gardening is the process of creating, tending, learning from mistakes and reminding ourselves that we are part of nature. Of course, if that is not your thing, you are more than welcome to contact us to provide a design! 😊