Remarkables Park

With an elevated position over the nearby Lake Hayes, this rather special house is the kind of place where you can picture yourself walking out onto the grass, warm cup of coffee in hand, welcoming the morning in as you steady yourself for the day ahead.  Or perhaps enjoying a long lunch in the company of good friends.  Maybe even a summertime snooze as a gentle breeze washes the fresh fragrances of nearby flowers over you.  In short, it’s the kind of place you can imagine living.  Really living.

Getting to that point isn’t easy.  The issue with such an impressive natural setting, with views stretching across to the Remarkables Mountain Range, is one of balance between the natural and the artificial (i.e. introduced).  Just as an architect needs to blend the actual home design with the setting whilst making it original, reflecting the owner’s personality, so does the landscape architect.  The garden and grounds need to both compliment the views and setting, whilst establishing the individualisation we desire to make the place ‘our own’.  In this instance, as we’ll note later, the landscape also had to match the build quality of the home itself.

Planted along the hill beside the driveway are a number of heritage grade Olive ‘Frantoio’ trees.  Originally from the foothills of Tuscany (Italy), the ‘Frantoio’ is the personification of a classic Olive tree.  Small to medium sized, the trunk splits at a relatively low height into a small number of these gloriously shaped and hefty branches, which then themselves have a number of smaller branches which contain the leaves and olives themselves.  Those leaves are small, oval and deliciously green.  Although they are undoubtedly not as delicious as the olives produced.  

Hedging is deftly taken care of by Prunus lusitanica – the Portuguese LaurelThe dark, deep green of the leaves are finished in a magnificent high gloss that glistens in sunlight, adding depth and texture to the aesthetics. Then in late spring, racames of gentle white flowers appear, attracting birdlife and adding the fragrance of summer. It’s a hardy evergreen that can be expected to grow up to 5 x 3 metres.

Also used for hedging, along with taking care of screening duties, is Thuja ‘Smaragd’.  With its striking emerald green colour and regimented appearance when planted in well spaced rows, this is one of Europe’s most popular conifers. The semi-dwarf compact form seems to stand guard and is perfect for entrance ways or at the perimeter of gardens, where the landscape and manmade meet. 

Elsewhere, a number of Nothofagus cliffortioides/solandri – Mountain Beach.  They have small dark green sprays of leaves attached to short stems in a display of finery that belies the strength of the branching structure.  At the core is a dark brown to black trunk that can weather exposed landscapes, making for a most useful and popular landscape tree that is hardy, evergreen, and can grow up to 8 x 4m. 

The various areas of the landscape have been designed to complement the plentiful outdoor living spaces of the residence, which were recognised with an Outdoor Living Excellent Award.  As to that build quality mentioned earlier, this Lake Hayes residence is the winner of the 2022 Registered Master Builders Southern Supreme House of the Year over $1 million Award.  It also won the New Home over $4million category, along with the Pink Batts Craftsmanship Award, Plumbing World Bathroom Excellence Award and a Gold Award.

It all sounds like something worth celebrating with a relaxing glass of wine in the garden.