A well maintained front garden helps to get the best out of your home’s visual appeal, giving an indication of the interior to come and providing an initial welcome.
A brief walk around many of Melbourne’s lush leafy suburbs will reveal an abundance of stunning front gardens. A much higher percentage have been designed and landscaped compared to their UK counterparts.

A well designed, constructed and planted front garden design should compliment the natural terrain of the land and enhance the general theme of the home. When designing your front garden it is best to consider the amount of work and effort you are willing to invest into it to maintain the surroundings.

Many people say to me that since they never sit in the front garden why spend money? I say because it is a space that you and family and friends have to move through and it should be a welcoming one.

Modern Melbourne front gardens definitely tend to be more minimalist and are full of clean lines with a minimal palette of hardscape materials and plants. Gone are the ‘cottage -garden exteriors with a profusion of colours. The modern look comprises of clean lines, earth colours, creative use of stone, timber slate and granite as well as different aggregates.

A few notable points of interest:

Timber both new and reclaimed, has been used as both retaining materials and also as vertical statements (Pergolas , gateposts etc)

Stunning Specimen -sized Planting very specific to Victoria’s wide ranging climatic conditions.

Earthy “Elemental” use of Hardscape Materials e.g. use of big boulders and other sizes of pebbles and gravel.





We are constantly being asked “How can I extend the use of my garden?”

Of course we have had many gorgeous warm sunny days this summer (and spring) but all too many days and evenings are spoilt by the odd showers, or a breeze that is just too strong for comfort.

We are installing more and more contemporary pergolas (sometimes called ‘gazebos’) which protect from rain and wind, but also from a hot sun.

(One of our recently completed projects)

The pergolas illustrated feature built in lighting and drainage as well as electronically operated shutters for ease of use. Several models have sides which slide down at the touch of a button, and others feature integrated heating systems.

This new wave of pergolas, made in Belgium, have a superb contemporary look, and blend in with a whole host of other modern materials like the Marshall’s ‘Symphony’ porcelain paving illustrated.

A pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support crossbeams and a sturdy open contemporary garden pergolas


These metal pergolas come with choice of attractive posts, and a choice of side walls to keep out the hard winds.

Pergolas are beautiful garden features that everybody would love to have in their garden. They are actually a type of gazebos and can be built as an extension of the house or as detached, separated structures. When detached, they serve as an amazing focal point in the garden.

Pergolas form an amazingly shaded sitting area. With the right furniture and lighting this is the right place to be during any part of the day. If you want to hide from the sun in the hot summer days. . As for the nights, this space is even more magical to sit in.  With the suitable lighting, the pergola is the perfect place for night gatherings and romantic dinners. You can add candles, lamps, hanging lights, torches, whatever you prefer .

The pergolas are a great place for sitting with your friends and family, dining out or just drinking coffee. They are simply one of the best structures to add in the garden.

Pergola or Gazebo?

The three biggest differences between gazebos and pergolas are in their visual structures. Gazebos are typically round or octagonal, while pergolas are square or rectangular. Gazebos have a roof, while pergolas have cross beams, but no roof. … If it is to accent a deck or patio, then a pergola would be the way to go.


Here are a few points to think about to start you off:

1 – Should I design my own garden or get in a professional ?

I thinks a lot depends on how good a designer you are. It’s true to say that if you have design flair then you might be able to cope with the general layout of the different areas of the garden, and then apply simple logic to the choice of paving and other hardscape materials…. letting your love of plants guide you through the bewildering choice available at garden centres. But if that all seems a bit daunting then getting a professional in can open up a world of possibilities.

Mediterranean Garden Chester 3
2 – What Style of Garden do I want?

a) Contemporary?

b) Traditional (e.g. a  cottage garden)?

c) Funky (fun, and a bit whacky)?

d) Naturalistic …mainly about planting, with a formal feel?

e) Naturalistic …mainly about planting with a wild feel?

It’s true to say that many garden do offer a mix of different styles (e.g. mainly contemporary with a wild garden areas). I think it is better to keep things simple and not mix and match too much. The exemption to this rule might be a garden featuring a lot of planting…since planting is a great harmoniser is easy to get most plants to fit into most situations.

Liverpool garden design after 8 years


3 – Locating Different Elements in the Garden

Much of this is down to pure logic and practicality, for example : put the main seating area in the sunniest part of the garden, but equally don’t be misled into putting the main seating area always adjacent to the house (if it is facing North and then complain that it will never be warm enough to sit out!)

One thing in a garden is to feel private and not overlooked. This means screening off your neighbour without causing them to be inconvenienced. I have one client who feels that there’s no point having a garden if you can’t wander out on a Sunday morning in your pyjamas! Do remember, though, that if you choose to use the dreaded Leylandii, a) It means regular cutting back, and b) If it grows too big and your neighbour feels you are shading their garden too much they can request you trim it down. A refusal could lead to an enforcement order from your local authority!

Contemporary lighting in Bolton garden design


4 – Keep Your Garden Design Simple

Being over complicated never ends up with a satisfying scheme. This way forward can also be expensive with a likelihood that you will be wanting to change things within a few years, complaint about things being ‘too busy’.

In a medium sized garden, perhaps start with the idea of one or two seating areas, and locate where you might like the lawn to be.(If there is to be a lawn). Then work out where the planting areas are to be, as well as any other features such as raised planters, water features, hot tub, fire pit, and any kid’s play area.

Too many features can lead to a scheme not being very restful (unless you are blessed with a very big garden). Some of our most successful garden schemes have just one or two focal points and lots of gorgeous planting and, of course dramatic garden lighting.



Whichever way you go, keep a clear head, and a strong direction and you will achieve the garden of your dreams. Its also good to remember that gardens evolve over time. This is not just because the trees and shrubs grow B I G , but because you yourself may implement change after change, year after year as the garden develops.


They’re magnificent, regal, breathtaking and impressive on a grand scale. Large country estates have dominated Britain’s landscape for hundreds of years – but their huge size and diverse range of micro- environments can make them challenging and complex to maintain. Country schemes need an expert approach – especially if there are specific objectives in mind regarding cost and appearance.…



Timber sleepers have emerged in recent years as popular decorative additions in a wide range of garden design schemes. A far cry from their once industrial, smog-ridden past, now these versatile, visually appealing slabs of resilient wood can be incorporated into gardens and outdoor spaces of various sizes and natures to add a raw yet human element which marries perfectly with greenery and other garden staples.…