Nothing complements a home better than a personal garden, and if you have the landscape firm Secret Gardens of Sydney at hand to design it for you then rest assured that it will be a space you will spend the most amount of your day. After all this is how the firm promotes itself – “ Everybody needs a secret hideaway, help us create yours!”
A city apartment has always been very different from a suburban house and the biggest difference comes in at the outdoor space one may enjoy. With a personal outdoor space comes the advantage of a private garden which never fails to replenish the spirit every moment it is experienced. Most city dwellers however have to make do with indoor plants and a public park to compensate the difference. But, when one talks of a penthouse then the lucky individuals who own it seem to have the best of both worlds.
A penthouse in Sydney, Australia was commissioned to the award winning firm, Secret Gardens of Sydney which not only designs and constructs gardens but also maintains them. The firm presently employs a team of over 35 qualified, experienced and passionate landscape architects and designers, construction specialists and horticulturists to bring every garden to life.
Spanning three levels the outdoor terraces were unattractive and not being used when Secret Gardens of Sydney was briefed. “Our client was unable to access the external top entertaining level from his apartment, he had to leave his apartment and go through the fire escape. This level had no connection to the other external outdoor areas or the apartment. With stringent building codes on what we could and could not do, Secret Gardens worked with the building management to ensure that the design and construction could meet the client’s brief.” Says Rochelle Abood the firm’s general manager.
The garden design which had at its centre a floating structure was broken down and made modular, each piece measuring no more than 2m by 2m, as everything had to be brought up in the building elevator. The added advantage with such a plan was that in the case the client moved, along with his other belongings he or she would literally be able to pick up the garden as well and leave!
A rejuvenating garden encompassing ‘the works’ was created, it has everything, wood decked lounging areas, a hot tub, a fountain, a shade structure, a water body with fish, outdoor lounge chairs, a little breakfast table and above all little bridges making connections with all of the seating areas. Where the planting is concerned, restraint and a clever selection of plants resulted in a chic and scented environment. The custom made planters, the well selected bric-à-brac, along with a superbly executed design displays the director Mathew Cantwell’s master touch aptly.
They say roof terraces are like stage sets as you normally view them from only one side, but in the case of this roof-top garden its different levels afford a quality of mystique, to be discovered and relished part by part.
“A spiral staircase was constructed on site to connect the two main garden levels, the middle and top external levels and allow the client to access these without using the building’s fire escape” explains Rochelle.
Amongst the star attractions of the city of Sydney is the firework display on New Year’s Eve, I am certain what this proud owner of this rooftop garden would be doing every 31st December – but of course entertaining his lucky friends!
Text By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Peter Brennan