What makes a great garden design is the consideration of how people will use the space. Would the family like a trampoline, pool or lawn areas to kick a ball? These basic requirements give the starting point to be able to develop a family-friendly garden design.
A pool makes a great addition to family gardens, especially in the Brisbane climate. Consideration should be given to lighting and heating for optimal year-round enjoyment. Underwater bench seating is another feature. Think about locating lawn areas outside of the fenced pool area to maximise use, especially for young families.
Entertaining areas such as patios, pergolas, BBQ and kitchen areas should consider their location relative to your homes existing entertaining spaces. You may wish to consider a small built-in BBQ and bench seat for a terrace style or inner-city courtyard while a large pergola with an outdoor kitchen may be more practical for larger family gardens.
Structures and surfaces
The general rule is to use the existing architectural elements from your home and surrounding landscape.
Hard surfaces provide a practical solution to high traffic areas in a family garden. Natural stones such as travertine, basalts and sandstone provide warmth only natural products can.
Retaining walls offer the ability to create multiple levels or flatten an unusable area. If the wall is in direct eyesight from an entertaining area, consider using materials to create a feature such as natural stone, sandstone blocks, or render. If the wall will be covered by plants or not directly visible, then use more cost-effective options such as treated pine.
Planting and styling
When planting, it is best to use plants with different leaf shapes, colours and forms to create contrast. Planting in groups of odd numbers and not single plants will create a natural look. Try to create layers with different plant heights.
Garden features with lighting
Think about lighting so you can enjoy the garden in the evening. Tall trees such as Palm trees, Jacaranda and bamboo are great plants to light from below. The light will dance around and create visual interest. Practical lighting for high traffic areas is best achieved with downlights, casting light down over steps, paths and dining areas. It’s also very effective for creating interest over large lawn areas or pools which cast down through the branches of a tree forming patterned shadows over the space. Create depth in a night garden by highlighting hedges such a Lilly Pilly, Viburnum or Murraya. Remember, you always want to see the light but never the source.