Home Lifestyle Designing the connection between the house and the garden

Designing the connection between the house and the garden


The COVID-19 backlog, trade shortages and skyrocketing material costs mean that if you’re planning to re-plan your garden before the summer fun starts, you may be too late.

But MUD Director of Landscape Design Mark Tisdell says there are ways to get your planning back on track and help you re-prioritize what home means to you.

Having learned his craft by combining a Masters in Architecture with nearly a decade of experience in landscape design, the Newcastle-based creative is able to provide advice that suits the climate and profile of the former capital city.

Photo: Myf Garven

And when it comes to landscape architecture, Mark says that defining exactly what function your garden space should serve needs to be decided in the early stages.

“The first question to ask is how do you want to live in this space,” he says.Every room in your house has a function, and the same goes for your garden.’

“Design to function. It’s fair to say that if someone has a poorly planned garden it doesn’t matter what size it is, if it’s unattractive it will never be used, and someone may have the tiniest yard but if it’s functional it will be used regularly.”

Mark advises that the connection to the key living areas of the house is crucial.

Whether that’s by creating a pathway from the back deck to the pool, adding a fireplace or focal point to draw you into the garden, using landscape lighting to highlight a feature, or building a retaining wall to encourage a ‘place to have a cup of tea in the sun’ light”.

Along with thoughtful planting choices, climate factors, and access considerations, life can be enhanced by the right choice.

Photo: Myf Garven

Here are Mark’s top tips for planning your garden design:

  1. Give up your brief information: Make a list of your must-haves in order of importance, understand your options, whether it’s time, budget, capabilities, or the capabilities of those in your network.
  2. Measure the space. Use a scale drawing of your property to understand its true size.
  3. Inspiration: Gather inspiration, go to Pinterest, flip through websites, books, magazines, wherever you get your ideas from.
  4. Separate yourself from the space: Most people are too ingrained in the rhythms of their site that it’s hard for them to see it in other ways. Take a step back and look at your home and your surroundings differently.
  5. draws: Lay out the space on the tracing paper and draw over it again and again until you identify the key feature. Then you can work from there.
  6. Choice of material: Start choosing your palette. Choose your key element, the biggest, strongest element from your images – this could be a wall, a tile, an area – then choose a maximum of three different materials – don’t be too busy, keep it simple, let the key element sing.
  7. Focus: Draw attention only to what is beautiful in the space. Only put effort into those elements that will stand out and deserve attention.
  8. Subject: The theme should match the house; the same textures, the same materials, the same color palette. It gives a sense of consistency and balance of thought.
  9. Consider the scale: Plants can be either male or female and may need both to balance the space. Male plants are hard, female plants are soft and beautiful.
Photo: Myf Garven


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