Tag Archives: friends

Weekend party time

24 Jun

It’s going to be a party kind of weekend around here.  The Drama Queen is heading out to her first real “school” friends birthday party, every other party has been a relative or friend of the family, so this one is just a little bit exciting for her.  Mr Perfect and I are also headed out to a party.  We’re on different ends of the spectrum, The Drama Queen will be celebrating a very auspicious 4th birthday, while we will be partying down for a major 4-0 milestone.  Both will be equally loud, probably silly and definitely heaps of fun.

Unfortunately we are in the midst of a very chilly Sydney winter, so we probably won’t be enjoying much of a garden party, though it is something that I would like to design for in our courtyard. Garden parties in spring and summer are a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, friends and family and good food and wine.  They are perfect for little girl’s birthdays and also for the big kids!

To ensure your garden space is party ready in spring, there’s a few key components that should be included to make sure you have the space and the setting right.

Space – you need to leave enough room to set out some picnic blankets or garden tables.  This doesn’t have to be lawn, unfortunately not all of us have the space to afford a lawn, or the time to maintain it!  It can be paving or concrete, but you need enough room to both sit down and move around.

Shade – is really nice to have in summer and the warmer spring days.  You can get this through trees or structures, but if you don’t have the opportunity to provide permanent shade, don’t dismay, there are some great ways of creating temporary shade.  Gazebos, tents or just fabric strung up between trees or poles, can create fantastic atmosphere.

A tent made from patchwork scarves - spectacular! from http://douglasandhope.blogspot.com/

Personality – bright, subdued, formal, fluid, your garden reflects your style, and so should your parties.  You can dress up a garden into a party space if you have the basic bare bones.  It is fantastic to have the ability to string bunting, shade, lights or other decorations.  Garden beds can house decoration and lights, and tables or picnic blankets provide opportunity to really set the scene.

Light – remember if you want to continue into the night you need to allow for electric or candle light to be provided.  This could mean that you need electricity connection to be provided.

Most of all you needs the friends and family to give the party heart!



Inner West garden story – developing the concept

15 Jun

I thought I’d share with you a little garden design I prepared for some friends of mine.  I love designing for people I know, because a lot of the hard work is already done.  I don’t need to get to know the client, I don’t need to find out what they enjoy or what their tastes are.  I generally know all about how much time they’d like to spend in their garden and what it is they like to do there, so I jump at the opportunity to give advice and prepare designs for people I know and love.

This garden design was being prepared to complement a house extension and renovation in the inner west of Sydney, and unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of garden space after the construction work was completed.  The garden needed to maximise the space available while still providing for the everyday backyard functions like washing lines and lawnmower storage.

I have a few standard questions that I go through with clients before I prepare a landscape design for them.  They cover things like what are their short and long term objectives for the garden, what spaces or gardens do they like already and what will the space be used for.  This garden needed to be a “relaxed low maintenance garden which complements the new extension, creates a play area and softens the rear building.  Classic – contemporary look”

This was a relatively easy brief to work with, the difficulty lay in the limited space available to deliver it!

Here are some before photos – these were taken while the builders were still at work, so you can get a good idea of what we were going to be left to work with.

The good part about designing for friends, is that you can have some great design discussions at the pub over a glass of wine and a good meal.  Serviettes make great sketch pads!

Some serviette sketch ideas

After a bit of back and forwards, I delivered a couple of sketch design concepts for my friends to consider.

The 2 concept sketches

Both concepts are very similar, as there wasn’t a lot of scope for variation given the site constraints, but the subtle differences gave us enough food for thought to develop the concepts further.

I’ll keep you up to date on how this garden story develops, from dream to reality.


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